Missy Elliott is known for her oddball, trippy videos and colorful rhymes, but says if she were a man, more people would know about the songs she’s written or produced for other acts, including Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Aaliyah.
“A lot of people don’t know a lot of records that I’ve written or produced, so that’s a highlight for me as a woman,” Elliott said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I always said if a man would have done half the records that I’ve done we would know about it. But we don’t know all the records I’ve done for other artists.”
Elliott is one of the few female producers in pop music. She has also worked on songs for Mary J. Blige, MC Lyte, Ciara, Ginuwine, TLC, SWV and Total. She’s getting some of her due credit at VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens, to air live Monday night (9 p.m. EDT) from David Geffen Hall in New York City, where she will be honored alongside Queen Latifah, Lil Kim and Salt-N-Pepa.
Some of the artists that Elliott has crafted songs for or collaborated with will pay tribute to the rapper, including longtime partner Timbaland, Pharrell, Nelly Furtado, Monica, Fantasia, Remy Ma, Trina, Eve, Tweet, Keyshia Cole, Jazmine Sullivan and Raven Symone.
While Elliott, a five-time Grammy winner, is seen as one of the hardest-working acts in music, she says there’s always room for development. She remembers hearing Michael Jackson say he would “work harder” when asked if he’d do things differently in his career.
“I was just like, ‘Work harder? Like Mike, you moonwalked until your shoes were almost flip-flops. What else could you do?'” she said. “But it pushed me somewhere else because I feel like there’s always room for improvement.”
But it’s hard to think of improving when it comes to Elliott, one of the most respected and creative voices in music. The 45-year-old said she recently went down the YouTube vortex of eye-popping, innovative and futuristic music videos. While watching, she asked herself, “‘What was I on?'”
“I know that was my smoke days, but I was like, ‘Whoa,'” she recalled with a laugh. “At the time I was doing it, those videos, I didn’t think much of it. I thought they were hot, but I didn’t critique it or go into detail or say, ‘Oh, this is some next-level (stuff).’ … But the other day when I looked at them, I was like, ‘These videos are insane.'”
Elliott’s last studio album was 2005’s Cookbook. Last year she released the Pharrell-assisted single, “WTF (Where They From),” and said she has new music coming soon.
“I got some heaters. I most definitely got some heaters. I’m not going to say when they’re coming because, you know, I always think that’s the setup when you say it’s coming and you give a date and you don’t drop on that date — oh man! It’s like those fans out there will stone you,” she said, laughing. “I’m not saying the date, but I got some heaters.”
She’s also got her eye on areas outside of rap: “I want to dip my foot in some acting. And most definitely want to mentor upcoming artists and give them the wisdom that was given to me.”
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