On Tuesday, Elliott posted a picture of herself in a recording studio with Timbaland on Twitter. Timbaland’s the chief songwriter and producer for the FOX series “Empire.” It’s possible that Elliott could have been recording a song for the show — she missed the Grammys to work with Tim in the studio.
Could something more be afoot? In a recent interview with Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning,” Elliott was pretty cagey.
“I don’t want to say too much ’cause in this day and time, you say too much, boy, you say something, they will come back two weeks later like, ‘Uhhh, where your album at?’ ” Elliott said. Okay, fine. But it’s worth noting that Timbaland and ASAP Ferg both posted new pictures on Instagram early Thursday morning with Elliott in the studio.
In the late 90s, we were obsessed with futurism — just look at the videos for “No Scrubs,” “808,” or Missy’s own song, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” Everything was forward-looking, but it’s rare to find work that can realistically make the leap to 2015 and still hang. Missy’s Super Bowl performance resurfaced that work, and evidenced just how forward-thinking she and Tim were. “Work It” and “Get Ur Freak On” still sound distinctive and modern. Years before natural hair took off as a major trend, Elliott had hairdressers sporting enormous ‘fros in the background of the video for “Work It,” a song about female sex positivity in which Elliott is unambiguously pro-sex worker. “Girls, girls, get that cash, if it’s nine-to-five or shaking your a–,” she rapped. “Ain’t no shame, ladies do yo’ thang. Just make sure you ahead of the game.”
Aside from her rapping and producing, Missy Elliott’s calling cards were her customized track suits and her high-energy, complicated dance routines, which is why it might surprise you to see her rocking a gold lamé Elizabethan gown, complete with high collar, in the video for “Beep Me 911.” Lady Gaga wore something similar crafted from red PVC to meet the queen of England — both mixed elements of Elizabethan and Victorian-era costuming. Get a good look at Elliott’s pink surrounds and the Barbie-like backup dancers. Who else spies a heavy visual influence on early Nicki Minaj?
Hopefully her performance at the Super Bowl with Katy Perry is a signal that she’s been able to overcome or at least manage her symptoms resulting from Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. Elliott was diagnosed with the disorder in 2008, and revealed that she experienced hair loss and mood swings as a result. At one point, she said in the Guardian, “I couldn’t write because my nervous system was so bad.”
It’s been 10 years since Elliott dropped her last studio album, “The Cookbook.”
If you really want to go back in time, have a gander at Elliott’s Twitter wallpaper, which serves not just as a testament to female emcees, but women in 90’s hip hop in particular: Left Eye, Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah, Charli Baltimore, Aaliyah, Solé, Salt-N-Pepa, Da Brat, Trina, Eve and Remy Ma are among the featured artists.
BRB, gotta make a new Spotify playlist.