Missy Elliott Is The First Female Hip-Hop Artist Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
This weekend (November 3), Missy Elliott became the first female Hip-Hop artist to enter the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The Virginia veteran MC/producer appeared at Brooklyn, New York’s Barclays Center, where she was presented the honor by her “Fast Car” collaborator Queen Latifah.
The presenter credited Missy Elliott as a trailblazer for creativity and originality. “You feel free? You want to try some wild s__t? Thank Missy,” said Latifah—who also called Elliott “one of the greatest producers ever, period,” alluding to work for Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and Missy’s late friend and collaborator Aaliyah.
Latifah also pointed to Missy’s 1997 debut Supa Dupa Fly, and her teenage musical partnership with Timbaland. “We had never heard anything like that in our lives. They opened the door to new possibilities in all aspects on contemporary music, very much including rock and roll, but trust me, nothing sounded the same after Missy came on the scene. All the kick snares and everything changed — the bass lines changed, the pockets changed, the cadence, the writing. And that’s because Missy has always been a futurist, someone who is always looking ahead. She is avant-garde without even trying.”
Taking the podium, Missy Elliott passed along the gratitude to several places. “First of all, I’m not even gonna start without thanking God. I’ve been through so many ups and downs and I know where my gifts come from. God has brought me all the way here. He has allowed me to meet some incredible people along the way. I have so many people. I have two tables of people. I can’t say everybody. I see y’all. It’s like a family reunion. All of those people at that table have been a part of my journey.”
“I didn’t wanna call out any names, but I have to say Pepa who is here from Salt-N-Pepa? Her and Queen Latifah, [MC] Lyte, Roxanne Shanté, so many. Monie, all those ones before me gave me their shoulders to stand on. So I just wanna take the time. My people say, ‘Hey, go up there, and you know, people wanna hear from you, how you feel.’ But these are the people who inspired me. And if it wasn’t for them and their music, I probably wouldn’t be standing here.”
Elliott then looked back at an Elektra Records staff that changed her career during the late 1990s. “Sylvia Rhone and Merlin [Bobb]—I have to say them because I didn’t wanna be an artist. I wanted a record label, and they told me if I gave them one album, that they would they would gimme a record label. So I told [Timbaland], let’s do this album real quick so I can get this record label. And we did it in two weeks. And from that Supa Dupa Fly album, it was another album and another album and another album. And so I have to thank them because they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I had given up. And so I thank y’all for pushing me to do that because y’all said, Hey, I’m not gonna give you that unless you give me this and that. And they must have saw something deeper. And I just thank y’all. I thank everybody at that table.”
“I have to thank my mother who is here. My mother has never seen me perform in my whole entire career. But lemme tell you, wait, it’s not my mother’s fault. She pointed to some profane or suggestive songs in her catalog. “I never wanted my mother to come to a show to hear me curse, ’cause you know, she from the church. But this night is so important and I wouldn’t have it no other way. Mommy, I thank you for allowing me to write on your walls songs. I’m gonna try to hurry up. If you see them at that table, they mean something to me.”
“And Timbaland, I love you. We started this in high school. I am proud of you. I see you, you are legendary.” Earlier this year, Missy, Tim, and other members of the Swing Mob mourned the death of their collaborator Magoo. “There’s so many of y’all that are so legendary in here. This is the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. And so this is deeper than me just being up here. I was telling Robin, you just feel like it’s so far to reach when you in the Hip-Hop world and to be standing here, it means so much to me. I thank you all—the committee from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, I just wanna say I love y’all and just try to spread love ’cause we so needed in this world. And I thank y’all, all the inductees. Y’all are so amazing. And congratulations to y’all. I’m honored to be even just in the room with you all. And I thank y’all. Thank you so much.”
Missy Elliott now joins R&R HOF classmate DJ Kool Herc as well as Eminem, JAY-Z, N.W.A., Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., and the Beastie Boys. Last year, Sugar Hill Records co-founder Sylvia Robinson was inducted, posthumously. Robinson, who passed away in 2011, is credited as a producer on songs by Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, following her years as a R&B/Disco artist.
The event is available to stream on DisneyPlus.
Ambrosia For Heads salutes Missy Elliott.