Poison (Aaliyah song)

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Poison (Aaliyah song).jpg
Single by Aaliyah featuring the Weeknd
from the album Unstoppable
ReleasedDecember 17, 2021 (2021-12-17)
  • 2001 (Aaliyah's vocals)
  • 2021 (The Weeknd's vocals)
LabelBlackground 2.0
Aaliyah singles chronology
"Don't Think They Know"
The Weeknd singles chronology
"Tears in the Club"

"Poison" is a song by American singer Aaliyah featuring Canadian singer the Weeknd. It was released on December 17, 2021, through Blackground Records 2.0, as the lead single from Aaliyah's upcoming posthumous studio album, Unstoppable.[1][2] The Weeknd wrote the song alongside Belly and Aaliyah's frequent collaborator, Static Major. Production was handled by DannyBoyStyles and Nick Lamb with engineer Mike Dean.


In August 2021, it was reported that Aaliyah's recorded work for Blackground (since rebranded as Blackground Records 2.0) would be re-released on physical, digital, and (for the first time ever) streaming services in a deal between the label and Empire Distribution, beginning with One in a Million on August 20, 2021.[3][4][5][6][7] On August 25, 2021, Aaliyah's uncle and Blackground Records 2.0 label boss, Barry Hankerson, revealed in an interview with Big Tigger for WVEE that a fourth (and likely final) studio album, titled Unstoppable, would be released in "a matter of weeks". The album will feature Drake, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Future and use previously unreleased vocals from before Aaliyah's passing. Hankerson shared that this will be the end of new music for the late star and added, "I think it's wonderful. It's a very emotional process to do. It's very difficult to hear her sing when she's not here, but we got through it."[8][9]

On "Poison", Aaliyah's vocals had been demoed in 2001, shortly before the singer's untimely death. Hankerson issued a statement, "Thank you to all of her many fans for keeping [Aaliyah's] music alive. I'm sorry it took so long, but when you lose a family member so unexpectedly, it takes time to deal with that type of grief. I decided to release Aaliyah's music in order to keep her legacy alive."[10]


Upon release, the single attracted backlash due to the poor quality of Aaliyah's vocals in comparison to the crisp quality of the Weeknd's vocals. Fans of Aaliyah dismissed the song as "disrespectful".[11][12] Less than twenty four hours after release, Mike Dean, who mixed and mastered the track, released an updated version on all digital outlets.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

One week after the single's release, it debuted at number 33 on the New Zealand Hot Singles Chart.[14]

In the US, "Poison" peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Adult R&B Airplay Chart[15] and spent twelve weeks on that chart. It also debuted on the Billboard R&B Digital Song Sales at number 14[16] and the Hot R&B Songs chart at number 15.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

D-Money for Soul Bounce wrote, "there's something a bit off about the song. In particular, Aaliyah's vocals, which are poorly mixed and sound filtered through an old computer."[18][unreliable source?] Jon Blistein, writing for Rolling Stone, called the single "tender".[19]


Chart performance for "Poison"
Chart (2021-2022) Peak
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[20] 33
South Africa Radio (RISA)[21] 67
US Adult R&B Songs (Billboard)[22] 21
US Hot R&B Songs (Billboard)[23] 15

Release history[edit]

Release history and formats for "Poison"
Region Date Format Label Ref
Various December 17, 2021
  • Digital download
  • streaming


  1. ^ Mitchell, Gail (December 17, 2021). "Aaliyah 'Unstoppable': Blackground Founder Barry Hankerson Talks 'Poison' and More Unreleased Music". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Helfand, Raphael (December 16, 2021). "Aaliyah and the Weeknd's "Poison" is out tomorrow". Fader. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "Aaliyah albums streaming: 'Her influence is absolutely everywhere'". BBC. August 20, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  4. ^ Minsker, Evan (August 20, 2021). "Aaliyah's One in a Million Arrives to Streaming Amid Dispute Between Label and Estate". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  5. ^ "Aaliyah's Estate Slams Her Uncle's 'Unauthorized' Announcement of Releasing Her Music To Streaming Platforms". thatgrapejuice.net. August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  6. ^ DeVito, Lee (August 5, 2021). "Aaliyah estate denounces upcoming 'unauthorized projects' as 'Blackground 2.0' emerges". Metro Times. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  7. ^ "Official Hip Hop and R&B Albums Chart Top 40, 27 August 2021 - 02 September 2021". OfficialCharts.com. August 27, 2021. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  8. ^ "Barry Hankerson answers every burning question on Aaliyah, the wait to get her music on streaming and more". Radio.com. August 25, 2021. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  9. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: New Aaliyah Music Is On The Way & Her Uncle Says R.Kelly Negatively Impacted Their Family". Rickey Smiley Morning Show. August 26, 2021. Archived from the original on November 14, 2021. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  10. ^ Skinner, Tom (December 17, 2021). "Listen to Aaliyah and The Weeknd's collaborative new single, 'Poison'". NME. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  11. ^ Winters, Emma (December 18, 2021). "Aaliyah Fans Brutally Attack New Song 'Poison' Featuring The Weeknd -- 'This Is SO Disrespectful'". Music News. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  12. ^ Bailey-Millado, Rob (December 17, 2021). "Aaliyah's new song with The Weeknd is 'Poison' to fans 20 years after death". New York Post. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  13. ^ "Mixed and mastered this. New mix up now. Only on apple. Updates soon on other dsp. Apple is always fast at a swap out. Was provided with a better ACCAPELLA on baby girls part". December 18, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  14. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 27, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "Aaliyah - Adult R&B Airplay". Billbaord. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  16. ^ "Aaliyah - R&B Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  17. ^ "Aaliyah - Hot R&B Songs". Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  18. ^ "Aaliyah & The Weeknd Finally Cross Paths On 'Poison'". Soul Bounce. December 17, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  19. ^ Blistein, Jon (December 17, 2021). "Aaliyah's First Posthumous Song in Nearly a Decade, 'Poison' Featuring the Weeknd, Has Arrived". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  20. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 27, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  21. ^ "Local & International Radio Chart Top 100 Week 10 - 2022 - TOSAC". The Official South African Charts. Recording Industry of South Africa. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  22. ^ "Aaliyah - Adult R&B Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  23. ^ "Aaliyah - Hot R&B Songs". Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  24. ^ "Aaliyah - Poison (feat. The Weeknd)". Apple Music. December 17, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2021.

External links[edit]