One of America’s hip-hop major players, Missy Elliott first awakened public curiosity with her debut album Supa Dupa Fly (1997), which featured the MTV-nominated single “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” Since then, she has conquered the hip-hop industry with such recordings as the platinum-plus Da Real World (1999, earned Grammy and Soul Train nominations), Miss E...So Addictive (2001), the double platinum Under Construction (2002), This Is Not A Test (2003) and The Cookbook (2005, received a Grammy nomination). The artist has taken home numerous awards for her work, such as an ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for the remixed version of “Get Ur Freak On” (2001), a Grammy Award and two MTV Awards for “Work It” (2002), as well as a Lady of Soul Award and two MTV Video Music Awards for her 2005 hit “Lose Control” (featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop). The Best Female Hip Hop Artist of the 2004 BET awards and the 2005 American Music awards, Elliott also performed the singles “Lady Marmalade” (2001), “Gossip Folks” (2002) and “1,2 Step” (2004, with Ciara).
As a musical phenomenon, Elliott will have her life made into a biopic. Produced by Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal, the film is going to be written by Dianne Houston. It has not been confirmed whether Elliott will take a part in the currently untitled project.
Off screen, the huge fan of Björk costarred with Madonna for the 2003 The Gap commercial and appeared on a Sprite commercial. As for her private life, Elliott faced several rumors of love affairs that emerged following her collaborations with other artists. She was linked to friend and partner Timbaland and was rumored to have had lesbian relationships with colleagues Tweet, Ciara, Trina and America’s Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford. All of the rumors were denied and some were neatly put into her songs.
Childhood and Family:
Missy Elliott was born Melissa Arnette Elliott on July 1, 1971, in Portsmouth, Virginia. The only child of Patricia Elliott, Missy lived with her mother only because her father was abusive toward her mother. Missy carried the stage name Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott, but she dropped the middle part in 2003 and simply went on as Missy Elliott. She is also credited as M. Elliott in some of her work.
Missy enjoys her successful career with her electric-blue Lamborghini, a Phantom and a Ferrari. She also owns a mansion in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and has a collection of over 2,000 pairs of sneakers.
In the late 1980s, Missy Elliott, along with LaShawn Shellman, Chonita Coleman and Radiah Scott, formed an R&B group called Sista. In the group, Elliot served as the singer and songwriter. In 1991, Sista’ performance caught the attention of DeVante Swing, the member/producer of Jodeci. Swing soon signed the group to his Swing Mob record label, but was unable to release any album for Sista. Parting from the group, Elliot began focusing on songwriting and production with longtime friend Timothy ‘Timbaland’ Mosley. She wrote and rapped for a number of artists, including Gina Thompson (rapped for “The Things You Do”), 702 (co-wrote “Steelo” with Timbaland) and Aaliyah (co-wrote 9 tracks with Timbaland, including the double platinum “One in a Million”).
Elliott’s catchy performances and lyrics brought several record offers, but she chose to sign with Elektra Records and established her own label, Gold Mind Records. In 1997, she launched her well-received solo album, Supa Dupa Fly, spawning the MTV-nominated single “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” The album also included the hits “Beep Me 911” (featuring 702, Timbaland, and Magoo), “Sock It 2 Me” and “Hit ‘Em wit da Hee” (featuring Mocha, Lil’ Kim, and Timbaland). The latter track was then put into the soundtrack of the teen drama movie Can’t Hardly Wait (1998).
Following her first recording, Elliott rapped in the remix of Lil Kim’s “Not Tonight” (1997). In 1998, she produced the singles “Trippin’” for Total (also wrote) and “I Want You Back” for ex-Spice Girl Mel B (also provided background vocals). In addition, she wrote “Make It Hot” for Nicole Wray and “Get on the Bus” for Destiny’s Child. Meanwhile, growing fame led her to screen appearances (as herself) in sitcoms like “The Chris Rock Show” (1997), “Family Matters” (1997) and “The Wayans Bros.” (1998).
Elliott’s sophomore album, Da Real World, was launched in 1999. Just as successful as its predecessor, the second recording featured darker themes and set off the tracks “She’s a Bitch,” “Hot Boyz” and “All N My Grill” (featuring Nicole Wray and Big Boi). Aside from its commercial accomplishment, the platinum-plus album was nominated for a Grammy and a Soul Train award. As a songwriter, Elliott composed “Who You Gonna Call” for Oliver Stone’s sport drama Any Given Sunday (1999), “Are You Feelin’ Me?” for the Aaliyah-featured Romeo Must Die (2000) and “Quick Rush” for Bait (2000).
