“Risk-Taking.” “Unexpected.” “Out-of-the-box.” “Extraterrestrial.” These are a couple of of the phrases talked about when individuals are requested to explain the one-and-only Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott. After turning into the primary feminine rapper, and the second rapper ever after Jay-Z, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on January 12th, now’s pretty much as good of a time as ever to look again on the numerous improvements Missy Elliott made to music and tradition all through her profession.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is the right honor for Missy E. Not solely has she written and produced hits for herself, but additionally Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, 702, Monica, Tweet, NSync and Whitney Houston, to call a couple of. It was as a author/producer, the truth is, the place Missy acquired her begin. In 1993, she helped pen Raven-Symoné’s 1993 debut single, “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of,” adopted by Jodeci’s 1995 album The Show, the After Party, the Hotel. In 1996, she contributed writing and manufacturing for 9 of the songs on Aaliyah’s double platinum album, One in a Million.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
1996 was the turning level for Missy Elliott’s rap profession. Linking with P. Diddy for his remix of Gina Thompson’s “The Things That You Do,” Missy established herself as a one-of-a-kind rapper with a show-stopping “HEE-HEE-HEE-HEE-HOW” in the course of her verse. This breakout observe result in a take care of Elektra Records, who launched her debut album Supa Dupa Fly in 1997.
“We made historical past,” Timbaland said about Supa Dupa Fly. “We got here in and shifted the tempo, and the bounce.” As the album’s sole producer, Timbaland labored carefully with Missy to craft a daring, experimental, and unquestionably funky sound in contrast to the rest on the time. In ‘97, hip hop was going by means of a momentary identification disaster, after two of its largest stars, Biggie and Tupac, had been murdered inside months of one another. “Aggressive” gangsta rap and “mental” acutely aware rap have been the 2 hottest genres, and neither have been notably carefree or humorous. Enter Missy E, with a contemporary model that was enjoyable, inventive, and didn’t take itself too critically.
Nothing represents Supa Dupa Fly’s aesthetic higher than the Hype Williams-directed video for “The Rain.” Opening with a fish-eye digital camera shot of Missy carrying an enormous inflatable rubbish bag and pink sun shades that stretch right into a glittering house helmet, “The Rain” video was a futuristic, mind-bending odyssey. “At the time, everyone was of their little bathing fits,” Missy mentioned on Sway within the Morning. “Then you had this massive lady coming in carrying a trash bag.” Literally strolling to a close-by fuel station to pump it up, her Michelin Man-style rubbish bag go well with goes down as one of the vital legendary trend statements in hip-hop historical past.
Missy Elliot – The Rain
For her second album, 1999’s Da Real World, Missy raised the bar as soon as once more with an much more futuristic sound and look. The video for the album’s single “She’s a B*tch,” additionally directed by the legendary Hype Williams, featured Missy donning an all-black leather-based superhero go well with, head utterly shaven, and surrounded by $2 million greenback Electro Luminescent lights flown in from Germany. Produced by Timbaland as soon as once more, the tune’s eerie strings are paired with the signature conga rolls, shakers and respiration that grew to become Missy’s trademark. Lyrically, the tune is a robust reclamation of the phrase “b*tch,” taking it and throwing it again at you with full drive. In hindsight, the economic, robotic aesthetic of Da Real World was a transparent affect on latest albums like Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory and A$AP Rocky’s Testing.
Keeping up her sizzling streak, Missy Elliott dropped yet one more traditional album with 2001’s Miss E… So Addictive. More explicitly sexual than her earlier work, So Addictive featured the only “One Minute Man,” a revolutionary observe by which Missy units the bottom guidelines for what she’s going to and won’t tolerate within the bed room. With the infectious hook “Break me off, present me what you bought / Cause I do not need, no one-minute man,” she made one in every of her most empowering statements but for ladies in every single place. And after all, additionally on this album was the one-and-only “Get Ur Freak On.” Sampling a tabla and tumbi-driven Punjabi melody, Timbaland’s one-of-a-kind beat served as the right backdrop for Missy to return in swinging along with her unimaginable stream. To this present day, this beat can go off in a membership and each particular person in there’ll begin screaming these lyrics.
