How An Unsigned Rapper Ended Up On A Brand New Aaliyah Song

Strado, a 25-year-old rapper from South Carolina got a huge look on Timbaland's Christmas mixtape.

When you're legendary you work with legends @timbaland 🙏🏾 thank you God | 📷: @yoitsguillermo

A photo posted by Super Strad™ (@strado_) on

At the stroke of midnight on Christmas day, Timbaland dropped his mixtape King Stays King, his first solo release since 2009's Shock Value II. The second track of the tape is called "Shakin" and features previously unreleased vocals from the late Aaliyah. Her vocals and delivery feel just as fresh as ever, proving just how ahead of her time she actually was. But alongside the hook from baby girl and a verse from Timothy himself, there's a verse by a rapper named Strado. It's a big debut for an artist without any major credits to his name, especially considering the rest of the tape is stocked with guests like Young Thug, Migos, 2 Chainz and Tink.

The FADER spoke to Strado over email and the 25-year-old rapper told us he's from originally from Johnston, South Carolina and has been living in Atlanta since 2011. He's been recording music for about 11 years and adopted the Strado nickname after going as "Matik Estrada" for some time. (The FADER actually posted one of his collaborations with Childish Major last year.)

Strado says he's been in the studio with Timbo—working on some records of his own and the long-gestating Textbook Timbo—but was pretty unaware of the opportunity coming his way. "I was in Virginia beach with Timbo over the weekend [before Christmas] just to finish the mixing for the mixtape," he said. "He and the engineer were mixing the Aaliyah song and he told me to write a verse to add on right then and there."

"It means the world to me because of the force she was in music," he continued. "I've always been a fan of her music, style/swag, beauty and impact. I remember waking up to the news on cnn the morning she died in the plane crash and being devastated. I was in love with her and I wasn't even a teenager yet. It hurt me because I loved her music/movies. I was infatuated with her I watched Romeo Must Die thousands of times on DVD. I never dreamed of a young country kid from South Carolina to be blessed with the opportunity."

He's still currently unsigned but says he's in talks with Timbaland's Mosley Music Group. Listen to the song below.

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How An Unsigned Rapper Ended Up On A Brand New Aaliyah Song