Has there ever been anybody quite like Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot? We could compare her to the likes of Grace Jones, Madonna, Queen Latifah and maybe TLC or En Vogue, but none would truly do her justice.
Missy thumbed her nose at a plethora of standards – beauty, femininity, decency, racial and ethnic performance; you name ‘em – to craft some of the freakiest, stankiest, dirtiest, weirdest, most memorable music videos of the 1990’s and 2000’s. And unlike the many artists she’s influenced (Gaga and Nicki Minaj, to name a few), Missy’s music was always just as unique, innovative and bizarre as her visual presentation, consistently pushing against the stylistic boundaries of Hip Hop music. Her ability to both rap and sing has set the standard for the generation of female artists that proceeded her, and her collaborations with Timbaland (musically) and Hype Williams (visually) forever-altered the landscape of popular music.
Do yourself a favor, and check out my list of the greatest Missy Elliot music videos of all time; just a quick refresher course on all things Misdemeanor.
The Rain (1997)
BEEP BEEP…who got the keys to the jeep?….VROOOOM!
A career opening salvo so potent and powerful, homegirl never quite topped it. And for Missy, that’s saying a lot. “The Rain” was a left-field smash and an instant classic, ushering in the Missy and Timbaland era.
Sock It 2 Me (1997)
I’m at your house around midnight, don’t fall asleep. It’ll just be me me me on a late night creep…
The Adventures of MegaMissy. Easily among her most imaginative music videos. I’ve always been partial to Missy’s R&B-leaning tracks, so this is a personal favorite.
Beep Me 911 (1998)
Why you cheatin’ on me, can you tell me what I’ve done?
This has got to be Missy’s darkest sonic and visual moment. The mechanical dance moves perfectly underscore Timbaland’s skittering, stuttering beat. Weird shit.
She’s A Bitch (1999)
She’s a bitch…When I do my thang. Got the place on fire, burn it down in flames
We could spend hours unpacking the sexual and racial implications of the visuals and lyrical content here. I’ll save that for another blog. Let is suffice to say that everything from the color palette and costume design to the cinematography and incredible beat make “She’s A Bitch” Missy’s widely slept-on masterpiece. Criminally underrated.
Hot Boyz (1999)
Where you live? Is it by yourself? Can I move with you? Do you need some help?
Considering how risky and adventurous she was as an artist, it’s incredible how adept Missy was at crossover success. However, “Hot Boyz” was not a crossover attempt. This was strictly for the streets and the clubs. Huge on BET and largely ignored by MTV, “Hot Boyz” is another underrated Missy classic.