Product Vs. Promotion: Missy Elliott’s ‘WTF’

Published: Wednesday 22nd Jun 2016 by Rashad

After a nearly-decade long absence from charts as a leading act (and time filled with a number of “buzz” singles), ‘Hot Boyz’ hitmaker Missy Elliott kicked off 2015 by reminding any naysayers that she was hotter than ever.  An undoubted highlight of Katy Perry‘s otherwise forgettable ‘Super Bowl’ Halftime Show (the most watched in history), Elliott’s energy, stage presence, and resume of hits not only resonated with the viewing audience, but only seemed to amplify cries for the multi-talented diva’s full-on return to music.

It would literally be 10 months before their prayers were answered via the Pharrell Williams-produced ‘WTF.’ Dripping every “Elliott-ism” fans had grown to know and love over her 20 year career (see: futuristic & bass driven beat, colorful rapping), the bumping bop proved itself well worth the wait.  A welcomed departure from the dearth of quality rap ruling radio, by the time the tune’s out-of-this-world, Dave Meyers-directed video surfaced fans were sure the return to form would act as the much needed catalyst to put Missy back on top.  Even the rapstress herself bragged in the song:  ‘this another hit I got a(n) Ace in the hole.’

Unfortunately, Billboard charts wouldn’t exactly boast the same…

A slow burner, the song finally clawed its way to a #22 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 weeks after its debut.  With little traditional promotion, barring a live performance on NBC’s ‘The Voice,’ it would take seven months before the tune was awarded a gold certification.

By this merit, it’s by no means a failure, but compared to her previous releases (and add to that a 10 year absence), there were undoubtedly higher expectations for its impact.

It seemed ‘WTF’s commercial performance left many-a-fan asking ‘WTF?’ and slamming Elliott’s label for not affording her long-awaited comeback its due promotional push.  On the other hand, others argued the shift in musical landscape (over her lengthy absence) to more trap-friendly offerings was just not welcoming of her qualitative efforts.

You tell us:

Did Missy miss the momentum of the Super Bowl and wait too late to capitalize?  Or, is her unorthodox style just too far left for today’s musical climate?

Your thoughts?

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  1. Ayyseify June 22, 2016

    Omg!! Don’t do Katy perry like that haaaa

  2. SixInchHeels, June 22, 2016

    I love missy. She is a legend no doubt, but WTF was corny and dated. She needs to come harder.

    • FAF June 22, 2016

      It’s bc her lyrics were edgy for her time but not for today
      It’s like Nicki did crazy s*** aesthetically and azealia raps like missy so two of the artists she mainly tries to shade stole her thunder making her appear to be the copy
      Wasnt azealia tweeting about this ? How Atm jam + 1 beat = wtf

  3. pat June 22, 2016


  4. Coolness June 22, 2016

    I’ll never forget how excited I was when I heard the opening beat to ‘Get Ur Freak On’ and Missy popped up on stage at The Super Bowl. Her inclusion to Katy’s set list was PURE nostalgia! Concerning ‘WTF’, I never really liked the song but I supported it because I missed her so much. Also, she only performed the song once which is not going to work in today’s ADHD music listeners. So for me, it was both product and promotion.

  5. J-Mar June 22, 2016

    what missy problem is she release 1 hot hit song then disappear she has to come way harder if she want to stay on top this new generation is hard to please it aint nothing like back in the 90’s try next time missy.

    • The Legend Called Missy Elliott June 22, 2016

      She ain’t trying to please you. She’s said that. Her real fans.

      • SHADY J June 22, 2016

        first of all u missed read what i mean im still a missy elliot fan but at the sametime i gotta keep it real the new generation not feeling her new sound i actually like missy old music way better than her new music so why are u so bothered by why i post u can have several seats who asked your basic ass anything.

      • The Legend Called Missy Elliott June 22, 2016

        You retarded ass r***** I’ll post whatever and ywhomever I want. You are hardly in a position to call anyone basic you fat greasy porkchop eating b****.

  6. Molly June 22, 2016

    She doesn’t fit this generation no ones checking . She’s legendary tho unlike onika.

    • Ayyseify June 22, 2016

      I hate you lmao! Stahp!

    • Danzou June 22, 2016

      if no one was checking she wouldn’t have went #22 on the charts and top 10 in over 5 countries and top ten on rap charts. Im so tired of your f** mouth.

      • Molly June 22, 2016

        Girl be real with yourself. She’s a flop

  7. Auntie_Jackie June 22, 2016

    Missy doesn’t purchase airplay or plaques. She has no need. Missy is legendary. #22 after a ten year hiatus? For a female rapper? That might as well be #1. She can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, at her own pace, based on the strength of her previous achievements. Everyone is hungry for Missy to dominate, that’s the only reason why people may be disappointed – which says a lot about how amazing she is.

