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November 2002


H.E.A.R. honors Missy Elliott

Melissa Elliott, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA. Hip-hop/R&B songwriter Missy "Misdemeanor" Missy Elliott has become one of the most esteemed figures in contemporary American music, providing material for artists including MC Lyte, Adina Howard and Jodeci, as well as working as an arranger, producer, talent scout and record boss. Elliott first performed as part of a neighbourhood singing group, Sista, who were signed up by DeVante from Jodeci in 1992. Elliott was already writing with her long-time collaborator, Tim Mosley aka Timbaland, and with Sista's career terminally stalled (DeVante would not release any of their recordings) she concentrated on songwriting and production.

Her distinctive "hee haw" rap on Gina Thompson's "The Things You Do" brought her wider exposure, and several offers from record companies. Fiercely independent and ambitious, Elliott signed to Elektra Records as a solo artist on the understanding that they would subsidise her own label, Gold Mind Records.

In 1997, she launched her solo career with the album Supa Dupa Fly and attendant single "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)". The well-connected Elliott was provided with immediate exposure for the song via rotation play of its Hype Williams-directed video on MTV. Co-produced with long-time collaborator Timbaland and producer DJ Magic, the album received excellent reviews, though Elliott was reluctant to commit herself fully to a career as a performer: "I don't want to get caught up and be an artist always on the go, because once you do that, it's hard to get into the studio and do what I do." The album also featured cameo appearances from Aaliyah and Busta Rhymes (Elliott has written songs for both).

Despite her growing reputation and success, Elliott remained based in her hometown in Virginia. In September 1998 she collaborated with Mel B from the Spice Girls on the one-off single, "I Want You Back", which debuted at number 1 in the UK chart. Further writing and remixing work for Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson followed, although Elliott found time in her busy schedule to release her excellent sophomore set, Da Real World, in July 1999. Incredibly, Elliott and Timbaland managed to surpass this with the follow-up Miss E ... So Addictive, a stunning compendium of contemporary dance beats, urban ballads and left-field samples that was instantly hailed as one of the finest albums of the new millennium.

In 2002, Missy won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance ("Get Ur Freak On") and was nominated for Best R&B Song ("Get Ur Freak On") and Best Music Video, Short Form ("One Minute Man"). Missy hit the Top 40 with help from Ginuwine and Tweet with "Take Away." Missy won a Soul Train Award for R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video ("Get Ur Freak On"). Missy won a BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. Missy won a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video ("One Minute Man"). Missy's video for "One Minute Man" was nominated for 6 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Direction (Dave Meyers), Best Special Effects (Nathan McGuinness & Marc Varisco), Best Art Direction (Mike Martella), Best Editing (Jay Robinson), and Best Cinematopgraphy (Karsten "Crash" Gopinath). Missy hit the Top 40 with "Work It." Missy topped the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart with "Work It." Missy will release her next LP - Under Construction - in November.

H.E.A.R.is thrilled to honor Missy for her great talent and generous compassion for appearing in H.E.A.R.'s new public service announcment (PSA) with Carson Daly during MTV Spring Break. Click HEAR to view the new PSA.

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