Missy Elliott isn’t just back. She’s blazing.
The iconic rapper broke the internet when the video for her comeback track ‘WTF (Where They From)’ landed last week.
Indeed, in what is becoming a real rarity in today’s age, the Dave Meyer‘s directed visual very much felt like an event and was greeted as such (the clip has racked up over 13 million views and counting).
In an interview with Hattie Collins for i-D magazine, Elliott waxed honest about her return; how she’d adjusted to the “normal life,” the apprehension she felt (she literally messed up her weave with nerves), and how Pharrell Williams and Katy Perry were central to her resurgence.
Excepts via i-D. Long but good!:
You haven’t dropped a project of your own since 2005’s Cookbook. Was thepressure greater because it had been so long?
Oh the pressure was definitely more! When me and Tim put out those records [9th Inning and Triple Threat], you know, we just put them out, that’s why we never put a video out. But this time the pressure was really on because I knew I had shot a video so now it wasn’t just about, ‘Are they gonna like the record’. I knew that people know me for my videos and so the expectation from those who grew up on my music was high. My goodness. I swear to God, I felt like I sweated out my tracks the night before the video dropped! My weave was messed up waiting for this video to come out!
So why now? And how much did the Katy Perry Superbowl performance affect your decision to return as a solo artist?
I can’t remember where I was, but my manager called me and said ‘Would you like to do the Superbowl’? I was sat there looking at the phone like ‘Did she just say the Superbowl’? I felt like, who turns down the Superbowl but then, why would I be doing the Superbowl at this point? I don’t have anything out, but I’ll do it. She said ‘Katy Perry wants to speak to you, she wants you to perform with you’. I immediately thought that she would want me to perform Last Friday the record that we did together. So when me and Katy got on the phone, she said she was a fan of my work and that she wanted me to perform, but to perform three of my records. First of all, I can’t thank her enough. A thousand thank you’s wouldn’t be enough. She allowed me to perform my records, on her set and she said ‘If you have a new record, you should perform it, this is the time to perform it’. At the time I had some records but I didn’t feel as strong about them. I said I’d rather go out there and give them the classics. She was like ‘Are you sure, this will have a huge amount of viewers’. She really gave it over to me, but I decided to do the old classics. I’ve performed for some of the biggest crowds but the Superbowl has to be the scariest moment – besides waiting for this video to drop (laughs). That was a nervous moment for me.
But why now? Is the record part of a bigger Missy project to come?
Well, Pharrell hit me. He had hit me before the Superbowl, we had performed at the BET awards [in 2014], and after the Superbowl, he hit me up like ‘Yo, what are you doing?’ I was basically in the house cleaning! I had gone back to my normal life. I was in the house vacumming, walking my dogs – after the Superbowl, I’m just acting normal. He said ‘I’m not trying to push you, but people miss you. Do you see what happened out there? Have you seen the charts’? I think I was still in shock. It still hadn’t registered. He was like ‘I want to get in the studio with you.’ Who turns down Pharrell? He flew me to LA and he put me up and we got in the studio and he said ‘Yo! I got this crazy beat’. You know, Pharrell, he’s very zen, very yoga, he’s such a sweetheart. But this time, he was straight from the hood, like ‘Yo, I got this crazy record for you, I already wrote my rap, I gotta get your bars now’. So he played it and once he played it, it was like ‘Oh my goodness’ He said ‘I know you gon’ kill it’. I said, ‘Well, let me take it home and live with it’. When something is so hot, I don’t want to just jump on it right away, I want to take it home and make sure I give it my best shot. He said ‘Listen, just remember who you are. You’ve always been fun and animated and you have always made people want to dance. Look in the mirror so you can know who you are. It’s time. It’s your time.’ That’s how it happened (laughs). Once we did the record, I knew it was time to shoot a video. The puppet idea I had seen somebody do on the street. I held onto that idea for five years because I didn’t have a record that matched that idea. So I showed Pharrell the clip I had, and he said ‘You know you got to do a video for this’. Believe it or not, we have been making this video since March. The puppets themselves took two and a half, to three months to make. It was very detailed, we had people from StarTrak working on this video, so it was a lot.
For those like us wondering about the album ‘WTF’ sits on, Missy told Elvis Duran this week that it’s likely to arrive “sometime next year” and that she’s recorded several “hot records with Pharrell and that both he and Timbaland are teaming up to helm the set.
“I swear to God, I felt like I sweated out my tracks the night before the video dropped! My weave was messed up waiting for this video to come out!” -Missy
SCREAMING!!! Love you Missy! Welcome back!
Riiiight! Lol, girl kept it trill with that quote!
KATY PERRY WITH HER TONE-DEAF VOCALS, BIG BOOBS AND FLAT B***. GIRL BYE
KATY PERRY INSPIRES NO ONE. BUT FLAT B*** LILLY WHITE GIRLS
I understand your frustration, but if it wasn’t for that natural big-breasted white woman giving Missy a LARGE platform to grace the world once again to share her artistry to millions all at once, then she probably wouldn’t have been this successful with her comeback. I love Misdemeanor, but the general public probably wouldn’t pay attention to her if the Super Bowl never happened. I’m just thankful that she’s back and that Katy didn’t choose a washed up white singer, like I’m sure everyone expected her to.
