Music Sheet: Missy Elliot has raised the bar on the hip-hop scene




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Tara Casanova

With a top selling music video, Fighting Temptation and a fifth solo album, This Is Not A Test, on the horizon for Nov. 22, release, addictive Missy Elliott, 32, has passed her competition and has never looked back.

The Portsmouth, Va., native began her musical career in the early ‘90s with a group called Sista. But when the group’s record label Swing Mob Records went under, Elliott moved from the mic to the soundboard to become a hip-hop writer, arranger and producer.

Elliott found herself writing songs for R&B sensations Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Lil’ Kim and executive produced the Why Do Fools Fall In Love soundtrack.

Elliott established herself as a talented songwriter with partner Timbaland, by writing hit songs for New Edition, Ginuwine, Total and the late Aaliyah.

The sassy and seductive rapper burst on the music scene as a performer in the late 90s with guest appearances on 702, MC Lyte and SWV songs. However, her distinctive rapping style quickly separated her from the pack.

But it was Supa Dupa Fly (’97), her first solo effort, that showcased Elliott’s rapping chops as she raised the hip-hop music video bar with her colorful animated personality and unique rhyme. Elliott’s videos were so eccentric and stunning that she was the first hip-hop artist asked to join the all female Lilith Fair.

By 1999 Elliott had cut her second album, Da Real World, which teamed her with Eminem, OutKast’s Big Boi and Redman. Elliott showed her R&B roots with her third Miss E…So Addictive (‘01) which the song Take Away, a duet with Ginuwine, has a highlight track. The album, which had gone multi-platinum, also had a gospel track featuring Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary, Kim Burrell and others. Elliott suddenly found herself as one of the most powerful women in the hip-hop arena.

Elliott didn’t wait long to release her fourth effort Under Construction, which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard 200 albums chart, featuring old school hip-hop elements. The album won a BET award, an MTV Video Music Award, and Artsist of the Year Hip Hop Radio at the Radio Music Awards this month, and two nominations at the American Music Awards in November.

Elliott’s upcoming album, This Is Not A Test, has guest appearances from Jay-Z, R. Kelly, Alicia Keys, and Busta Rhymes. Elliott is also one of the featured artists on the upcoming Violator Management compilation album, V3: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly release date: Dec. 9, 2003.


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