Twenty years ago, Missy Elliott’s sophomore album, Da Real World dropped, two years after the rapper, singer, and songwriter made her solo debut with Supa Dupa Fly.
The album, which was an introduction to Elliott’s raunchier and somber side, featured Elliott’s singles, “She’s a B*tch,” “All N My Grill,” and “Hot Boyz,” and had a myriad of guest appearances from artists including Eminem, Big Boi, Nicole Wray, Redman, Lil Mo, Lady Saw, Lil Kim, the late Aaliyah, Da Brat, Juvenile, B.G., and Beyonce.
On Da Real World (released June 22, 1999), Elliott helped redefine the word b*tch with her single, “She’s a B*tch,” which was initially going to be the title track of the album (which eventually was certified platinum by the RIAA in 2000). The icon and visionary’s second studio album, which was produced by her longtime collaborator and friend, Timbaland sold over a million copies and debuted at no. 10 on the US Billboard 200, becoming Elliott’s second top-ten album in a row.
Da Real World is a small fraction of Elliott’s body of work, the influence of which transcends hip-hop and the United States. It was no surprise that Elliott recently received the prestigious honor of becoming the first woman rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She also received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, back in May.
Beasley Media Group talked to a few women who work in the entertainment industry and have been heavily influenced by the Virginia Beach native alongside one of Elliott’s avid fans (affectionately called a “Supafriend”) to discuss their favorite tracks from Elliott’s 1999 release, Da Real World and how Elliott has overall influenced her fans, peers, and the music industry.
Name: Miz Korona
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Occupation: Rapper and Photographer
Favorite Track From Da Real World: “All N My Grill” and “Hot Boyz”
On Missy Elliott’s Overall Impact: “She’s in a league of her own. There still hasn’t been any artist that came behind her that impacted the visual world in a way that she did and the way that she attacked songwriting. There are some songs that you knew she wrote for other people and there are some songs that you didn’t know she wrote for other people. That’s genius.”
On Missy Elliott’s Style: “Missy is like a good pot of greens that your grandma made. Everybody wants that recipe. You could either eat it with a full course meal or you can eat it by themselves, and you’ll get the same effect. There’s never going to be another Missy Elliott.”
On Why She’s a Missy Elliott Fan: Miz Korona credits Elliott’s “originality” on making her a fan of Elliott.
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Favorite Track From Da Real World: “U Can’t Resist”
Favorite Missy Elliott Song to Spin: “Hot Boyz” and “Lose Control”
On Missy Elliott’s Overall Impact: “In the entertainment business, there’s not always an equal billing when it comes to women, and Missy has been a trailblazer to pave the way for female producers. She’s changed the game since she’s been in the game.”
On Missy Elliott’s Sound: “Missy and Timbaland really created a sound that Virginia was proud of. It’s funky, and like a hip-hop, rock, soul. It makes me you want to dance, move, sing, and do all of the above.”
Fun Missy Elliott Fact: Missy Elliott was one of the first few artists that Vonyetta really heard musically because she wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio as a kid.
Name: Chrissy Elliott
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Occupation: Mental Health Youth Advocate
Favorite Track From Da Real World: “Dangerous Mouths”
On Why “Dangerous Mouths” is His Favorite: ” It’s a hard, dark, and raw track with bars. Missy murders the beat and goes toe to toe with Redman (who kills it too). It’s just a rough track that gets me in the gut.”
On Missy Elliott’s Personal Impact: “I owe a lot to Missy. Her catalog has been a lifeline to me and no music ever gets me in the gut like the music Missy makes. The kids I work with even nicknamed me “Chrissy Elliott” years ago because they know how big a part of my life she is. When I’m discouraged, it’s my fuel. When I’m overwhelmed, it’s my escape. When I’m down, it’s my light. And when I celebrate, it’s always with Missy music. It’s been my therapy through the darkest and brightest days. I owe Missy everything for that.”
Fun Missy Elliott Fact: Chrissy Elliott has a tattoo of Missy Elliott that was designed by digital artist Nez Nash (check it out in the tweet below).
Revisit Da Real World below.