Missy Elliott Talks Her Legacy & Says "Everything I've Spoke, I've Done"

Over 20 years later and she's barely even getting started.

BYErika Marie
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Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott has been ahead of her time since she burst onto the scene with her strange, futuristic music video for her single, "The Rain." Her debut album, Supa Dupa Fly, not only showcased her skills as an artist but solidified the magnetic, money-making, innovative partnership between her and mega-producer Timbaland. The 48-year-old is currently grinding in the studio, working on her highly-anticipated seventh studio album, and Elliot sat down with Marie Claire to reflect on her legacy and how she's managed to continue creating hits for over two decades.

Recently, Elliott was bestowed an honorary doctorate by Berklee College of Music. It's yet another honor to add to her list of accolades that includes five Grammys, six BET Awards, two American Music Awards, four ASCAP Pop Music Awards, seven MTV Video Music Awards, 15 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards, and three Soul Train Awards...and that's not nearly the complete list. “I was just going, going, going,” she told Marie Claire about working on one thing after another. “It wasn’t resonating what was happening. After I did the Super Bowl [in 2015], my friends called me and they are like, ‘So, what you about to do?’ I’m here mopping my floor, and I got to wash the dogs. And they are like, ‘What? You just finished doing the Super Bowl.’"

"And the same thing happened...I was in the car with Michelle Obama [for ‘Carpool Karaoke’ in 2016], and they called me like, ‘Girl, we got to celebrate; that’s huge!’" Elliot said. "And I’m like, ‘I’m watching a movie on Netflix.’ Now that I’ve had a chance to slow down, I look back at stuff, and I look back at my ‘She’s a B*tch’ video [1999], and at the time I didn’t even think about it. But I look at it now and I’m like, ‘This is still so many years ahead.’” 

So what's her secret? Like many other successful artists, Elliott said she always knew what she wanted to do for a living, ever since she was a little girl. She said that she spoke her reality into existence and worked hard until her dreams came true. “It’s funny because I was just telling somebody that everything I spoke, I’ve done," she said. "And that’s how powerful the tongue is....I used to sit in the house and act like I was having conversations with Janet and Michael and Madonna and whoever. I then would go and say my thank yous for award shows that I hadn’t made it to yet. I had speeches, and I would be in the mirror thanking my mama.”

She continued, "When I got my first check, I didn’t even buy myself a house first. I bought my mother a house. Put a Bible in the soil and built it from the ground up." Check out our examination into Missy Elliott's impact on both music and culture throughout her career here

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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.