Music / Missy Elliott

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If you a fly gal / Get your nails done / Get a pedicure / Get your hair did.

Missy Elliott (born Melissa Arnette Elliott, July 1, 1971) is an American rapper, songwriter and producer. She is best known for her work in the early 2000s, with songs such as "Get Ur Freak On" and "Lose Control".

She is quite arguably the most successful female solo rapper in history and is credited with, in many ways, giving women a voice in the hip-hop genre. Her 1997 album Supa Dupa Fly, her 2001 album Miss E...So Addictive and her 2002 album Under Construction are seen as some of the greatest female-fronted rap albums in history.

Her last album (The Cookbook) was released in 2005, though she is said to have another album in the works, entitled Block Party. Ten years after the release of The Cookbook, she reemerged with a new song called "WTF (Where They From)" featuring Pharrell Williams, which might be a sign that Block Party is finally headed our way.

Studio album discography

  • Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
  • Da Real World (1999)
  • Miss E...So Addictive (2001)
  • Under Construction (2002)
  • This Is Not A Test! (2003)
  • The Cookbook (2005)


Provides examples of

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: From "Work It":
    Boys, boys, all type of boys
    Black, White, Puerto Rican, Chinese boys
    Why-thai,-thai-o-toy-o-thai-a-thai
    Rock-thai,-thai-o-toy-o-thai-a-thai
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Missy has never shied away from her own sexuality in her music, referencing her big thighs and butt in "Work It".
  • Boastful Rap: A good number of her songs use this.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: Referenced in "Work It":
    Boy, lift it up, let's make a toast-a
    Let's get drunk, this gon' bring us closer
    Don't I look like a Halle Berry poster?
    See the Belvedere playing tricks on ya
  • Ching Chong: Her song "Work It" contains the line "black white puerto rican chinese boys, wang-thang thang-a thang-a thang-y thang".
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • Missy's parts in Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)":
      I was looking so good, I couldn't reject myself
      I was feeling so good, I had to touch myself...
    • The entire song "Toys" is about this, and how Missy doesn't need her man anymore because of it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: From "4 My Man", Missy's method of warning women off of looking at her boyfriend involves beating and threatening to (or actually) shooting them:
    A few chicks you gotta beat, 'cause they disrespect
    You gotta let 'em know that's a no-no
    Slap 'em real slow with a right blow, which ever way you go
    But keep it gangsta, show these bitches that you'll yank em
    Yank 'em, point blank 'em, top rank 'em
    I ride for my nigga, and I'm happy with the trigger
  • Drugs Are Bad: Miss E...So Addictive. The underlying theme of the album is getting high on music rather than illicit substances. Somewhat surprisingly, Missy's drug history is limited to once eating a Jamaican brownie... several years after this album was released.
  • Dunce Cap: She briefly wears one in the video for "Work It."
  • Funny Background Event: Missy's adlibs on The Cookbook can be considered this, especially on the ballads where they come out of nowhere and are completely out of place to the mood of the song. Her verse on "Remember When" is a good example:
    (WOO!) (YES!)
    When I cheated, you said you couldn't breathe...
    ...Said you couldn't breathe (YES!)
    Now I'm sitting here, begging on my knees
    Take me back, I'll do anything including plead (YES!) (WOO!)
    I never meant to burn a bridge third-degree
    Like Fantasia said, let yourself be free (WOO!)
  • Gainax Ending: The Cookbook ends with a voicemail from a woman with an exaggerated Southern accent asking Missy for help with fixing her Sexless Marriage while referencing a number of her previous hits, until the answering machine cuts her off. It Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
  • I Am Big Boned: The spoken interlude from "Pump It Up":
    "You know, Down South chicks got big asses, and we a little heavy sometimes, but when you're from the South, we don't call that "fat". We call that 'big-boned'."
    • Though this is generally averted in her music, including the rest of that song, as Missy isn't ashamed of her size and has flaunted it in her music and videos (see Big Beautiful Woman above).
  • Losing Your Head: She does it to herself in the video to "One Minute Man."
