This Day In History: July 1st
Super producer and multi-talented artist, Missy Elliot, has been reinventing herself and redefining what it means to be a hip-hop artist since she first entered the business. Janet Jackson, Beyonce and Madonna are just a few of the big-name celebrities that Missy Elliot has worked with.
She was born Melissa Arnette Elliott on July 1, 1971, in Portsmouth, Virginia. Her childhood was often traumatic, as she was a victim of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Despite the events that plagued her childhood, Elliot remained secure in her Baptist faith and used music as a creative outlet.
While in school, Elliot formed the group, Sista, and the girls were later signed to the label Swing Mob Records. She relocated to New York, but the label she signed with ended before the group could release their debut album. Elliot did not let this stop her and she continued to write and produce songs for the likes of Aaliyah and Raven-Symoné.
By 1997, she released her debut album, Supa Dupa Fly, through her own label Goldmind. The label was part of a deal with Elektra Entertainment Group. Her debut album went platinum and she was praised by Rolling Stone Magazine as rap artist of the year. She followed up the success by releasing more albums including Da Real World (1999), Miss E … So Addictive (2001) and Under Construction (2002). The popular hit song “Get Ur Freak On” earned Elliot her first Grammy award in 2002.
Elliot continued releasing award-winning songs until she went on a hiatus from music after being diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 2008. She stepped back from the spotlight as an artist but produced and wrote songs behind the scenes. Sickness did not keep her down, because in 2015 Elliot surprised fans with an appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show with Katy Perry.
She quickly rose back to popularity and dropped her first EP in more than 10 years titled, Iconology, in 2019. In addition to the awards Elliot already received, she became the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019 and was honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards. Elliot is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.