Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott: Her Impact on the Game is Undeniable

Missy Elliott Continues To Change The Industry

Many names come to mind when we think of artist who’ve defined what music is today and the name Missy Elliott doesn’t fall short of that list. Though she may have not been the pioneer for all female emcees she did take music to a whole new level when she catapulted to fame in 1997 with her debut solo album Supa Dupa Fly. The hip-hop diva commanded the better part of the next decade with highly creative videos, daring fashion and lyrical explosion on the mic.

Growing up a Virginia native Missy Elliott, formally known as Melissa Arnette Elliott, didn’t have the most fascinating or sensational upbringing as her style of music may indicate. She suffered greatly as a child from physical and sexual abuse from family members and struggled into her teen years as an only child raised by her mother. In various interviews Missy states how she wouldn’t visit friends out of fear for her mothers life at the hands of her abusive father but instead would stay in her room and pretend to be a superstar singer. Little did she know that this was would become practice for her now great career.

Obsessed with music, Missy  Elliott pursued her passion and along side three other female friends formed an R & B group by the name of Fayze. Shortly after graduating from high school the group was signed to Swing Mob records by Devanté Swing, producer, songwriter and founding member of the R & B singing group, Jodeci. THe name of the group was changed from Fayze to Sista and they quickly recorded their first record, but unfortunately the group disbanded when they found out their label wasn’t prepared to release the album.  That didn’t stop Missy. She went on to form a songwriting/producing group with childhood friend Timbaland and using her newfound connections in the music industry they worked on successfully producing songs for many artists including Aaliyah & Gina Thompson. Soon thereafter Missy went on to land a contract with Elektra Records to produce her first solo album as well as run her own record label.

The notable female hip hop phenom has went on to win Grammy’s for her performances, produce five platinum albums and take hip hop to a new height by pushing the envelope with her creative style and ground breaking videos. She became one of the most sought after producer/writers of the early 2000’s and seemed to maintain success and happiness until she underwent a serious of unfortunate events. Shortly after the death of her dear friend and recording artist Aaliyah, in 2001 she was diagnosed with severe high blood pressure and dramatically lost weight to maintain a healthy life. Though the weight lost was beneficial for her health she saw a backlash from fans that thought she may have “sold out” for the slimmer look of Hollywood. And if that wasn’t enough, Missy Elliot learned three years ago that she was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, which would come to affect not only her physical but mental health.

Having not released a solo project since 2005 and releasing music sparingly over the last 10 years many may have thought she was on a hiatus and fans missed her creativity, unfortunately her illness is the true cause of her lack of music over the last few years. Taking a toll on Missy Elliott, Graves’ Disease, an incurable illness that creates over activity of the thyroid gland, producing too much thyroid hormones and causing a condition called hyperthyroidism.  The illness caused Elliott to continue to lose weight in addition to having blurry vision and  the bulging of the eyes.  The illness also causes hair loss, mood swings and the inability to control muscles. Graves’ Disease also affects the nervous system and as Missy states in the documentary for VH1’s Behind The Music that she could barely use a pen or write.

As devastating as this may sound it’s that much more impressive that she manages to maintain her health and is continuing to overcome the illness through staying consistent in the gym and radiation therapy.  During her break from music, Missy has still went on to produce hits for several of today’s biggest artist including Jasmine Sullivan, Monica, Jennifer Hudson, and Melanie B former member of the Spice Girls.

Though her life may seem as though she has been riddled with problems and dead end avenues throughout her career, time and time again Missy seems to go above and beyond to prevail. From being signed to losing the deal, to dealing with loss and heartache this rapper has not only been successful as an artist but as a songwriter, producer and Hip-Hop visionary. She pioneered the way for many women in music to express themselves how they see fit in a male dominated industry and isn’t stopping there.

Missy Elliott is making steps towards a comeback and ready the release of her seventh studio album. proving that greatness overcomes adversity. If her new creations are anywhere near as good as the last six albums you can surely expect this icon to reign once more over today’s music scene. 

If nothing else, her performance at last year’s Super Bowl proves that she’s never lost a step.


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George Robinson aka Gin.Roe.Cooks

As a writer, George Robinson continues to garner readership through his unique style of conversational word play and expressive yet educational delivery. Having crafted everything from interviews, articles, and poetry to social commentary he continues to prove his versatility when it comes to journalism. He hopes to one day build a following that knows him not only for his work but for his passion within music, arts, and entertainment. Read more articles by George.

George Robinson aka Gin.Roe.Cooks has 38 posts and counting. See all posts by George Robinson aka Gin.Roe.Cooks

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