2002 noticed one other win for Missy Elliott along with her album Under Construction. Hit singles “Gossip Folks” and “Work It” have been prime examples of her modern left-field model. On “Work It,” Missy raps in reverse, interrupts her strains with a literal elephant trumpet noise, and single-handedly popularized the time period “badonkadonk.” Lyrics like “Go downtown and eat it like a vulture / See my hips and my ideas, do not ya?” flip the script on male rappers speaking about intercourse, making it clear who’s in cost. “Gossip Folks,” in the meantime, was one in every of Missy’s straight-up funniest songs but, sampling the 1981 funk-rap tune “Double Dutch Bus” for the hook (copied precisely from Genius) – “Millze cillzan sillzome plilzay dilzzouble dilzutch! / Hilzzoo? / My gizzirl! / Brillzing her izzin!” The Under Construction period proved as soon as and for all that Missy could be simply as exhausting and aggressive as every other rapper, whereas nonetheless retaining her humorousness.
Harry Langdon/Getty Images
The movies for “Work It” and “Gossip Folks” cemented Missy E’s standing as not solely an unimaginable rapper, singer and actress, but additionally as a extremely expert dancer. Watching Missy lead a gaggle dance routine wearing an Adidas tracksuit inside a highschool hallway for the “Gossip Folks” video, it’s clear that choreography is as a lot part of her creative imaginative and prescient as sonics, visuals and costuming. “Usually I’ll come into rehearsal and be like, ‘So that is what it’s, that is what we’re doing,’” choreographer Sean Bankhead defined. “And everyone’s like, ‘Okay. Cool. Great.’ Missy, she’s like, ‘Nah.’ She’s like, ‘You can do higher. Let’s change that. Let’s change that part proper there. Let’s put that half on the bottom. Move that part to the highest.’ She’s very vocal, and she or he actually pushes you to be nice.
2005’s The Cookbook, Missy Elliott’s final album earlier than taking a health-related hiatus, featured the bombshell of a single “Lose Control,” that includes Ciara and Fat Man Scoop. Over a completely explosive beat, Fat Man Scoop shouts out “MUSIC MAKE YOU LOSE CONTROL,” whereas Missy drops an unforgettable intro bar – “Got a cute face / chubby waist / thick legs, in form.” Long earlier than ‘physique positivity’ was a phrase generally used, Missy was extremely vocal about being assured in her physique and never altering it to satisfy unrealistic magnificence requirements. “I’m gonna keep my dimension and have a giant document, and that’s that,” she mentioned in her VH1 Behind the Music particular.
In an business the place picture is the whole lot, Missy’s dedication to remain true to herself had a large affect on women world wide. Not solely that, however she paved the best way the entire subsequent era of rappers, feminine and male, to be as bizarre, wild and themselves as they needed. “It’s music that makes you’re feeling good,” Lady Leshurr said about Missy E, “It takes you again to a time when music was all about having enjoyable, being playful and getting inventive.” Janelle Monae, who Missy has shouted out on Twitter a number of instances, carries on the futuristic aesthetic of albums like Da Real World and Miss E… So Addictive along with her personal ArchAndroid and Dirty Computer idea albums. Princess Nokia paid homage to her idol in her breakout single “Tomboy,” with the strains “Missy Elliott, cannot stand the rain / You lames playin’ the identical video games.” And maybe the rapper who embodies Missy E’s legacy most of all is Brooklyn-bred Leikeli47, who spits with easy savvy and humor throughout a number of kinds and genres.
This article solely scratches the floor of the affect Missy Elliott has had on music and tradition. Consistently that includes contemporaries like Lil’ Kim, Aaliyah, Trina, Da Brat, Left Eye and 702 on her songs and movies, Missy confirmed the world what girls in hip-hop can accomplish. But way more than that, her out-of-the-box creativity and boundary-pushing model proved which you can be as bizarre and distinctive as you need, and nonetheless be one of many hardest rappers on the market. Missy’s dedication to remain true to herself and always break new floor as an artist makes her one of many best to have ever carried out it.
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images