    • The Legend Called Missy Elliott June 22, 2016

      Right, see doesn’t have anything to prove because has done it before.

    • What Now June 22, 2016

      I have to agree. It was close to a hit bc the video was nice, but the song was a little too dated.

  8. The Legend Called Missy Elliott June 22, 2016

    It was neither. The song was made for fans. It peaked in the top 10 in 5 countries, top 10 Rap Charts, #22 on Billboard 100. By industry standards it’s considered at hit record. For someone that has been making music for 20 years that’s still impressive. You have some artist that can’t even go away for 10 months before they are forgotten and wrote off as irrelevant, Missy hasn’t had an album out in over 10 years and still people care. Must be a slow news day around here.

  9. Barb-wire June 22, 2016

    No other rap b**** can win in a Godnika world. Ask Fadmi Ma, Piggy Flopzaelia, Azalea Stanks, and that weird chick Timbaland tried the industry with… It’s Onika’s world b******, adapt or die a slow and painful career death.

    • SHADY J June 22, 2016

      You Forgot About Foxy Clown Lil Him and Hurricane Katrina Lol

    • Danzou June 22, 2016

      its fans like you that make people hate nicki. i love nicki but she aint been here ten plus years yet nor has she released a classic timeless album so i reserve my judgement. Missy is above nicki. There are a lot of women above her right now.

    • The Legend Called Missy Elliott June 22, 2016

      ?? cling to those EBT awards babe.

    • What Now June 22, 2016

      Nicki can’t actually rap her damn self. It was all Safaree writing. The only thing Nicki wrote was these b****** is my sons in every song. Quit the shade. It’s old.

    • Abel Azalea June 22, 2016

      But both Missy and Iggy have both have NUMBER ONE records. What about Onigglette?

    • kwinzy June 22, 2016

      F*** like yourself make the female rap game PETTY. This is why Nicki will NEVER earn any accolades, adoration and utmost respect from the REAL RAP world. Ha!

  10. Bravo!! June 22, 2016

    Why was Rihanna crying in Dublin on stage?!

    • CherylSoldierr June 22, 2016

      Because it was half empty sis

  11. Danzou June 22, 2016

    it wasnt product nor promotion. If i was missy i wouldn’t have done all that bullcrap either. it is what it is white people have snatched this game up so hard that none of the og’s want a part of this political mess. They only wanna please the people that miss them. she doesnt wanna release an album and ruin her discography. I’m SO tired of white people yall just don’t underfuckingstand like i love them but the majority of them are just something else like i hate the fact that they make it to such high places in the world JUST to bring everyone else down and the music industry is part of all that when it comes to artists of color especially black.

    • GirlGroupFan June 22, 2016

      I feel you…

      • Danzou June 22, 2016

        Thank you. it honestly hurts im tired of seeing my people my culture suffer im so tired. I cant f****** stand them, and non black poc dont always make it no better.

    • Molly June 22, 2016

      Victim mentality..

  12. CherylSoldierr June 22, 2016

    Why is kill em with kindness flopping?

    • Molly June 22, 2016

      It’s the 4th single and aleast it’s charting something Cheryl could never do in America. #YouMadHoe?

      • CherylSoldierr June 22, 2016

        But don’t you Stan Natalie la rose and Carmen? Girl pick a fave

  13. MusicLife June 22, 2016

    I am the biggest Missy Elliott fan. She is probably my favorite female rapper.
    That being said, it’s definitely product here. She didn’t give us a songs worthy especially after such a wait.
    The music video was more entertaining than the song which had lackluster lyrics, verse from Pharrel, etc.
    I felt let down by Missy truly once I heard it, I had hoped it would be a grower but I don’t care if I never hear the song again. It was no “Get Ur Freak On, or “The Rain,” that’s for certain

    • MusicLife June 22, 2016

      Missy also did wait way to long to capitalize, so perhaps a bit promotion but mostly product too. Plus the industry is age biased. Especially for women.

  14. kwinzy June 22, 2016

    Yes, Missy could have better promoted the song but it was still a success. People are too high strung on what defines being a success these days. It’s annoying AF. This woman has been in the game 20+ years so the very fact WTF hit gold after sooooo long is a milestone in itself. Last time I checked WTF charted made waves internationally compared to Nicki so it was more impactful. Pay respect where it’s due! Especially now when the female rap game is WEAK. Missy is the ONLY female rapper bringing the art of dance to hip-hop’s forefront. She stayed true to who she is as an artist and an entertainer. BET needs to award her Best Female Hip-Hop artist on Sunday. I’m so over the fraudulence of the last 6 years… #SaveFemaleRap

  15. MUSICHEAD June 22, 2016

    WTF did exactly what it was supposed to do. That was bring Missy back to mainstream and urban radio while introducing her to a new audience. Missy has dropped at least 3 songs since 2009 and they all failed to make an impact. I’m sure no one expected WTF to be a huge hit but it was a hit nonetheless. The only failure here was not dropping a follow up to build on her momentum with WTF. It’s almost like she came and went. But with no album to promote and an artist who seems ok with being in the shadows these days, no fault can really be put on the record label. Sometimes things just are what they are.

