Today is Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s 47th birthday! I love Missy she’s one of my all time favorite rappers. We both have Graves Disease, and she inspires me with how she continues to work on music while dealing with the autoimmune disease. Finally, I just love how creative, innovative and awesome she is. To celebrate the birth of this amazing artist, here are my seven of my favorite songs.
1. She’s A Bitch
This song right here… everything about it is just amazing. First off the lyrics-we already know that Missy is not only a talented rapper but also a producer who has worked on a huge number of songs. Her work ethic might be labeled by some as bitchy whereas if she was a man it wouldn’t be. The lyrics talk about the double standard not only in the music industry but in society in general on how men and women are perceived. Missy’s use of the word bitch also carries an empowering meaning.
The music video was directed by Hype Williams and features unique effects, costuming, and sets. Who could forget the costuming that Missy and her dancers wear throughout the video? And the two highlights were Elliot and the dancers rising up from under the water on a giant hydraulic “M” and the set piece made completely from Electro Luminescent lighting? Back in 1999 the EL lighting wasn’t cheap and readily available like it is today. In fact experts had to be flown in to Germany to construct the set and the costume that Missy wears. Overall the She’s A Bitch MV was one of the most expensive videos of all time with a production cost of over 2 million!
Last year at the Hip Hop Honors 2017, Missy performed “She’s A Bitch” and did not disappoint:
2. The Rain
This is the first Missy Elliot song that I heard. It’s accompanying music video is also the first Missy Elliot music video that I’ve watched. Who doesn’t remember the inflated trash bag she wears during a fish eye lens shot throughout the video? And of course there are the cameos by other hip-hop and r&b artists.
3. Get Ur Freak On
This song is so damn catchy and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since it came out. If you wanted to know what the man at the beginning says in Japanese it’s “Kore kara minna de mechakucha odotte. Sawagou, sawagou.” Translated to English: “Everyone start dancing together wildly now. Let’s make some noise, let’s make some noise.”
4. Work It
Remember that part during the chorus that sounds like gibberish? Well it’s actually the lyric “I put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it” played backwards. In addition at the middle of the song, after the lyric “Listen up close while I take you backwards”, the lyric “Watch the way Missy like to take it backwards” is also played in reverse.
5. Lose Control featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop
This track gets you moving from the get go and doesn’t stop until the end. Fatman Scoop is an excellent hype man on the song.
6. I’m Really Hot
Celebrating her hotness, Missy comes through on this track. The entire MV features fiery dances-check out the awesome dance break over “Hot Music” by Soho. There’s also a reference to the film Kill Bill Vol. 1 at the beginning.
7. Pass That Dutch
The song’s introduction is memorable for honoring Aaliyah and those lost in 9/11. I love the music video for this track. Pass That Dutch has a catchy beat. To me this song is one that is silly and fun to listen to. The base is the star of this track and it gets you moving.
As I’ve stated before, Missy Elliot is one of the best MC’s out there if not of all time. She is a creative force, a genius who spits fire. She empowers and inspires so many through her songs, dances, and the unique features of her MVs. I’m happy to have been introduced to her music back in the summer of 2000. Happy Birthday Missy! We love you!