Melissa "Missy" Arnette Elliott (born 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 notoriously male-centric 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.
- 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)
- Iconology (EP; 2019)
Provides examples of
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: From "Work It":Boys, boys, all type of boysBlack, White, Puerto Rican, Chinese boysWhy-thai,-thai-o-toy-o-thai-a-thaiRock-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".
- Big Fun: A proudly full-figured woman, and very much outgoing and fun-loving.
- 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-aLet's get drunk, this gon' bring us closerDon'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".
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: A lot of her lyrics, videos, and deliveries can get really out there at times.
- A Date with Rosie Palms:
- Missy's parts in Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)":I was looking so good, I couldn't reject myselfI 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.
- Missy's parts in Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)":
- Disproportionate Retribution:
A few chicks you gotta beat, 'cause they disrespectClocking your man from his feets to his neckYou gotta let 'em know that's a no-noSlap 'em real slow with a right blow, which ever way you goBut keep it gangsta, show these bitches that you'll yank emYank 'em, point blank 'em, top rank 'emI ride for my nigga, and I'm happy with the trigger
- In "4 My Man", where Missy's method of warning women off of looking at her boyfriend involves beating and threatening to (or actually) shooting them:
- Threatening to dismember CD bootleggers in "Cop That Shit".
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: "Cop That Shit", with its title and chorus:DJ's in the mix shows you better go to the record store and cop that shit!
And to the bootleggers givin' 'em bootlegs, we breaking off both of your legs, cop that shit!
Stop burnin' CD's for your friend, and I'mma say it again, nigga, cop that shit!
- 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 smoking marijuana (primarily in the 90's) and 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 kneesTake me back, I'll do anything including plead (YES!) (WOO!)I never meant to burn a bridge third-degreeLike 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.
- Later Installment Weirdness: In contrast to all her other albums, which were produced almost entirely by Missy and Timbaland together, The Cookbook, her last album to date, features production from multiple producers and only 2 songs produced by Timbaland, giving it a very different sound.
- 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.
- Nice Girl: Is notable for pretty much avoiding any of the major beefs so prevalent in the rap and hip-hop scenes, and for repeatedly speaking out against them and calling for unity. It's rare you'll ever hear about her having much of anything really, seriously negative to say about anyone.
- Not Christian Rock: While she is very open about her faith, including at least one Christian song on every albumnote , 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 mindI kiss on him, but he don't mindThen 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". The same holds true for Iconography.
- 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 areasWho 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)
- Studio Chatter: Plenty, particularly on Supa Dupa Fly.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: From "Work It":If you a fly gyal, get your nails doneGet a pedicure, get your hair didnote
- 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:
- "Beat Biters" is a general one, aimed at the various producers and artists who started copying Timbaland's production style in the late 90s.
- Subverted on "Hot". The whole song is a Reason You Suck Speech towards someone who pretends to be more wealthy than they really are, but the Missy specifically avoids mentioning any one person:In old school we used to call out namesBut I ain't tryin' to give you no fame
- "Partytime" has a rather gratuitous one toward the singer Sisqo:Forget about it like the world forgot Sisqo
- She's had so many songs aimed generally at men cheating on and/or taking advantage of women that it's probably easier to count the number of Missy songs that are not about that topic.
- 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 Jamess cover of "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (which was popularized in hip-hop when RunD.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 onBefore you start putting potholes 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 timeWrite my own rhymes and I swear I'm flyFrom 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 with 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.
- The bizarre, unplaceable fake accent in the opening skit on "Joy". This review pointed it out: