Missy Elliott is one of a kind!
It’s been over two decades since the Virginia native introduced a new sound with her debut album, Supa Dupa Fly, and propelled herself into a lane all her own. The quadruple threat, who's not only a rapper and singer but a gifted songwriter and talented dancer as well, has proven to be one of music’s most creatively daring artists, and when it comes to her catalog of epic music videos, Elliott raised the bar and challenged her peers to step outside the box.
As the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards prepare to honor Elliott with the coveted Video Vanguard Award on Monday, we rounded up 10 of her best music videos. Check them out below!
2002: “Work It”
The lead single off Elliott’s Under Construction LP came through with a bang. "Work It," the vibrant Dave Meyers-directed creation is arguably one of Elliott’s most popular music videos, thanks in part to the sensational choreography (courtesy of Hi-Hat) in the visual. “Work It” took home the Video of the Year trophy at the 2003 VMAs and made a star out of Alyson Stoner, the child dancer who beat out hundreds of hopefuls for what became her breakout moment.
1997: “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
This game-changing music video marked Elliott's first time working with director Hype Williams. The video is mostly shot with a fisheye lens and features Elliott’s iconic black trash bag bodysuit, and cameos from Lil' Kim, Diddy, SWV, Yo-Yo, Timbaland and more. As the lead single off her debut album, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” solidified Elliott as a creative force to be reckoned with, and earned her a VMA nomination for Best Rap Video.
2001: “Get Ur Freak On”
The jungle-themed production was the first music video that Meyers directed for Elliott. As he detailed in a 2016 interview alongside Elliott, the visual for “Get Ur Freak On” was inspired by a book that he once owned called Japanese Underground. The eery, moss-filled music video gave way to an urban underworld and includes Elliott's infamous spitting scene a neck-stretching graphic.
2002: “Gossip Folks”
Class is in session! With help from Ludacris, Elliott took us back to school in the music video for “Gossip Folks,” featuring another appearance from Stoner and other young dancers including a then-unknown Jenna Dewan. The video begins in a crowded school hallway and travels into the cafeteria, detention and the school principal's office. Also featured in the video are mural tributes to the late Aaliyah, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay, along with guest appearances from Eve, Tweet and Trina.
1997: “Sock It 2 Me”
Fans traveled to a new galaxy in Elliott’s space-inspired “Sock It 2 Me” music video. Directed by Williams, the intergalactic visual for the second single off Supa Dupa Fly was inspired by the Japanese video game series Mega Man. The music video goes down on a remote planet complete with Elliott and Lil' Kim sporting bright red spacesuits while going toe-to-toe with space monsters before Da Brat swoops in and saves the day.
2005: “Lose Control”
Elliott reteamed with Meyers for the 2005 "Lose Control" music video featuring Fat Man Scoop and Ciara. The track was the lead single off Elliott's sixth studio album, The Cookbook. The music video opens with Elliott buried in the sand with only her head exposed. In the next scene, Elliott's head floats atop different dancing bodies. The visual also features a luminescent choreography sequence led by a group of dancers in blue hoodies and white gloves behind a pitch-black background.
1997: “Beep Me 911”
It's playtime! Elliott got all dolled up for the “Beep Me 911” music video. Directed by Earle Sebastian, the video shows Elliott as a doll living in a brightly colored dollhouse backed by R&B group 702, a guest verse from rapper Magoo and a bevy of pole-dancing dolls.
1999: “All n My Grill”
Williams took the reins once again, helming another exceptional, albeit simple, music video for Elliott's “All n My Grill” single off her sophomore album, Da Real World. The video kicks off with a New York City traffic jam forcing Elliott to hop from one car to the next. And of course, there’s an epic dance break with Elliott claiming the spotlight in a pink tracksuit while her dancers give Dick Tracy vibes in long yellow coats and black fedoras.
1999: “She’s a B**ch”
As one of the top 20 most-expensive music videos ever made, “She’s a B**ch” is more than just a pricy production. Elliott made a bold statement with both the song's lyrics and the Williams-directed music video, in which she goes bald in metallic makeup and a black rubber trench coat. Electroluminescent lighting coats the mesmerizing visual, which remains ahead of its time, nearly 20 years after its debut.
2015: “WTF (Where They From)”
After taking a seven-year hiatus, Elliott returned to the music landscape with “WTF” featuring Pharrell Williams. The GRAMMY winner teamed up with Meyers yet again for the dance-heavy music video, which opens with a shot in Downtown Los Angeles and wastes zero time jumping right into choreography. But the cutest portion of the video is the tiny marionette versions of Elliott, Williams and the background dancers.