Since she began producing music solo in 1997, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s career has been dominated by hit singles, charting records and platinum albums. Along with other female rappers like Lauryn Hill, Elliott worked in a male-dominated industry to change the rap game and emphasized subjects like feminism, misogyny and sex positivity. In January of 2019, “CBS This Morning” announced Elliott became the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
To celebrate this historical induction and revisit some of Elliott’s successful records, The Red & Black compiled a playlist of 9 Missy Elliott tracks, with a runtime of just over 30 minutes.
1. ‘The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)’ – 1997
“The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” was Missy Elliott’s first big single and music video. Though the song is strong by itself — with confident lyrics and a sampling from “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles — the music video itself is a statement, namely because of the large, inflated trash bag Elliott wears.
2. ‘Get Ur Freak On’ – 2001
This track, off of Elliott’s “Miss E …So Addictive,” hit the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100, and rightfully so. The distinctive beat propels the song and the hook is not only catchy but simple enough for anyone to pick up. Pitchfork ranked “Get Ur Freak On” the seventh best track of the 2000s.
3. ‘Work It’ – 2002
The first single off “Under Construction,” “Work It” made it to No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Many listeners can recognize the song for at least two of its features: the persistent sound of an elephant trumpeting and the backward lyrics in the chorus and the hook. “If you a fly gal, get your nails done,” Elliott raps. “Get a pedicure, get your hair did.”
4. ‘One, Two Step’ – 2004
“One, Two Step” was a successful collaboration between Missy Elliott and Ciara, one that would go on to hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The two R&B artists work together on the verses while Ciara sings the recognizable hook with the iconic, “Let me see you one, two step” and “I love it when you one, two step.”
5. ‘We Run This’ – 2006
The song is perhaps most recognized from the catchy hook of “We run this, run this.” “We Run This” ended up being nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2007. The accompanying music video ended up being released years later, in 2009.
6. ‘One Minute Man (feat. Ludacris)’ – 2001
“One Minute Man” is the second single off“Miss E …So Addictive.” Though Elliott is known for her rapping abilities, she primarily sings on this record while Ludacris does most of the heavy rapping. The song eventually peaked at No. 15 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
7. ‘WTF (Where They From) [feat. Pharrell Williams]’ – 2015
“WTF (Where They From)” was Elliott’s first single after a seven-year hiatus.Pharrell Williams is also featured on the track and adds a more upbeat, bouncy vibe to the record. The music video was also relatively popular, with now over 61 million views.
8. ‘Gossip Folks’ – 2002
In “Gossip Folks,” Elliott addresses much of the rumors that were circulating her in the early 2000s, namely her weight, eating habits and sexuality. Ludacris also makes an appearance in the third verse, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans, since Elliott featured artists from Beyoncé to 50 Cent on her album, “Under Construction.”
9. ‘Hot Boyz’ – 1999
This song follows one central theme: attractive and wealthy men. Though Elliott raps about wanting someone who will treat her right, ultimately she’s looking for someone who doesn’t live with his mother, drives an expensive car and has a Platinum Visa credit card. “I want a lot, boy, with a hot boy,” Elliott declares.