Where is where they from on the charts? I would like her fans, the Nicki haters, bandwagoner’s and lil kim stans to tell me
It made its debut at #91 and bear in mind that it was released on Thursdays. It’s expected to rise after a proper full week.
No need to be mad there is more than enough room for Nicki And Missy.
Kiss my ass!
The word humble does not do this woman justice. I am glad she confirmed there is an album coming out tho. Pharrell is right, we miss her. But on another note, lol she was cleaning her house tho. Missy so real out here. Welcome back lady!
Respect to the fullest. Enjoy the comeback Missy xx
Katy seems like a genuine nice person and not an attention seeking fame whôre who thinks the whole world revolves around her.
I caught that Taylor shade. She even mean-mugs Adele too. With Katy, the shade is subliminal, but she LETS Adele know that she has a problem with her winning over her. America’s little sweetheart ain’t so nice and genuine afterall.
Missy is back! She is the most consistent female rapper of ALL TIME! She’s the Queen of Hip-Hop & no one can touch her.
last album in 2005 .. Most consistent ? lmao ok
Well she is a woman of many MANY hats so I believe “consistency” would be very fitting.
She’s consistently gone platinum unlike others…
Love her, but NO!
The hype you are trying to create is bizzare! Breakin the internet? Really? She is screaming , instead of singing or rapping, since 2005! The music she puts out is weak and she sounds like she makes covers of her own songs . Not good at all! No hate at all, I will still get whatever she puts out but really… This is nowhere near Supa dupa fly/Da real world / …So addictive level. I know, artists change…evolve…but this is not working for me. Wish her all the best, I hope she does well.
I HATE when ppl say, “No hate” when it’s nothing but, HATE! lol GTFOH.
You are so LATE! (Head count at your funneral: 3 girls)
Yes, rap queen of innovation! I hope she’ll be able to perform on SNL, GMA, Jimmy Kimmel, and a lot of other television shows to promote the song. I’m not sure if pop and top 40 radio will support the song, but this is definitely the way to get their attention and add some spins for that on a daily playlist. I’m so glad she’s back! That music video was so cute, especially the puppets. I would’ve loved for her to have a little Ciara and Aaliyah puppet in the video, though.
This is great for Missy. I’m happy she’s making a big splash with this comeback. The video is sooooooo DOPE !!!
She is INCREDIBLE!
nicki is done just like beyonce. IM HERE FOR THE END OF THESE FAKE FLOP BIITCHES
Missy is amazing. SLAY ME BABY!!!!!
Miss elliott nervous?she always delivers visually I’m glad she went back to what she does best making us dance!!that triple that with Timbaland and 9th inning was NOT THE MOVE….Missy is FUN and that’s what this video gives me…mow we need one of her freaky songs Ala work it and get your freak on to really sell the project and she will be GOOD
She went back to walking dogs and vacuuming her house after doing the Super Bowl…I love this woman! Lol and when pharrell gave her the record, she had to “live with it” first Lol Missy is a true artist.
If Taylor’s special guest for her Superbowl performance is a black artist, I will SCREAM (and be proud, to be honest). That would really mean a lot for her to pick a black artist when the world wants it to be a white one. But she might do it just to steal attention and make herself look better.
If Jan somehow headlines or appears as a special guest for a future Superbowl, then that will be another memorable show that’s sure to bring in crazy ratings with the whole history she has with them. To be honest, it would be the ULTIMATE REDEMPTION and probably the second most memorable performance after her first.
Her comeback is just as lukewarm as Janet’s. Sorry but WTF sounds like Pass That Dutch, Work It, and other songs she’s released over the years including the 2 failed singles she dropped in 2012.
But you took the time to name every song and comment? HATER
Missy and Janet are game changers and if there comebacks are “lukewarm” then I would like to see what this new breed of artists have in store. There’s only a handful of ACTUAL talent and Missy and Janet always fit the bill!!!! 😉
FLOP. The song is only #14 on itunes lmao it wont even sell 80k in its opening week. Bow down to Onika who’s had SEVERAL plat/multi-plat singles, a gold album, a successful tour (source:Billboard, Forbes) n who won MAJOR awards this yr ????
You Nicki stans really annoy the f**** outta me why can’t y’all just die like your fav’s aborted fetus
AAAAAAHHHHHHHLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! BISH IM SCR-REEEEAMING!!! LOLOL
>>>A<<< gold album
I'm weak. Does she have FIVE platinum albums? What about millions from writing and production credits? Was she the first female rapper to work with Queen Bey? Is she considered a legend by her peers? Does a she have a Grammy? Does she have a legendary catalog? Why can't Onika go platinum even while being the only major female in rap? Why can't she go platinum all over the world being the only one in the game?
You'll stay upset.
When will YO biitch? Huh? When will nicki??? ???? u funky biitch
I wonder if Missy and Christina Aguilera will reunite since they’re both working with Pharrell? That would be amazing!