Missy Elliott was born on July 1, 1971 in Portsmouth, Va. She teamed up with childhood friend Timbaland to cowrite and coproduce songs for Jodeci and Aaliyah. Elliot was then offered a deal by the head of Elektra to write, produce, and record music under her own Gold Mind record label. Her first album, Supa Dupa Fly, went platinum and subsequent albums have earned her hits and Grammys.
Her debut, released in mid-1997, was Supa Dupa Fly, which included ‘The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)’, a blockbuster hit that established Elliott as a major force in popular music. Other singles included ‘Beep Me 911,’ which featured 702, Timbaland, and Magoo; ‘Hit ‘Em Wit Da Hee,’ featuring rapper Mocha and Timbaland; and ‘Sock It 2 Me,’ a decent-sized hit which featured rhymes from Da Brat and a cameos by her and Lil Kim in the Mega Man-inspired music video. The critical acceptance of Supa Dupa Fly was mixed, though generally positive; many critics commented that the album tracks were far inferior to the singles. 1997 also saw Elliott perform on Lil Kim’s girl-power anthem, a hit remix of her song, ‘Not Tonite’. The song’s remix also featured Da Brat, Angie Martinez, and Left Eye, in addition to Kim and Elliott; and the five women performed it at 1997’s VMAs.
In 1998, Elliott continued her successful music career by being the featured rap guest on Total’s single ‘Trippin”, as well as duetting with several others in the hip-hop and R&B communities. The same year, Elliott produced and contributed background vocals and some rhymes to former Spice Girl, Mel B’s, debut single, ‘I Want You Back’.
Elliott’s second album was just as successful as the first. Da Real World (1999, see 1999 in music) included the singles ‘All N My Grill,’ a collaboration with Nicole and Big Boi (from OutKast); ‘Hot Boyz;’ and ‘She’s A Bitch’.
Elliott next released Miss E… So Addictive in (2001, see 2001 in music). That album produced the massive singles, ‘One Minute Man,’ featuring Ludacris, Trina, and Jay-Z and ‘Get Ur Freak On,’ as well as the less successful single, ‘Take Away,’ which featured soulful melodies from Ginuwine and the rising star, Tweet, and whose video was made into a loving tribute for their late friend, Aaliyah. For ‘Get Ur Freak On’, an usual remix was also released, which combined scat-singing from Nelly Furtado with Elliott’s original rapping. The remix performed just as successfully as the original and was the version which was heard both in the Tomb Raider movie that year and on its soundtrack.
Tweet’s own debut single, ‘Oops (Oh My)’ was released in early 2002 and went on to become a huge hit, partially due to Elliott’s guest rap on the track and Timbaland and Elliott’s funky production of the single.
Elliott’s fourth album, 2002’s Under Construction (see 2002 in music), included ‘Work It’, arguably Elliott’s biggest hit to date, and the successful duet with Ludacris, ‘Gossip Folks,’ which let Elliott’s critics know what she thought of what they had to say about her, namely her amazingly rapid weight loss that had taken place during 2002. As the ‘Work It’ video had done during 2002, ‘Gossip Folks’ became one of the most-played music videos on MTV, MTV2, MTV Jams, and BET in 2003, and was also extremely successful on VH1 and VH1 Soul.
In the summer of 2003, Elliott was the featured rapper on Timbaland and Magoo’s long-awaited return single, ‘Cop That Disc’. The song became a modest hit at urban radio. Elliott’s newest singles, ‘Pass The Dutch’ and ‘I’m Really Hot’, from her fifth album, This Is Not A Test! (released November 2003), both rose the urban charts. However, neither caught on at pop radio as well as her previous efforts have.