    • SHADY J June 22, 2016

      that prep rally s*** was horrible.

  16. Queen Brit Brit June 22, 2016

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!! I am SCREAMING at the T***** Garbaj stan Barb-wire being collectively dragged by everyone in this comment section! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! How are Barfz so bold and confident when
    The PinkPrint flopped
    Anaconda, her attempt at having a pop culture moment, was paid DUST a few months after it was released.
    Tour flopped HARD
    Still no #1 singles
    Still no Grammys
    Still no respect from either hip-hop or pop fans
    LOLOLOLOLOL!!! Did yall see #NickiIsHomophobicParty trending on Twitter? She will never be taken for more than music’s equivalent of a fart joke, end of discussion.

    As for Queen Missy, ol girl pulled a fast one by dropping a single, giving a cute performance, and then dipped. The fact that she still peaked at #22 with a song she paid dust speaks volumes. Missy needs to stop fooling around and deliver a FULL era. I want videos, interviews, magazines, and performances. Push it to radio, push for streams. I NEED her to come hard to fill the female rap void cause my girl Iggy is playing GAMES with her new material and running to X Factor.

    • Mr.StLaurent June 22, 2016

      Missy & Nicki don’t give a f*** what you want?

  17. Jo June 22, 2016

    “This generation doesn’t care about her…”

    What generation? People of all ages purchase music last time I checked.

    Missy does what she wants to do. That’s why she’s failing to pick up momentum. We live in an age now where products need to be back to back. Artists drop albums like iPhones. I think Missy knows all the hard work it will entail to be a “superstar” but she probably doesn’t have the energy to do all that shucking and jiving for album sales. She had a long run, made hits and millions of dollars. Unlike the new artists who are just famous, Missy is very rich bish. I also hear she has kids. She knows what she has to do because she’s done it before.

    Imagine if you were afforded the same luxuries as Missy. I bet you wouldn’t be so quick to hop up and exchange that for sweaty tour buses and years of tireless promotion. Give her a break. She’s earned her pie.

  18. #JACKIE June 22, 2016

    The song sucks.

  19. 2bad2bme June 22, 2016

    WTF was a hit…All of my nieces and nephews went off when we played the record at parties. I just think it wasn’t played enough on the radio, and she could have performed it more. That was the issue!

  20. Dev June 22, 2016

    I think the song was pretty much like her other hits so wasn’t perceived as anything new.
    Missy is iconic but needs to show evolution otherwise it will always be compared to her older music instead of added alongside. i also think that the game has changed , i think she should do what Queen Latifah and do more singing on her next album to reach a wider audience.
    Also her features/remixes are what made her songs hot

  21. Danzou June 22, 2016

    We not a about to turn thus into a opportunity to bash nicki. You gay n***** need to cut that out stop bashing women just because ya can’t f*** them.

    • Bye Oniglette June 22, 2016

      Girl hush. Get out ya feelings. You sound so hurt lmao

      • Danzou June 23, 2016


    • The Legend Called Missy Elliott June 23, 2016

      I WI’s with you until you started with gay stuff. Nicki proved she doesn’t care about gay people in the last couple weeks so if they want to go in on a no talent hack. Oh well

      • Danzou June 23, 2016

        How is she against gays? Cuz she never mentioned Orlando?

  22. SHADY J June 22, 2016

    Nicki Minaj Got The Haters Talking I See Stay Mad She Still Winning Where Is Your Faves.

    • Bye Oniglette June 22, 2016

      Same as Nicki’s Grammy or #1 on Billboard…NONEXISTENT

  23. Jay June 23, 2016

    Leave Missy alone. 5 Grammys, over 200 awards, multi platinum songs for herself and Beyoncê (which threw her a bday party), Janet, Aaliyah, Madonna, and more. Oh and 5 multiplatinum ALBUMS IN PURE SALES.

    10 years + of success
    Can really sing
    Can rap
    Can really dance
    Has iconic music videos
    Inspirational to girls all over!

  24. Justafan June 23, 2016

    Missy has achieved what Nicki never will – RESPECT and true success i.e. grammys, number 1’s and true artistry

  25. Janet June 23, 2016

    I have a question for everyone. I live in MN and the radio stations here suck BAD. Like I dont even bother with radio due to them playing the same 10 or so songs over and over all day long, and its always like Justin Bieber or something very basic. Is it like this everywhere or just here in the midwest? Like do other radio stations try and introduce listeners to new music?

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