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"Hot Like Fire" is a song by American singer Aaliyah from her second studio album One in a Million. The song was written by both Missy Elliot and Timbaland with the latter producing the song. Musically the song has a "jeep-friendly" bouncing beat and it also features ad-lib's from Timbaland. Lyrically the song is very suggestive with Aaliyah promising that she is worth the wait and that it will be worth it if her potential lover waits until she's ready. The song was released as the album's fifth single by Blackground and Atlantic records on September 16, 1997. Upon its release the song was met with generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising both Aaliyah's delivery and the song's production. In the US "Hot Like Fire" barely charted on any of the major billboard charts with the exception of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. On the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart the song within the top 40 at number 31. Internationally the song performed better in the UK where it peaked within the top 40 at number 30 on the official charts. On the UK official dance charts the song also peaked within the top 40 at number 25 on November 16, 1997.

"Hot Like Fire"
Aaliyah Hot Like Fire The One2.jpg
Single by Aaliyah featuring Timbaland
from the album One in a Million
A-side"The One I Gave My Heart To"
B-side"Death of a Playa" (featuring Rashad)
ReleasedSeptember 16, 1997
FormatCD single
Recorded1996; Pyramid Studios
(Ithaca, New York)
Aaliyah singles chronology
"Up Jumps da Boogie"
"Hot Like Fire" / "The One I Gave My Heart To"
"Journey to the Past"
Timbaland singles chronology
"What About Us?"
"Hot Like Fire"
"Are You That Somebody?"


Composition and lyrical interpretationEdit

"Hot like Fire" is described as a "panting minimalist controlled-blaze baby-maker" with suggestive lyrics.[1][2] The production of the song has been described as being a "jeep-friendly beat".[3] According to Emily Manning from i-D "Hot Like Fire features a sizzling, soulful, and bouncing beat (plus an ad-lib Tim ripped from Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner")".[4] On "Hot Like Fire" Aaliyah "hums and moans promises to her new bae that his patience will be rewarded".[5] "Delivering the lines "I know you've been wait, you've been waitin a long time for me/But if you wait a little while longer, this is how it'll be, Aaliyah promises to be hot and ready for her patient lover on this enticing opening offering".[6] According to Bob Waliszewski from Plugged In the song "celebrate passionate sex-without suggesting a marital context".[7]

Critical receptionEdit

Shannon Marcec from Complex felt that the remix version of "Hot Like Fire" was better than the original version. Marcec said "No shade to the original version of "Hot Like Fire," but the "Timbaland's Groove Mix" was 10 times better". Marcec also praised both the song's production and Aaliyah's vocals saying, "Timbaland presents another entrancing track, beatboxing Susanne Vega's "Tom's Diner," while Aaliyah brings her melodic voice and habitually sexy style".[5] Bianca Gracie from Fuse praised the song she felt that remix version which was used as the single was better than the album version. She also felt that producer Timbaland "added his magic hip-hop-infused touch to the steamy track, which was anchored by Aaliyah's laidback vocals.[8] Bob Waliszewski of Plugged In, a publication of the Christian conservative organization Focus on the Family, was less enthusiastic in his review of the song, writing that its sexually suggestive lyrics "spoil whatever good this disc has going for it".[7]

Chart performanceEdit

"Hot Like Fire" was released simultaneously with "The One I Gave My Heart To" on September 16, 1997. In the U.S. "Hot Like Fire" didn't chart on any of the major billboard single charts with the exception of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. On the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay the song peaked within the top 40 of that chart at number 31 on August 16, 1997.[9] Internationally the song performed moderately better peaking within the top 40 on the official UK charts at number 30 on November 22, 1997.[10] Also in the UK the song peaked within the top 40 on the UK's official Dance single chart at number 25 on November 16, 1997.[11] On the UK's official R&B Charts the song also peaked within the top five at number 3 on November 23, 1997.[12]

Music videoEdit


The music video was directed by Lance "Un" Rivera. Fatima Robinson directed the choreography.[13] Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Magoo, Playa, Changing Faces, Lil' Kim, and Junior M.A.F.I.A. made cameos in the video. The video starts with a large number of people in an urban neighborhood on a very hot summer day. Aaliyah drives a red car with a fire engine. The setting quickly changes to night as Aaliyah gets out of the car to perform the chorus on a steamy stage with sparks in the background. During the second verse, Aaliyah is seen dancing with the crowd. Aaliyah returns to the stage with the dancers to perform the chorus again. Timbaland performs his verse and Missy Elliott performs her verse.


