Most of the album's lyrics were written by Static, from the R&B band Playa. While the band was growing apart, he was invited by Blackground to be a lead writer for the album after writing "Are You That Somebody?" and "Try Again". Static was a part of Aaliyah's close group of friends, which included Missy Elliott and Timbaland, and shared an infatuation with her. He found Aaliyah to be ideal for his songwriting style, while she believed that he could accurately portray her feelings. A subtly sexual lyricist, he wrote "Rock the Boat" for her in 1999, but Blackground felt she was not ready for the song. Barry Hankerson said of his songwriting, "We always were protective over every lyric . . . But he did things where you never felt offended. You just felt like you overheard someone thinking . . . he was clever . . . Aaliyah depended on him [and] he depended on her. " Elliott said that he was "a part of that bridge of Aaliyah growing up lyrically". While she discussed the lyrics with Static, Aaliyah consulted Bud'da about the sound and musical direction of the album. She was interested in learning about the UK garage scene at the time.