Missy Elliott burst onto the music scene in 1997 and has since become one of the most innovative and versatile artists in the industry. Recently MTV named her “The Most Important Video Artist of the Decade.” Now she’s about to release her fifth album and “Today” entertainment reporter Jill Rappaport caught up with “Missy” to talk about her career, weight loss and she sets the record straight on dissing Madonna.
SHE’S BARELY FIVE-feet two, but she’s already a “tower of power” in the music industry. So don’t mess with Missy Elliott! As a songwriter, she’s bold, as a producer, she’s one of the most sought after and as a performer, she’s a trend-setter.
Two-time Grammy winner Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott is on everyone’s wish list, producing songs for artists like Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Madonna.
But now she’s back in front of the camera and after last year’s multi-platinum hit single, “Work It” Missy’s hoping to work it again with her new “This Is Not a Test,” featuring the new single “Pass That Dutch.”
Jill Rappaport: “Considering the success of the last one which was just a huge hit, are you feeling the pressure for this one?”
Missy Elliot: “I’m always feeling the pressure. Each album, you know, you’re going to get them butterflies.”
Rappaport: “Well, what’s different about this one?”
Elliot: “The difference between this album and all the other albums is, I’m probably like, not as gimmicky.”
Just a few short years, the Portsmouth, Virginia native has successfully taken on rap’s leading men and changed the face of hip-hop music.
Rappaport: “You’re one of the few babes, in a business that really is dominated by men. Did you have any resistance? Was it difficult for you when you first got started?”
Elliot: “It never was difficult as far as— gaining that respect, as a female, in a male-dominated world. I think it was probably more resistance of not being the typical artistry look. Not being the size. Not having that model image.”
Rappaport: “Since then, you have changed dramatically.”
Rappaport: “You’ve lost so much weight. And it wasn’t just a vanity issue. This was truly a health issue, where you were forced to lose this weight.”
Elliot: “Yeah, very much forced. My whole family suffers with high blood pressure. I didn’t take it that serious until the doctor explained to me, when he took my blood pressure, he said, ‘You know, we might have to admit you.’ Do you know how high your blood pressure is? He had to take my pressure like three times.”
With her weight and health now in check, Missy is hitting all the right notes and flatly denying the sour ones. Like the recent story where she reportedly snubbed Madonna during the filming of their Gap commercial.
Rappaport: “What happened there? You were supposed to be with her. Then we heard you didn’t show up. What was the story with that?”
Elliot: “I want people to stop lying — right here, right now.”
Rappaport: “You set the record straight.”
Elliot: “Yes. Well, when my management called me and said there was something in the paper where I shooed Madonna away and I kind of laughed because I’m just picturing me, like, ‘Get outta here. I’m busy.’”
Rappaport: “You’re not a shoo type.”
Elliot: “I would never do anything like that to Madonna.”
Rappaport: “Was she nice to you? Any kissing?”
Elliot: “Oh, Madonna? No — no French kissing. No, none, no kissing.”
Rappaport: “Besides the Grammy Awards, the accolades and the hit albums, it still hasn’t fazed you. You still are like a little kid in a candy store.”
Elliot: “I’ve been wanting this ever since I was a little kid. And in elementary school, the teacher asking all the kids what they want to be. And everybody’s saying farmer, and policeman, doctor, lawyer. And when they came to me each Friday, I would say a superstar.”
Rappaport: “Not just a star, but a superstar.”
Elliot: “A superstar. Yes.”
Missy’s album “This Is Not a Test” hits record stores on Tuesday.