Marching to further success, the hip-hop artist issued Miss E...So Addictive (2001), a mix of contemporary dance beats, urban ballads and left-field samples. The recording featured such massive hits as “Get Ur Freak On” and “One Minute Man” (featuring Ludacris and Trina). The former track was successfully remixed, combining the voice of Nelly Furtado with Elliott’s original rapping, and was soon put in the soundtrack of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). Gaining critical recognition, the remixed “Get Ur Freak On” won Elliott an ASCAP Film and Television Music award for Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures. Whereas, a double music video was made from the tracks “4 My People” and “Take Away” from the same album. Released in the fall of 2001, “Take Away/4 My People” became Elliott’s tribute to the late Aaliyah and the 9/11 terrorist attack.
The same year, Missy became the producer of the hit “Lady Marmalade,” a song that she performed with Christina Aguilera, ‘Lil Kim and Pink for the drama Moulin Rouge (2001). Elliott then plunged deeper into acting by taking a small role as Diva in the Louis C.K.-directed comedy Pootie Tang (2001).
A year later, Elliot’s fourth album, Under Construction, was released on November 12, and reached the selling amount of 2.1 million copies in the US. Establishing herself as a prime musical phenomenon, the artist tossed out the international single “Work It,” which nabbed a Grammy for Best Female Rap Solo Performance, as well as two MTVs for Best Hip-hop Video and for Video of the Year. Additionally, the track spent ten consecutive weeks at number two on the Hot 100. “Work It” and the second hit “Gossip Folks” (featuring Ludacris) were one of the most-played music videos on MTV, MTV2, MTV Jams, and BET. The double-platinum recording also offered the 77th track on the Hot 100 “Pussycat,” and “Back In The Day” that featured guest vocals from Jay-Z and Tweet. In 2003, Elliott produced the “American Dream Remix” (featuring Tweet’s additional vocals) and became a featured rapper on Timbaland & Magoo’s comeback single “Cop That Disc,” Wyclef Jean’s “Party To Damascus” and Ghostface Killah’s “Tush.” Also in that year, she appeared as herself and provided songs for the romantic drama movie Honey (performed “Hurt Sumthin’”) and the sitcom “Eve” (sang the theme song).
At the end of 2003, Elliott launched This Is Not A Test, which spawned “Pass That Dutch” and “I’m Really Hot.” Both tracks tore up the urban charts, but could not surpass the previous successes. The album, which debuted at No.13 on The Billboard 200 Chart with 144,000 copies in its first week sales, has only sold 690,000 units to date in the US. Instead of drawing back, Elliott moved on by collaborating with R&B singer Ciara for her smash hit “1, 2 Step” (2004), which brought her a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. She also performed “Car Wash” with Christina Aguilera for the animated Shark Tale (2004) and joined a huge tour at more than 20 arenas with Beyonce Knowles and Alicia Keys during March-April 2004. Thanks to her continuous accomplishments, she was awarded the 2004 BET for Best Female Hip Hop Artist.
The rapper hit the highest point of her musical accomplishments with the sixth solo album, The Cookbook, which became a Grammy nominee for Best Rap Album. Released in July 2005, the album debuted at number two on the US charts and sold 176,000 copies in the first week of release. Its first single, “Lose Control” (featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop), became a Top 10 hit and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The heavy-played track soon won a Lady of Soul for Best Music Video and two MTV Video Music awards for Best Dance Video and Best Hip-Hop Video. It earned two Grammys and four MTV Video Music nominations as well. The 2005 star-studded recording, featuring guest appearances from Mike Jones, Fantasia, M.I.A, Slick Rick, Mary J. Blige, and Pharrell Williams, also set off songs like “Teary Eyed” and the much-loved “We Run This,” a soundtrack of the gymnastics-themed film Stick It (2006).
A highly acclaimed artist, in 2005 Elliott won an American Music for Best Female Hip Hop Artist and received a Brit and Grammy nomination (the latter nomination was for writing Fantasia’s “Free Yourself”). Elliott remixed Ashlee Simpson’s “L.O.V.E.” before going to her own reality show on UPN’s “The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott” (2005).
In 2006, Elliott is set to release a Greatest Hits record with 3 new tracks. The album, “Respect Me Best Of,” will be released on September 9. On June 26, its single “123” became available.
- American Music: Best Female Hip Hop Artist, 2005
- Lady of Soul: Best Music Video, “Lose Control” (featuring Ciara and Fat Man Scoop), 2005
- MTV Video Music: Best Dance Video, “Lose Control,” 2005
- MTV Video Music: Best Hip-Hop Video, “Lose Control,” 2005
- BET: Best Female Hip Hop Artist, 2004
- Grammy: Best Female Rap Solo Performance, “Work It,” 2004
- MTV: Best Hip-Hop Video and Video of the Year, “Work It,” 2003
- ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures, “Get Ur Freak On,” Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 2002