Missy took to Twitter on Tuesday (December 6) to break down the making of each project, saying that as her and Tim’s success grew, so did the pressure on their shoulders to deliver.
“My 1st album was stressfree because I didn’t have any expectations. My label told me they would give me my own label if I did 1 album so me & @timbaland completed this album in 2 weeks not knowing this would be the beginning of many more to come,” she wrote of Supa Dupa Fly, widely regarded as one of the greatest rap debuts of all time.
Missy added that her sophomore LP, 1999’s Da Real World, was the “hardest album to complete” due to the pressure of following up her well-received first effort.
Regardless, the project debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, selling 181,000 copies in its first week. It would eventually go on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“I was so hard on myself & for a while This was my least favorite until years later I realized the MASTERPIECE @Timbaland & I had created,” she said of Da Real World.
Turning her attention to 2001’s Miss E… So Addictive, Elliott wrote: By this album I felt a small relief & I felt my 2nd album allowed me & @Timbaland to EXPERIMENT with my 3rd album outtaspace sounds since my 2nd album was theatrical with knockin beats.”
She added: “We were open to showing what the FUTURE of music could sound like in our minds.”
As for 2002’s Under Construction, Missy Elliott admitted she and Timbaland initially struggled to decide on a sonic direction given how futuristic and experimental her previous releases were — before looking to the past to chart a path forward.
“This album was challenging because every1 of my albums was so different in sound & cadence Tim and I was scratching our heads on which direction to go next,” she wrote. “so we took our love for old school Hip Hop & breaks beats & Blended with our FUTURE sound & this what came of it.”
Under Construction was a critical and commercial juggernaut, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with over 350,000 copies sold in its first week. The album was nominated for two Grammys, including Album of the Year, while being certified double platinum by the RIAA.
Missy concluded her Twitter thread with 2003’s This Is Not a Test!, which she said came to her naturally because she had become accustomed to creatively pushing her sound alongside Tim.
“This album @Timbaland & I was back to SOUND EXPERIMENTING & we felt a little more free to explore since the other albums success,” she shared. “But each album was a lil pressure except ‘SUPADUPAFLY’ & ‘So Addictive’ but each time we took a risk sonically.”
Needless to say, Missy Elliot has had one of the most impressive runs in Hip Hop. In 2022, the rap legend spent her time being showered in praise by fans and peers alike, with Nicki Minaj saluting Missy’s trailblazing career earlier this year.
“Mumbling & cackling??? nah omg thank you Missy,” Nicki tweeted after being announced as the recipient of this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which was previously won by Missy in 2019. “You kicked down this [door]. Nothing but Love & Respect for your iconic artistry.”
“It’s always gonna be first Missy Elliott. She’s a huge influence of everything I’ve ever done,” he said on the What’s Wright? With Nick Wright podcast in May. “JAY-Z is the best ever to speak. Biggie, obviously. Then I have the whole Goodie Mob. Then I have UGK.”
Missy Elliott has been humble through it all. During her street naming ceremony in her native Portsmouth, Virginia in September, she took a moment to show gratitude to her late grandmother.
“#757 VA my Grandma who passed when I was young always told me to stay PRAYED UP & DREAM BIG,” she wrote on Twitter. “A BlvdTears of JoyI have been BLESSED so much but this right here hits my heart differently. I am so HUMBLY GRATEFUL to be from P-TOWN 2up2down The ENTIRE VA.”