Living legend, the one and only, Missy Misdemeanor Elliott graced Sway’s Universe with her presence, breaking down her momentous performance at the VMAs, prior to receiving the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award. Dedicating the electrifying show to the dance community everywhere and the next generation, Missy is grateful and humbled by her creativity and tremendous career.
Taking a break from music gave Elliott peace of mind, stating that “a lot of people want to be artists until they see what comes with it, depression, anxiety,” disclosing some of her own struggles with mental health. Being an artist, an artist of Missy’s caliber at that, comes with its pitfalls, and being prepared for the ups and downs is what will propel toward success. When asked “what does preparation look like?” Missy Elliott responds “[preparation looks like] humility and relationships.”
Her strong and consistent relationships in the industry, most notably her keen bond and alliance with Timbaland, is what sets Missy’s work apart. She goes on to reveal that every collaboration with Timb, they both have always been in the studio together “going through sounds.” Their combined genius is clear to anyone who has ever heard a track from the VA duo. Timbaland has been a strong influence in her sound, even pushing her to re-write the verse for “Work It” five times. When he presented her with tracks she wasn’t at first too fond of, like her 2002 Under Construction track “Gossip Folks,” Elliott put her trust in Timbaland as he “has an ear like no other.”
When asked by Tracy G if she ever felt “uncomfortable flexing sexual empowerment in front of Timb” or other male colleagues while recording, Missy reveals that she never feels uncomfortable because she records by herself, no one has ever seen her record, not even Busta Rhymes who tried. When approaching a project currently or in her previous works, Elliott knows this to be true, she is always true to herself in all circumstances. Going off the feeling she receives then following to create a visual in her mind, Missy’s innovation flows through sound eventually manifesting her imagination to its fullest potential. That influence is apparent to this day, seeping itself into various creative expressions. Whether in visually or sonically, it’s no secret Missy Elliott is ahead of her time. Being ahead of her time is something that Missy is aware of, also being aware that people aren’t going to be poppin’ forever. She does advise that despite this fact, one can work well enough to generate respect forever, which is ultimately the goal- and definitely something she has already acquired.
Integrity and innovation have been the perfect ingredients for Missy Elliott, being very apparent in her latest release Iconology and in the visuals for its debut single “Throw It Back.” Growing up an only child allowed Elliott to really create her world and expand her imagination- something she used as a tool throughout her career. From requesting a giant chandelier to swing from, filming underwater, wearing the distinguished inflatable suit in her music videos, and most recently bringing Alyson Stoner to perform alongside her at the VMAs, the word iconic might fall a little flat to describe the visionary mind that is Missy Elliott. Some say that receiving the Vanguard Award was long overdue, although true, Missy reaffirms that it is all in perfect timing, because she would not have been able to execute what she wanted without present technology.
It is very likely that Missy is in the works of her own biopic, stating that they’re important to “preserve our own legacies.” In the meantime, she is co-executive producing the Clark Sisters biopic with her long-time friends Mary J Blige and Queen Latifah. The film is set to release in 2020. In response to what other ventures she’d like to take part in, directing music videos and the film industry is of intrigues her. Stating that visuals are part of the puzzle piece in sound, Elliott hopes that others can share her perception through her work.
You can download and stream Missy Elliott’s Iconology on all platforms. Be on the lookout for tour dates (with illustrious guests), fresh visuals and music to come.