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Billboard Women in Music 'Innovator' Missy Elliott: 'You Won't Find Another Missy'

Ruven Afanador
Missy Elliott photographed on Nov. 6, 2015 at ROOT NYC in New York.

The night before she released her first major single in a decade, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott composed an emoji-loaded tweet that ended with two words: "buckle up." The next morning, on Nov. 12, the video for "WTF (Where They From)" premiered on YouTube in all its future-funky glory. Reaching No. 22 in its second week on the Billboard Hot 100, it became Elliott's biggest hit as a lead artist, racking up 3 million total streams that day. The single's reception mirrored the ­outpouring of love she received in February, after her guest spot ­during Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show. This year proved that the 44-year-old MC is nowhere near done with her mission to reshape hip-hop and pop. An album of tracks she has been working on with Pharrell Williams and Timbaland should arrive in 2016. "She's like a living myth, but she's the real thing," says Williams. "I was just ready for the next installment."

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Her Favorite Day (And Night) Of 2015
"I'm so thankful that Katy invited me to join her at the Super Bowl. To see the ­positive reaction of millions and feel the love from my fans will always stay with me. My favorite night was hanging with Janet Jackson and her husband. We had a blast! It's ­wonderful to see her back on tour, and she dropped an incredible album. I was blessed to help write her song 'Burn It Up.' I'm Team Janet!"

Her Fitness Challenge
"Deciding to eat healthier and being stress-free. I feel better, stronger and happier. My favorite new gadget is an elliptical bike. To wake up every day and know that it's right there in front of me is great motivation."

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Hearing Her Influence On Radio
"There's some Missy DNA out there, for sure. I don't mind. But when Missy came out, you didn't compare Missy to anyone else."

Currently Binge-Watching
"My favorite show is still Martin -- I can watch hours and hours of it. The dynamic between the characters makes me laugh every single time."

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2015 Highlights
"WTF" ascended to No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in just its second week on the chart
Performed with Katy Perry on the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show in NFL history
Sold nearly 350,000 song downloads during the week after the Super Bowl
Teased a 2016 album: "But I don't want to give you a time!"

2015 Billboard Women in Music

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of Billboard.