Missy Elliot: But like a brick wall, I’m too hard to break

I would name Missy Elliot as one of the ten best hip hop acts of the aughts. She represents the best parts of the dirty south – wickedly clever, hella stylish and made for shakin’ that ass.  You can tell she was raised on a steady diet of hip hop, she always gives respect to those who came before. Missy is the master of pop culture references and shows much love for the founders of hip hop of the 1980’s. For example, this is a shout out to one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time:

If you’s a fat one, put your clothes back on
Before you start putting pot holes in my lawn.

After the jump, my top five Missy Elliot joints and why she was just what hip hop needed to stop taking itself so damn seriously.

Putting Back those Hip hop dividers

Missy is the master at edutainment. Whereas too many hip hop artists have shunned their responsibilities as role models, Missy always used her power for good. She shares a positive message while continually dazzling you with her clever wordplay and bold lyrical stylings. The intro to this song is a great example of what Missy can do. She states her beautiful vision to bring healing and light to the black community, or as she puts it: To those that are good in the projects and hood. But just when it gets heavy, she then invites us to: Pop that, pop that, jiggle that fat (ahh!) Don’t stop, get it till ya clothes get wet.

Make no mistake, Missy holds her own against any male mc and that bitch can dance. I love that Missy offered an alternative to the terribly oversexed and woefully underdressed images of weak women in hip hop. I love all her outfits in this video, especially the drum major. And Missy is a dancer, not a sex symbol writhing. I respect that when it is time for some booty shots, Missy maintains her dignity and lets her dancers bend over.

She is powerful and confident. Her clothes reflect a woman who feels good about how she looks. But by the end of the video, she is king kong in shorts, a t shirt and cowboy boots.  And her back up dancers are fully clothed, it’s like she has two MC Lytes dancing on either side of her. Word! And all while, she’s imploring us to: Wake up, wake up!

I’m a feed ya whacha teacha’ need to preach ya

Yep I’m a top leader, I got the Martin Luther King fever
I’m a feed ya whacha teacha’ need to preach ya
It’s time to get serious, black people all areas
Who gon carry us? It ain’t time to bury us
Cause music be our first love, say ‘I Do’ let’s cherish it

Missy always had such an inclusive vibe as well. She wanted to stop the fussin’ and fightin’ and get back to the joy of hip hop or as she so eloquently explains at the end of Work It:

Yeah. This is Missy Elliot. I hope y’all enjoyin ‘whatch’all heard so far. You know, I was sittin’ here thinkin ‘, like, Big Daddy Kane and Public Enemy, Salt’ N Pepa, Lite E, PMD , LC, Run DMC, KRS One, Rakim, most of them artists used to dance and still get respected in the street. Don’t be scared to bank head or bogol or moonwalk as far as I care. It sold Michael Jackson 43 million . Shoot. Everybody had a Zipper jacket and half of these thugs had the glove to match it. Feel me? Yo. It’s okay, though. If you want to be hard and ice-grill and Harlem-shake at the same time, whatever . Let’s just have fun. It’s Hip Hop, man. This is Hip Hop.

It  videos always feel like a family affair. I love how there are kids dancing in many of tthem. It seems so obvious they should be there, so many of her choruses sound like double dutch chants. But it gives it such a multi-generational feel, like a family barbecue. Bonus points for Timbaland’s cameo. Who else do you see?

I LURVE Missy. Pound for pound, she delivers some of the most jaw-droppingly funny lines of any MC I’ve heard:
Call me when you come, I need to shave my chocha!

I don’t mean to sound petty but they called me fatty til I got with puff daddy.

I’m old school, I work a Shirl.

Fresh gear, everyday, all week.

I consider this video Missy at the top of her game. Everything about this video is killer. The high school vibe. The choreography is KILLER. This is so fun to sing to as loud as you can. By the time they get to the funky double dutch bus at the end, she owns me. I will love her until the day I die. Her music just lit me up. Her CD’s inspired two of my favorite mixes: Oh No there She Go and Double Dutch Bus.

There is nothing I love more than a person who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. And Missy, well she has no ego in her videos and it is totally refreshing. Yet somehow, she never comes across as goofy or foolish.

This video feels so modern, yet is totally reminds me of A Different World at the same time. And the concept is so funny. Missy as a gymnast with Dominique Dawes (!) as her trainer. But again, she gets to the group dance scenes and it just blows me away! I would give anything for a large white t shirt with Missy airbrushed on front.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Valkyrie607
    Dec 19, 2009 @ 19:41:07



  2. Melissa
    Dec 19, 2009 @ 21:47:29

    I love that Missy is so talented and freaky and creative, she has a really wild mind, and the dance routines for Gossip Folks and Lose Control are so sick and awesome. I like that she’s so unique, and your words just captured what makes her so great.

    I just used a bunch of her songs on a workout mix” “Bad Man,” “For My People,” and a mashup of her “Lick Shots” with Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You.”

    Plus, I respect her so much for writing the lyrics to Aaliyah’s One in a Million. The lyrics are so flirty and sexy and innocent:

    Baby you don’t know,what you do to me.
    Between me and you, I feel a chemistry.
    Won’t let no one come and take your place.
    Cause the love you give can’t be replaced.
    See no one else love me like you do.
    That’s why I don’t mind to spend my life with you.
    Wanna please you in anyway I can.
    Wanna share my world don’t you understand.


  3. Trackback: The best (on-line) friends a homegirl could have « Bonita Appleblog
  4. koluis
    May 03, 2010 @ 07:56:46

    I like this content so much.Imagination is more important than knowledge.


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