Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Almighty Missy Elliott

Before MIA, before Minaj -hell, even before Rhianna & Gaga there was Missy Elliott.

Missy Elliott; a 360 degree Artist - Rapper, Musician, Producer, Performer & All round Force of Nature who, together with best friend Timbaland pioneered a futuristic of sound-scape of beeps, bleeps & raw attitude.

This was a pair who clearly loved music. You can hear echo's of musique concrete, electronica, industrial noise & Afro Beat, pepper their sound. Arguably, they were the first duo to start experimenting with Arabic & Indian music in the Hip Hop genre.

Now, you can read Missy's rags to riches tale all on Wikipedia. The impact, she had on my life as an artist & a woman of colour acting against traditional expectation is what makes me most passionate.

Missy's sexually fluid lyrics were both assertive, yet playful & sensual. Whether she was cussing, 'One Minute Men,' needing to shave her 'cha cha,' or using an elephant's noise to describe a man's 'package', this brand of Ghetto Burlesque was both irreverent & smoking hot.

The songs were full of references to experiences with both men & women without the forced bubblegum commercial bisexualism of pop tarts like Katy Perry. She was not playing up to men's fantasies but asserting her own experiences with wit & flair.

Her videos, in particular the early work with Film maker Hype Williams, were visionary. Williams' transformed Missy into a Science Fiction Super Hero. In contrast to other MTV females, rather than being embarrassed by her size, Williams blew this up & framed it centre stage.
In an era of global body dysmorphia & Size 0, Missy took a totally unapologetic attitude to her size.

Now, I like all the modern day rap girls. But there was something so uncompromisingly empowering about Missy.
She never comes across as someone trying too hard. Her output seems less concerned with trying to shock, seduce & get people 'talking.' {Or in this era 'tweeting.'} A woman NOT acting like a stripper, which seems to be the primary concern of most women in entertainment, is SO refreshing.

I read that Missy' health wasn't doing so good, allegedly down to Graves Disease. But, according to Wikipedia, in recent times she seems to be back producing & touring. She has even appeared in the new J. Cole song, 'Nobody's Perfect.' Wherever you are Missy - you changed my life & I love you so much for it.

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