  • Music Video Overshadowing: "Sock it to Me". Song: Intercourse with You. Video: Mega Man.
  • Not Christian Rock: While she is very open about her faith, including at least one Christian song on every album, her music (while still sneaking Christian references in here or there) is hardly what you would call "Christian rap."
  • Rhyming with Itself: Her portion of Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) (Remix)" does this in two consecutive couplets:
    I party till I'm out my mind
    I kiss on him, but he don't mind
    Then I wake up in the morn'
    Got a guy in my bed like, hello good morn'
  • Self-Titled Album: Miss E...So Addictive
  • Singer Name Drop: On Under Construction, she opened damn near every song on there with some variation of the phrase "This is... a Missy Elliott... exclusive".
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: "Wake Up" criticizes negative behaviors that are stereotypically associated with hip-hop culture like violence, crime, and flaunting of wealth, as well as the people who follow them:
    It's time to get serious, black people all areas
    Who gon' carry us? It ain't time to bury us
    [...]
    If you don't got a gun (it's alright)
    If you makin' legal money (it's alright)
    If you gotta keep your clothes on (it's alright)
    You ain't got a cellular phone (it's alright)
    And your wheels don't spin (its alright)
    And you gotta wear them jeans again (its alright)
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: From "Work It":
    If you a fly gyal, get your nails done
    Get a pedicure, get your hair did
    • Although the expected word to complete the rhyme here would also be "done".
  • Take That!: Missy is known for largely avoiding this - she's spoken against rap feuds in her music multiple times and hasn't been involved in any notable beefs. That said, there are a few examples:
  • Two Decades Behind: In contrast to the futuristic production style of her music, her songs are absolutely full of Shout-Outs, Samples and Homages to old-school hip-hop from The '80s and early '90s. Egregiously so on Under Construction and This Is Not a Test! where nearly every song has one if not multiple references to old-school hip-hop.
    • The bridge of "Go to the Floor" interpolates "Hey Mr. DJ" by Zhané.
    • "Bring the Pain (ft. Method Man)" has multiple examples:
      • The song itself is named after and makes multiple references to Method Man's "Bring The Pain".
      • The intro to the song is sampled from Public Enemy's "Shut 'Em Down".
      • Missy shouts out the song "Method Man" by Method Man in her third verse.
    • Gossip Folks samples "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith, and Missy mentions Milli Vanilli and J.J. Fad in the outro (though not in a positive way).
    • The intro to "Work It" samples "Request Line" by Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three, while the outro is a sample of Bob Jamesís cover of "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (which was popularized in hip-hop when RunĖD.M.C. sampled them in "Peter Piper").
    • The entirety of "Back in the Day" is a dedicated to old-school nostalgia and how much better and more fun hip-hop used to be.
    • Mary J. Blige's sung portion in the introduction to This is Not a Test! interpolates the opening to The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight", with slightly altered lyrics. The title of the album is itself a reference to the same song:
      Now, what you hear is not a test, I'm rappin' to the beat
    • The second verse of "Pass That Dutch" references De La Soul's "Potholes In My Lawn" and briefly samples its instrumental:
      If you's a fat one, put your clothes back on
      Before you start putting pot holes in my lawn
    • The chorus of "Don't Be Cruel" interpolates the chorus of "Push It" by Salt 'n' Pepa.
    • Missy intentionally uses a simplistic, early hip-hop flow on "Let it Bump":
      Radio play me all the time
      Write my own rhymes and I swear I'm fly
      From A to Z, you can't fuck with me!
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Multiple times on The Cookbook:
    • The bizarre, unplaceable fake accent in the opening skit on "Joy". This review pointed it out:
      Where on earth is she pretending to be from? Italy? Pakistan? Humberside?
    • She raps in Jamaican patois and a vaguely Carribean-sounding accent on "Partytime" and "Bad Man", though it's at least clear what accent it's supposed to be.
    • Her fake British accent on her verses in "Irresistible Delicious (ft. Slick Rick)" is so hilariously overdone it sounds like she's subliminally mocking Slick Rick.

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