Someone Tried To Track Down The Baby In Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?"

Album Art From Virgin Records.
Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?" is a special track. Not only does it feature the late, great, Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001, it also has an amazing backstory. The song contains one of the great mysteries of modern music — who was responsible for that iconic baby giggle? One writer, Jeremy D. Larson, set out to find the truth, and chronicled the journey for Red Bull Music Academy.

It all started with Timbaland — the producer responsible for adding the clip of a baby laughing onto the track. He, along with Aaliyah, wrote and finished the song in only four hours. That's right, FOUR hours. And the deal was already set in stone; Timbaland couldn't leave the studio until a solid hit had been produced. (It was 4 a.m. when he got the call to get to work, he recalls in a video about that night.) And against all odds, the duo recorded a hit. The motivation: $250,000 for Timbaland, and $250,000 for Aaliyah.
The song was mixed and mastered by 8 a.m., and hit the air by 10 a.m. Wow.

The song became an iconic cornerstone of '90s hip-hop, and the clip of the baby's coo found a certain fame of its own. Larson points out that it's been used in other popular tracks of various genres, but the origin of the clip remains a total mystery.

It turns out, after speaking to five industry veterans, Larson finally got on the phone with a sound engineer, Michael Scott Goldbaum, who admitted that yes, he was the man responsible for the audio clip. He himself had held a microphone in the face of a baby giggling and laughing at one point in his career.

But did he remember who the baby was? Was it his daughter? His son? His neighbor's child?

After all the zigs and zags the journalist took to find Goldbaum and speak with him, the 75-year-old could not recall who was on the recording.


I guess, in some way, the anonymity of the clip gives the song's title a sort of double meaning. It's funny how things work out like that.

More from Music