In Billboard‘s new cover story with the inimitable Missy Elliott, the hip-hop boundary pusher elaborates on the anxiety issues she’s struggled with despite boasting one of the most enviable careers in rap history.
For example, she’s one of a handful of rappers to play the Super Bowl halftime show. But When Elliott joined Katy Perry onstage earlier this year, it took a toll on her nerves and health.
The night before the game, Elliott endured a panic attack and ended up with “IVs in my arm, everything,” she tells Billboard. “Nobody knew.” She says it was God that helped her finally get onstage and own the stadium.
“I said, ‘If I can get over this [first] step, then I know all my dance steps will be on point,'” she says. “I know it was nothing but the grace of God that lifted me up and took me through that performance.”
Even if she did manage to perform for literally millions, there’s one person she still can’t spit in front of, at least in the studio: Frequent collaborator Timbaland.
“I never record in front of anybody,” Elliott says. “Tim has never seen me record a day in his life.”
Read Billboard‘s full Missy Elliott cover story here. Missy will be honored with the Innovator award at Billboard’s 2015 Women in Music event on Dec. 11, to be aired on Lifetime Dec. 18.