Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott (born Melissa Elliott on July 1, 1971 in Portsmouth, Virginia) is the first female hip hop superstar, known for a long series of hits including "The Rain", "She's A Bitch", "Get Ur Freak On", and "Work It".
Elliott signed to Swing Mob as part of Sista, but the label folded before Sista could release their debut. Elliott began working with producer Timbaland, and worked on collaborations with a large number of other artists before signing to a solo deal with Elektra Records in 1996. Prior to her debut album, Elliott was the featured rap guest and producer on SWV's "Can We" and MC Lyte's "Cold Rock A Party," both singles in 1996.
Her debut, released in mid-1997, was Supa Dupa Fly, which included "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)", a blockbuster hit that established Elliott as a major force in popular music. Other singles included "Beep Me 911," which featured 702, Timbaland, and Magoo; "Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee," featuring rapper Mocha and Timbaland; and "Sock It 2 Me," a decent-sized hit which featured rhymes from Da Brat and a cameos by her and Lil Kim in the Mega Man-inspired music video. The critical acceptance of Supa Dupa Fly was mixed, though generally positive; many critics commented that the album tracks were far inferior to the singles. 1997 also saw Elliott perform on Lil Kim's girl-power anthem, a hit remix of her song, "Not Tonite". The song's remix also featured Da Brat, Angie Martinez, and Left Eye, in addition to Kim and Elliott; and the five women performed it at 1997's VMAs.
In 1998, Elliott continued her successful music career by being the featured rap guest on Total's single "Trippin'", as well as duetting with several others in the hip-hop and R&B communities.
Elliott's second album was just as successful as the first. Da Real World (1999, see 1999 in music) included the singles "All N My Grill," a collaboration with Nicole and Big Boi; "Hot Boyz;" and "She's A Bitch". The same year, Elliott produced and contributed background vocals and some rhymes to former Spice Girl, Mel B.'s, debut single, "I Think I Want You Back".
Elliott next released Miss E... So Addictive in (2001, see 2001 in music). That album produced the massive singles, "One Minute Man," featuring Ludacris, Trina, and Jay-Z and "Get Ur Freak On," as well as the less successful single, "Take Away," which featured soulful melodies from Ginuwine and the rising star, Tweet, and whose video was made into a loving tribute for their late friend, Aaliyah. For "Get Ur Freak On", an usual remix was also released, which combined scat-singing from Nelly Furtado with Elliott's original rapping. The remix performed just as successfully as the original and was the version which was heard both in the Tomb Raider movie that year and on its soundtrack.
Tweet's own debut single, "Oops (Oh My)" was released in early 2002 and went on to become a huge hit, partially due to Elliott's guest rap on the track and Timbaland and Elliott's funky production of the single.
Elliott's fourth album, 2002's Under Construction (see 2002 in music), included "Work It", arguably Elliott's biggest hit to date, and the successful duet with Ludacris, "Gossip Folks," which let Elliott's critics know what she thought of what they had to say about her, namely her amazingly rapid weight loss that had taken place during 20002. As the "Work It" video had done during 2002, "Gossip Folks" became one of the most-played music videos on MTV, MTV2, MTV Jams, and BET in 2003, and was also extremely successful on VH1 and VH1 Soul.
In the summer of 2003, Elliott was the featured rapper on Timbaland and Magoo's long-awaited return single, "Cop That Disc". The song became a modest hit at urban radio. Elliott's newest singles, "Pass The Dutch" and "I'm Really Hot", from her fifth album, This Is Not A Test! (released November 2003), both rose the urban charts. However, neither caught on at pop radio as well as her previous efforts have.
Recently, Elliott has also been featured on Wyclef Jean's "Party To Damascus" and Ghostface Killah's "Tush, Tush, Tush" singles, demostrating that even eight years after she first began offering production and vocal contributions to others' music, she is still as widely recognized and respected by her peers as ever.
In 2003, Elliott dropped the "Misdemeanor" part of her name and now goes by simply "Missy Elliott".
"Back in the Day"
Below is a list of old-school things Missy namedrops in her song "Back In The Day", off of her 2003 Under Construction album, in which Missy and costar, Jay-Z, get nostalgic about the 'good old days' of hip-hop while tributing the artists who influenced them and created hip-hop.
Hip hop artists
Big Daddy Kane
LL Cool J
Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
Da Real World (1999)
Miss E...So Addictive (2001)
Under Construction (2002)
This Is Not A Test! (2003)
"The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" (1997)
"Sock It 2 Me" (featuring Da Brat; 1997)
"Beep Me 911" (featuring Timbaland, Magoo, & 702; 1998)
"Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee" (featuring Timbaland & Mocha; 1998)
"She's A Bitch" (1999)
"All N My Grill" (featuring Nicole & Big Boi from Outkast; 1999)
"Hot Boyz" [remix] (featuring Nas, Lil' Mo, & Eve; 2000)
"Get Ur Freak On" (2001)
"Get Ur Freak On" [remix] (featuring Nelly Furtado; 2001) *
"One Minute Man" (featuring Ludacris & Trina; 2001)
"One Minute Man" [remix] (featuring Jay-Z; 2001) *
"Take Away" (featuring Ginuwine & Tweet; 2001)
"Work It" (2002)
"Gossip Folks" (featuring Ludacris; 2002)
"Work It" [remix] (featuring 50 Cent; 2003)
"Pussycat" (2003) *
"Pass The Dutch" (2003)
"I'm Really Hot" (2004)
(*) single did not have a music video
Guest Appearances On Other Musicians' Singles/Videos
"Cold Rock A Party" (MC Lyte; 1996)
"Can We" (SWV; 1996)
"Not Tonite (Ladies Night" [remix] (Lil' Kim; 1997)
"Trippin'" (Total; 1998)
"Make It Hot" (Nicole; 1998)
"I Think I Want You Back" (Mel B.; 1999)
"Heartbreaker" [remix] (Mariah Carey; 1999)
"Bootylicious" [Rockwilder Remix] (Destiny's Child; 2001)
"Son Of A Gun" [Original Flyte Time Remix] (Janet Jackson; 2001)
"Oops! (Oh My!)" (Tweet; 2002)
"American Life" [remix] (Madonna; 2003) *
"Cop That Disc" (Timbaland & Magoo; 2003)
"Party To Damascus" (Wyclef Jean; 2003)
"Tush, Tush, Tush" (Ghostface Killah; 2004)
(*) single did not have a music video