The music video for "Hot Like Fire" made its television debut on the BET network during the week ending on August 17, 1997.[14] On August 24, 1997 the video debuted on other cable network channels such as MTV and The Box.[15] Eventually the video became the eighth most played video on BET during the week of September 21, 1997.[16] Emily Manning from i-D felt that the music video was "Under-Appreciated" considering the video's star studded cameos, she also mentioned that the video "features peak Aaliyah street style: rose-tinted shades and baggy camo cargos".[4]

Live performancesEdit

In August 1997 Aaliyah made a televised appearance on the short lived Vibe (talk show) where she performed "Hot Like Fire" and gave the show's host a gift basket full of promo items.[17][18]


In 2013 American R&B singer Solange Knowles and British Indie Pop group The xx covered Hot Like Fire at Coachella.[19] Bassier Oliver Sim sang the first verse of the song while his group member Romy Madley Croft backing him in the performance.[19] Solange came out during the performance in a " bright white tank top and fluorescent pink skirt" to join The xx.[19] Jeff Benjamin from Fuse praised the performance saying "Solange's sweet vocals sounded right at home on The xx-ified version of Aaliyah's track. And it was so clear Solange was having fun as she danced around on stage, giggling into the mic and flailed her arms about".[19] Their cover of the song was a nod to the group's modern R&B roots that is infused in their "stripped down sound".[20] In 2016 Rapper Nicki Minaj interpolated Hot Like Fire in her song "Black Barbies" with the "oh no, no, no, no" line.[21]


Chart (1997–1998) Peak
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[22] 88
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 30
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[24] 25
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[25] 3
US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (Billboard)[26] 31


  1. ^ "Aaliyah's 'One In a Million' Turns 20: How Her Second Album Predicted R&B's Future". Billboard. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Hampton, Dream (October 1996). "Revolutions". Vibe. New York: 133–4. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  3. ^ Shipley, Al (March 16, 2017). "Aaliyah's 'One in a Million' Invented the Sound of the Future". Vice. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Manning, Emily (January 12, 2017). "5 aaliyah tracks to rediscover, now that you can finally stream her 'ultimate' hits". i-D. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "The 25 Best Aaliyah Songs". Complex. May 19, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  6. ^ "ONE IN A MILLION' PUSHED AALIYAH TO THE FOREFRONT OF R&B'S NEW SCHOOL". The Boombox. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Waliszewski, Bob. "One in a Million Album Review". Plugged In. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "AALIYAH'S 15 BEST DEEP CUTS & ALBUM TRACKS". Fuse. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Aaliyah". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  11. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. November 23, 1997. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. November 23, 1997. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Hot Like Fire". mvdbase.
  14. ^ "Video Monitor". Billboard. August 30, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "Video Monitor". Billboard. September 6, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "Video Monitor". Billboard. October 4, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Aaliyah - Hot Like Fire (Remix) & Interview - Live On "Vibe" 1997". YouTube. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Gallo, Phil (August 8, 1997). "Vibe". Variety. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d Benjamin, Jeff (April 15, 2013). "WATCH THE XX & SOLANGE TEAM UP TO COVER AALIYAH AT COACHELLA". Fuse. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  20. ^ Tanners, Jon (April 14, 2013). "Solange Performs With The xx at Coachella, Covers Aaliyah". Complex. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  21. ^ Scarano, Ross (November 16, 2016). "The 10 Best Nicki Minaj Remixes". Complex. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  22. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  23. ^ "Aaliyah: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  24. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  25. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "Aaliyah Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 29, 2017.

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