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In Celebration of Missy Elliott’s Singular Career

In Celebration of Missy Elliott’s Singular Career

There is no one quite like Missy Elliott.

From her arrival on the scene in the mid-’90s, first as an in-demand producer and then as a groundbreaking artist in her own right, she’s commanded our attention in a way that very few else have been able to.

With a steadfast refusal to be pigeonholed, she challenged the very notion of what a female MC could talk about and look like, centering her career with a feminist body- and sex-positive outlook decades before any of that was commonplace. In fact, you can a direct line from Missy’s arrival to Lizzo‘s dominance over the last year.

With childhood friend and superproducer Timbaland by her side during the creation of much of her six studio albums, she introduced the music industry to one of its most inventive and beloved partnerships. (Where’s their Oscar-nominated biopic, Hollywood?!)

She’s sold more albums than nearly every other female rapper in the game, been asked by nearly everyone in the industry to bless their remix with a verse, and become the first to both be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV VMAs. And in the same year—2019—no less.