Billboard will honor Missy with its first ever Innovator award at the 2015 Billboard Women in Music ceremony. Missy chatted with Billboard about her long road back to hip hop supremacy--here are 13 things we learned from her interview:
She plans to release her new album--produced by BFFs Timbaland and Pharrell--in 2016.
She's got six albums worth of unreleased material she jokingly calls The Missing Files of Missy Elliott
Her extended absence was exasperated by Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid, which she was diagnosed with in 2008.
Missy may be implicitly responsible for Lil Kim's iconic nipple pastie at the 1999 MTV VMAs.
Photo courtesy of Billboard
We can all thank Pharrell for Missy's return. He called her in 2014--when "Happy" was literally everywhere--about getting into the studio with her and she couldn't say no. "'Happy' was, like, on fire right then," Missy told Billboard.
Before stealing the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Missy says she suffered a serious panic attack:
"Like, IVs in my arm, everything," she says. "Nobody knew." The day of the show, she remembers being just offstage and hearing the opening riff of "Get Ur Freak On." "I said, 'If I can get over this step, then I know all my dance steps will be on point,' " she recalls. "I know it was nothing but the grace of God that lifted me up and took me through that performance."
It took four months to make the puppets for "WTF"
Of the current crop of MCs, she likes Kendrick Lamar, Drake and J. Cole.
As for the world's top current female rapper:
When asked about Nicki Minaj, who is clearly influenced by Elliott, she mock-innocently replies, "Oh, she is?"
Missy had a few plans for a comeback that never quite took off: she scrapped a planned LP in 2008 and in 2012, she released two Timbaland-produced tracks ("9th Inning" and "Triple Threat") to iTunes.