In December 2011, Drake debuted a tribute tattoo on his back, featuring a portrait of one of the most important people in his life…singer, actress and model, Aaliyah. Didn’t see that one coming? That’s not surprising considering Drake never met Aaliyah before her tragic death in a plane crash in 2001, although he consistently mentions the hip hop singer in his music and even wrote an open letter professing his love to Aaliyah on the ninth anniversary of her death in 2010. Some people think Drake’s back tattoo of Aaliyah is borderline obsessive – and Drake’s other tributes to Aaliyah since getting his back tattoo haven’t helped his case – but the singer claims that he is simply one of her biggest fans and remains inspired by her music, her passion and her confidence even today. What do you think of Drake’s back tattoo featuring a portrait of Aaliyah?
“Tat My Name on You Girl…”
Drake’s Aaliyah tattoo on his back features a relatively large portrait of the R&B singer on the left side of his back, just below his songbird tattoo. The Aaliyah back tat is inked in black and white and clearly represents Drake’s admiration for the singer who died before her time. Interesting that Drake should tattoo the face of a woman on his back in the midst of revealing his love for her. In his “Free Spirit” track featuring Rick Ross, Drake sings, “Tat my name on you girl so I know it’s real.” Drake didn’t tattoo Aaliyah’s name on his body, but he may as well have! A portrait tattoo is much more substantial than a simple name tat (which would by WAY easier to cover up), and seems far more personal as well. One of the most popular pictures of Drake’s Aaliyah tat and other back tattoos was posted by Drake himself, and shows the singer working out at the gym in preparation for his Club Paradise Tour in early 2012.
Drakes’ Connection With Aaliyah
Despite the fact that Drake never had the opportunity to meet Aaliyah, it seems a large part of his life and music career centers on the inspiration he draws even still from the late songstress’ music. As Drake wrote in his 2010 open letter to Aaliyah:
Not only was I one of your biggest fans, but I was truly in love with you. I loved the way you carried yourself, the way you dressed, the confidence with which you addressed passion and relationships in your music. I said to myself that even if we never met, I wanted a woman in my life just like you. I am pained that we will never get to connect now that music ended up being my career path. But you should know, we all listen to you everyday and we remain inspired and moved by all that you’ve given the world.
By most standards, Drake’s clear admission of love and admiration for Aaliyah nine years after her tragic death would be considered touching. However, in addition to penning the emotional letter, Drake has two tattoo tributes to Aaliyah (he also has a tat on his side in honor of her birth date); he insists on using earpieces with Aaliyah’s portrait printed on them while performing on stage; he sampled part of Aaliyah’s refrain from “(At Your Best) You Are Love” on his “Unforgettable” track; he owns quite a bit of Aaliyah memorabilia, including paintings of the singer wearing an OVO T-shirt; and most recently, he released a posthumous Aaliyah collaboration called “Enough Said,” which features Drake rapping over unreleased vocals by the late singer…all the while never having met Aaliyah. Most people would call that obsession.