With her skilful and comedic rhymes, partnered with Timbaland’s unique, iconic beats, Missy Elliot took the world of hip-hop by storm during the early noughties. Elliot’s talent was undeniable, bringing her eccentric personality and humour into every music video and song. Her style was uplifting and different, making the world of hip-hop fall in love with her music.
The rapper (real name Melissa Arnette Elliott) is often praised for her videos more than her music. However, this article will celebrate Elliot’s extensive catalogue and career of more than twenty years. While many female rappers struggle to release more than one album, Missy has a total of 9 albums under her belt, with some considered to be hip-hop classics.
In 2019, Elliot received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her visual impact on the hip hop genre through her outlandish videos. However, this is just one of many awards the rapper has received. As well as this 2019 award, the artist has received six Grammy awards, nine BET awards and two AMA’s, making her one of the most decorated female rappers in history.
This feature looks at the ten songs that helped Missy Elliot change hip-hop forever, with a legacy still appreciated by the likes of Cardi B today.
Top five Missy Elliot songs
5. Lick Shots (2001)
Produced by none other than Elliot’s partner in crime, Timbaland, ‘Lick Shots’ is one of Missy’s earlier and lesser-known tracks. Featured on Elliot’s third album Miss E…So Addictive back in 2001, this track is a hard hitter and shows early Missy’s kooky style and bizarre delivery.
With a quirkiness in the air that set her up as a true original, but enough swagger to ensure that she was anything but novelty, this track is a definitive outing. When you throw in that bass, you’ve got yourself a lasting beat.
4. The Rain a.k.a Supa Dupa Fly (2001)
Landing at number 4 on the US singles charts, ‘The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)’ was released in 1997 as the lead single for Elliot’s debut album Supa Dupa Fly. Again, with production by Timbaland, the song contains a sample of Ann Peebles’ 1973 single ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’, whose lyrics serve as the chorus.
The music video is instantly recognisable and is considered a classic in hip hop with cameos from the likes of P Diddy, Lil Kim, TLC, and others. She’s always been a star willing to bring others into her realm.
3. Get Ur Freak On (2001)
‘Get Ur Freak On’ is one of Missy Elliot’s most well-known songs and is so for a reason. With a simple yet undeniably infectious melody, this track is an earworm, and once you have heard it, it is hard to get out of your head. Produced by Timbaland (real name Timothy Moses), ‘Get Ur Freak On’ was critically acclaimed, and the track reached number seven on the US Billboard 100 chart.
Internationally, ‘Get Ur Freak On’ became a top ten success in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where it became her first solo top ten hit, peaking at number four. The video features artists such as Ludacris and Eve.
2. Lose Control (2005)
Produced by Elliot herself, containing a sample from ‘Clear’ by Cybotron, ‘Lose Control’ was the lead single for the rapper’s riotous sixth studio album, The Cookbook.
The music video, which is exceptionally creative and high-speed, won a grammy for ‘Best Short Form Music Video’ that year, while the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The track is uptempo and incredibly catchy and has been certified gold by the RIAA since its release.
1. Work It (2002)
Undoubtedly the most well-known and beloved Missy Elliot song ‘Work It’ was the lead single for her 2002 album Under Construction. Produced by Timbaland, unbeknown to some, there is even a remix featuring 50 Cent. However, nothing compares to the original. Featuring a sample from Run DMC as the intro, ‘Work It’ has a basic yet impactful melody typical of Timbaland.
The song has been certified double platinum by the RIAA, with over two million units sold since its release. If you’re still not sure, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the track 25th on its list ‘100 Best Songs of the 2000s’ and 56th on its list ‘Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. The song most definitely laid the foundation for Elliot upon which she built a career and a legacy. ‘Work It’ takes the number one spot by a distance.