Rock the Boat (Aaliyah song)

"Rock the Boat"
Single by Aaliyah
from the album Aaliyah
Released January 15, 2002
Format CD single, 12"
Recorded Manhattan Center
(New York City, New York)
Genre R&B
Length 4:35
Label Blackground, Virgin
Writer(s) Stephen "Static Major" Garrett, Eric Seats, Rapture Stewart
Producer(s) Keybeats
Aaliyah singles chronology
"More Than a Woman"
"Rock the Boat"
"Miss You"

"Rock the Boat" is a song by American recording artist Aaliyah. It was written by Static Major, Eric Seats and Rapture Stewart for her 2001 self-titled album Aaliyah. "Rock the Boat" was released as a single in January 2002 in the United States and May 2002 in the United Kingdom.[1] Prior to its release as a single, "Rock the Boat" charted as an "album cut" and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week of January 5.[2] The song stayed on the chart for twenty-five weeks.[3]

Aaliyah initially started promotion for the expected second single "More Than a Woman". "Rock the Boat" was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.


"Rock the Boat" features an atmospheric groove, hypnotic rhythms, and fluctuating instrumentation such as synthesizer effects.[4] Lyrically, its female narrator instructs a lover on how to please her sexually and equates her erotic high to a drug high: "Work the middle / Change positions / Now stroke it for me / ... I feel like I'm on dope / Explore my body / ".[5] The words "high" and "dope" were censored on MTV.


"Rock the Boat" was included on Channel V's Vault's countdown for the top 10 beach scenes in music videos and became the first video to be played twice as a "New Joint of the Day" on BET's music countdown show, 106 & Park. After making the countdown 65 times, the video was retired and inducted into 106 & Park's "Hall of Fame". The follow-up "More Than a Woman" made the number-one spot after "Rock the Boat" was retired. "Rock the Boat" appeared at #2 on the BET: Notarized Top 100 Videos of 2001.

Chart performance

On the Billboard Hot 100, the song entered on the chart September 8, 2001, at number 57,[6] and peaked at number 14 in its twelfth week.[7] The song stayed on the chart for twenty-five weeks.[8] The song reached the top 20 of Belgium (Wallonia), Netherlands and United Kingdom. "Rock the Boat" still receives heavy rotation on worldwide radio stations among other Aaliyah hits.


Aaliyah appeared on BET's 106 & Park on August 21, 2001, and announced the video shoot would start the following day, August 22, 2001, and the video would be released in early September in time for Back to School. She also announced that it would be released back-to-back with "More Than a Woman".

Music video

The music video for the song was directed by Hype Williams. It features Aaliyah walking on a beach having been inspired by the poem "Footprints", also dancing on a yacht, and on a beach in Marsh Harbour and swimming in a pool in Miami which appears to be the ocean. Aaliyah appears to be dancing on water, in a CGI scene. The dance routine was choreographed by Aaliyah's close friend Fatima Robinson. Dancers in the video include Carmit Bachar, Denosh Bennett, Nadine Ellis and Electrik Red members Binkie and Lesley.[9] Filming started on August 22, 2001, and made its world premiere on BET's Access Granted on October 9, 2001.

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah and eight others were killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas after filming the music video for "Rock the Boat". The investigation of the crash found that the plane was over its total gross weight by 700 pounds (300 kg) and was loaded with one more passenger than it was allowed to carry. The pilot, Luis Morales III, was not licensed at the time of the accident, and had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system.[10]

Track listing

Australian CD single
  1. "Rock the Boat" (album version) - 4:34
  2. "Rock the Boat" (club mix) - 5:15
  3. "We Need a Resolution" (album version featuring Timbaland) - 4:03
US 7" double A-side single
  1. "Rock the Boat" (album version) - 4:35
  2. "More than a Woman" (album version) - 3:51

UK CD single
  1. "Rock the Boat" (album version) - 4:35
  2. "Rock the Boat" (Mixzo Club Mix)
  3. "Rock the Boat" (Doug Lazy Club Mix)
  4. "Rock the Boat" (enhanced video) - 5:30


Weekly charts

Chart (2001–02) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[11] 49
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 43
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[13] 9
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 70
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 43
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[16] 12
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[17] 32
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[18] 59
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19] 12
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[20] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 14
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[22] 2

Year-end charts

Chart (2002) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 85


  1. Strong, Martin C. (November 30, 2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate U.S. p. 4. ISBN 1841956155.
  2. Nielsen Business Media, Inc (January 14, 2002). "Hot 100". Billboard. New York. 114 (2). p. 93, "Last Week" column. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  3. "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  4. Hardy, Ernest (August 2, 2001). "Recordings: Aaliyah, Aaliyah, 4 Stars". Rolling Stone. New York (874): 61–62. Archived from the original on June 6, 2002. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  5. Waliszewski, Bob. "Aaliyah". Plugged In. Focus on the Family. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  6. "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  7. "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  8. "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  9. "Check Out the Deals Here - Teen Savvy".
  10. Moss, Corey (2002-07-16). "Cocaine, Alcohol Found In Pilot Of Aaliyah's Plane". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
  11. " – Aaliyah – Rock the Boat". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  12. " – Aaliyah – Rock the Boat" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  13. " – Aaliyah – Rock the Boat" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  14. " – Aaliyah Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  15. "Chart Track: Week 19, 2002". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 11,2015.
  16. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Aaliyah search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  17. "Archive Chart: 2002-06-16". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  18. " – Aaliyah – Rock the Boat". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  19. "Aaliyah: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  20. "Archive Chart: 2002-06-08" UK R&B Chart. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  21. "Aaliyah – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Aaliyah. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  22. "Aaliyah – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Aaliyah. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  23. "Longbored Surfer".
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