Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Missy Elliott

Sometimes, you appreciate an artist without realizing just how popular they are.  As a teenager I was amused by the odd rhymes of one Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, who along with her friend Timbaland, helped to expand the range of rap and provided a forthright rapper who managed to be more than merely a sex symbol but someone who was and is a thoroughly odd persona.  I happen to greatly appreciate odd musicians, all the more when they end up going platinum over and over again like she did.  And as a man who respects wannabe criminals, Missy Elliott was and is an easy artist to appreciate.  While it is somewhat mystifying to me at least that her career has been so successful, that success as a female MC in a man’s game [1] makes her a clear and worthy nod for recognition in Cleveland.  Who wouldn’t want to dance along with “Work It” on one of those jukeboxes at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, after all, or give at least some due to someone who has worked it for more than two decades, going back to the days when she rapped alongside “That’s So” Raven.  No, seriously, that’s where her career began.

The Influence Of Missy Elliott

The odd career of Missy Elliott has known many twists and turns.  Her first appearance as an artist was in 1993 on a minor hit by Raven, “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of” that somehow managed to make the charts.  After that she paid her dues for a few more years as a guest artist on other tracks and showed that she would work magic for a wide variety of artists.  How wide of an influence has she had?  Well, she worked alongside Timbaland, one of the most notorious hitmakers of the past couple of decades, and the two of them rose up together to superstardom.  Who else has she worked with?  Here are some names, some famous, some obscure, from a variety of genres:  Da Brat, 702, Magoo, Lil’Kim, MC Solaar, Big Boi, Lil’ Mo, Nas, Eve, Q-Tip, Ludacris, Trina, Ginuwine, Tweet, Beyoncè, Free, MC Lyte, Ciara, Fatman Scoop, Pharrell Williams, Lamb, Taral Hicks, Gina Thompson, Men of Vizion, New Edition, SWV, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes, Angie Martinez, the rest of TLC, Total, Magoo, Aaliyah, DJ Clue?, Mocha, Nicole Wray, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Torrey Carter, Carly Simon, Janet Jackson, Dr. Dre, Faith Evans, Ghostface Killah, Wyclef Jean, Christina Aguilera, Keyshia Cole, Danity Kane, Pussycat Dolls, Little Mix, J. Cole, and Fallout Boy, among others.  That is an impressive lineup, besides her own smash solo hits.  Anyone who can influence multiple generations of rappers with her unique flow is obviously doing something noteworthy.

Why Missy Elliott Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

While some people may not like the fact that rap artists are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the induction of acts like Tupac and NWA has established that the biggest names and most worthy rap acts are going to be considered as hall-worthy.  So, does Missy Elliott stand up to that?  We have seen that she has been well-regarded enough to end up on dozens of acts dropping verses and earning featuring credits like it was going out of style besides holding down her own career.  Having looked briefly at her collaborations on some immensely worthwhile tracks, it is worthwhile to take a sustained look at that solo career now.  Aside from her six US top tens and six additional top 40’s in the US in collaborations, every single album of hers has sold more than 500,000 copies, five of them have gone platinum, and one has gone multi-platinum, a record of proven and consistent success.  Considering her own solo singles with her as a lead artist, she has memorable and lasting hits with such songs as “Sock It 2 Me,” “Hot Boyz,” “Get Ur Freak On,” “One Minute Man,” “Work It,” “Gossip Folks,” “Pass That Dutch,” “Lose Control,” and the odd but impressive more recent hit “WTF (Where They From) [2].”  That’s an impressive array of hits that anyone would be proud of.

Why Isn’t Missy Elliott In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

It has been immensely difficult for any female MC to stay relevant and popular over many decades given the association of women in rap with raw sexuality, something that tends to fade after a certain age.   Yet Missy Elliott has managed to do it without losing any of her trademark quirkiness.  Many people may simply be unaware that her career began in 1993, given that her first album came out only in 1997.  The combination of being a rare lastingly successful female MC, albeit one that has had a hard time getting her most recent album released (she hasn’t had an album drop in more than decade despite continuing hits) and a career that is longer than people know of likely accounts for her not being speedily inducted like the best of her generation of MC’s.

Verdict:  Put her in.  She might have to wait a few years, but hopefully not too long.  She is no “one minute” rapper, after all.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-nwadr-dre/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-tony-toni-tone/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/16/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-new-editionbell-biv-devoebobby-brown/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/08/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-janet-jackson/

[2] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missy_Elliott_discography

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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