Friday, December 20, 2013

Missy Elliott, The #71 Female Artist of the Rock Era

Although we don't rate the songs, we go by what the public wants, and many of today's youth like this next artist.  Women of today, listen up!  Contrary to the message she sings/raps about in her songs, women are worth infinitely more and can accomplish much more in their lives than shaking their *** and their bodies are not near the asset that their minds can be.

Melissa Elliott was born in Portsmouth, Virginia.  At the age of four, she had aspirations of being a performer.  As her father was a U.S. Marine, the family moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina for a time.  Elliott's family atmosphere was characterized by domestic violence, and her mother and Melissa finally escaped when Melissa was fourteen.  

In the early 1990's, Elliott formed the group Fayze and recorded demo tracks with producer Timothy Mosley (who later became known as Timbaland).  They found a backer in Jodeci member and producer DeVante Swing when they sang Jodeci songs A cappella backstage after one of the group's concerts.  Devante signed the group to his Swing Mob label, renamed them Sista, and Elliott and her group moved to New York City.

The more than 20 members of the Swing Mob, among them future stars like Ginuwine, lived in a two-story house in New York and often worked both for Jodeci and their own projects.  Elliott contributed songwriting to the final two Jodeci albums, while Timbaland and DeVante co-produced the Sista album 4 (sic) All the Sistas Around da (sic) World in 1994.  The album was never released, but one of the songs, "It's Alright" found its way to the Soundtrack to "Dangerous Minds".  

By the end of 1995, the members of the Swing Mob dispersed, but Elliott, Timbaland, Ginuwine and Playa remained together and collaborated on each other's projects in the years to come.  Elliott and Timbaland, wrote songs and produced for SWV, Aaliyah (including "If Your Girl Only Knew" and 702.  

Elliott and Timbaland continued to churn out songs for Destiny's Child, Total and Nicole Wray.  Meanwhile, Elliott began her career as a vocalist rapping on MC Lyte's "Cold Rock A Party".  The song reached #1 in New Zealand, #6 in Sweden, #11 in the U.S. and #15 in the U.K.

The next year, Elliott collaborated with Lil' Kim, Da Brat, Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes and Angie Martinez for the song "Not Tonight", which hit #4 in New Zealand, #6 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K.

Elliott's session work led to a recording contract with East West Records in which she could start her own label, The Goldmind, Inc.  

Elliott released her debut album Supa Dupa Fly in 1997, produced by Timbaland, who helped Missy out on all her solo releases.  Four singles were released, but the one that caught on was "Sock It 2 (sic) Me", which hit #5 in New Zealand and #12 in the United States.

The album went Platinum and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammy Awards, while Missy won the Billboard Award for Best New Artist.  The track "Ladies Night" (with Lil' Kim, Da Brat and Angie Martinez) was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance, as was Missy's song 'The Rain".  The latter was also nominated for Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.  

Elliott continued to write and produce for artists such as Whitney Houston, Total, and Spice Girl Melanie Brown's debut solo single "I Want You Back".  Elliott enjoyed a #5 U.S. hit with Nicole and Mocha on "Make It Hot":

Missy returned to the charts with Total on the #7 song "Trippin' (sic)":

  Missy's next album, Da (sic) Real World in 1999, sold 1.5 million albums in the U.S. and three million worldwide.  "Hot Boyz" was the only single to catch on, reaching #5 in the United States and #18 in the U.K.

Elliott released the album Miss E...So Addictive in 2001.  The first single, "Get Ur (sic) Freak On", became one of her biggest hits.  It peaked at #4 in the U.K., #7 in the U.S. and #9 in the Netherlands, won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and was nominated for another for Best R&B Song:

"One Minute Man" with Ludacris was a minor hit, reaching #10 in the U.K. and #15 in the United States, while the video for the song was nominated for Best Dance Video and Best Hip-Hop Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.

"4 (sic) My People" was a popular video in the U.S. but didn't receive a lot of radio airplay.  That was not the case in the Netherlands (#2), Belgium (#3) and the U.K. (#5)

Also that year, Elliott co-produced the remake of the great Labelle song "Lady Marmalade" for Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim and Mya, which became a #1 smash all over again.

Elliott once again lent her vocals on another hit, this time for Tweet, on the song "Oops (Oh My)", which reached #5 in the U.K. and #7 in the U.S.

Elliott released her fourth album, Under Construction, in 2002.  "Work It" became her biggest career hit, reaching #2 in the United States, #3 in New Zealand and #6 in the U.K. and Australia.  The accompanying video was nominated for eight MTV Video Music Awards (including Best Female Video), and captured awards for Video of the Year and Best Hip Hop Video.

  Under Construction was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album at the Grammys and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album at the American Music Awards.  Elliott received another Grammy Award for Best Female Rap Solo Performance (for "Scream Ska Itchin' (sic)") and was nominated for Best Short Form Music Video for "The Knoc" (with Dr. Dre).  "Gossip Folks" gave Missy her only album with more than one big hit on it, landing at #8 in the U.S. and #9 in the U.K.

After five unsuccessful solo singles and an album that eventually sold over one million copies (This Is Not a Test!), Elliott starred in the movie Honey.  In 2004, Missy combined with Ciara for the smash hit "1, 2 Step".  The song peaked at #2 in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand and #3 in Ireland and the U.K.  It also won an ASCAP Pop Award for Most Performed Song.

Later in the year, the Elliott magic worked again for Christina Aguilera, who combined with Missy on the single "Car Wash".  The song reached #2 in Australia, New Zealand and Belgium, #3 in the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K. and #5 in Ireland and Switzerland, and was nominated for Favorite Remake at the People's Choice Awards.

Although she hadn't enjoyed a solo hit in several tries, Elliott returned with the album The Cookbook in 2005.  The losing streak was ended by "Lose Control", was a #2 smash in New Zealand and #3 in the U.S.  The song won the Grammy for Best Short Form Video and was nominated for Best Rap Song.  It won Elliott two more MTV Video Music Awards for Best Dance Video and Best Hip Hop Video. 

The Cookbook went Gold, and was nominated at the Grammys for Best Rap Album, and Elliott was also nominated along with Ciara for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.  Elliott was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance for "We Run This".  Elliott captured the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Female Artist at the American Music Awards.  After "Lose Control", however, Elliott hasn't found the Top 15 in her last seven tries.  She did combine with Keyshia Cole and Lil' Kim in 2007 for the hit "Let It Go", which peaked at #7 in 2007.

Elliott is nominated for three World Music Awards (Best Female Artist, Best Live Act and Best Entertainer).  The awards will be announced this Sunday.

Elliott has won five Grammy Awards and sold over 30 million records in the United States alone.  She has enjoyed 11 Top 10 hits as either a solo artist or in collaborations with other artists. 

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