On July 1, Missy Elliott – the Queen of music videos, matchless creativity, songwriting and everything in between – turns 50 years-old. Over the last two decades, we’ve watched Missy break barriers and determine what it means to be a superstar. While many platforms have given Missy her flowers, there’s always time and space to show how she is indeed the culture.
Always one for modesty, Missy recently stated on Twitter that she felt she couldn’t sing. Now, Missy as well as anyone with ears knows that is not the case. So to celebrate her 50th birthday, we take a look at 10 times where Missy absolutely had the range.
- Sock It 2 Me – A favorite from her debut album, “Supa Dupa Fly”, Missy Elliott made it known out the gate that she wasn’t here just to give us dope rhymes. The vocal cords did what needed to be done. The vocal cords mixed with a feature from Da Brat? Chef’s kiss.
2. Hot Boyz– A masterclass in shooting your shot, Hot Boyz featuring Lil Mo, Nas and Eve (yes, we only acknowledge the remix here), is one of dozens of examples of Missy’s versatility and talent.
3. Beep Me 911 – Also from her debut, “Beep Me 911” is a tale of unrequited love backed by the vocal stylings of 702 and a verse from Magoo. If you remember the video, then you remember Missy Elliott dressed up as a gorgeous Black Barbie and we absolutely felt every word she sang.
4. Take Away– A beautiful track from her 2001 release ”Miss E…So Addictive”, Take Away was released as a single after the untimely passing of Aaliyah. Missy’s vocal range and vulnerability was heartfelt and moving and another reminder that she sings down!
5. One Minute Man– We love an anthem with a message that stands the test of time. For One Minute Man, Missy joined forces with her friends Trina and Ludacris and gracefully crooned about what not to do in the bedroom. We still thank her for it to this day.
6. All the Times – One thing we must not forget to give Missy credit for is her features. This collaboration with LSG, Coko of SWV and Faith Evans, proved that she could absolutely hang with vocal royalty. They saved her verse for last for a reason, okay!
7. Crazy Feelings – First, we need another Missy and Beyoncé collaboration expeditiously. Next, Missy proved once again that she was not just the girl to go to if you wanted a hit record. She was also a vocalist and pushed artists like a young Bey to be their best when they were on a record together.
8. Pussycat– This is for all of the folks who are remiss about Missy Elliott’s long standing relationship with her sensuality. Pussycat is a lesson of knowing that you are that girl and knowing what to do to ensure that man or woman comes home at night. Who else could sing the words “Pu**y don’t fail me now” and make it sound fire? Only Missy, that’s who.
9. All in My Grill– Missy, Big Boi and Nicole Wray understood the assignment. From her second album “Da Real World”, Missy used her smooth tone to remind the men who wanted to pursue her that he at least needed to pay her bills. We agree.
10. Not Tonight – “You ain’t gonna use me to just be singin hooks. What I look like? Patti LaBelle or somebody?” Even Missy knew at this moment she had already slayed the hook and was ready to remind us that she was the one when it came to bars as well. However, the hook to this song is one of Hip Hop’s classics and we are forever grateful.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Ashleigh is the epitome of a Black pop culture junkie. Versed in everything from Black beauty shops, to Beyoncé, she is passionate about all things surrounding the Black experience. An R&B music connoisseur, music has always been her first love and she recently began hosting the “Chronicles of A Music Snob” podcast. An advocate for creatives, she is also the founder of a boutique PR consultancy where she specializes in teaching entrepreneurs how to be their own publicists. Twitter: @ashleighcreativ Instagram: @ashleighcreative