When Missy Elliott came onto the music scene, hip-hop was enduring change.
The hip-hop world had just come out of a grueling “east coast-vs-west coast” feud that sadly claimed two of the genre’s best MCs. Hip-hop was so damaged by the feud that by the summer of 1997, hip-hop was on the edge of oblivion.
While the genre was trying to repair its tattered image, new MCs stepped up to the forefront to help in the rebuilding effort, and Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott (b. Melissa Arnette Elliott) was one of the MCs who helped get hip-hop back on course.
Before she debuted as a solo artist, she was part of a collaboration called the Swing Mob, which featured future R&B masters Tweet, Ginuwine, and others. It was with the Swing Mob where she would meet the man that would change her career, Timbaland.
After leaving the Swing Mob in 1995, Missy and Timbaland decided to stick together and record music. After appearing on the late-Aaliyah’s 1996 hit LP One in a Million and collaborating on other records, Missy enter the studio to record her own debut.
On July 15, 1997, Supa Dupa Fly hit the store shelves like a nuclear bomb, and the LP was immediately met with grand reviews, and for good reason. Whether you love it or hate it, the Timbaland sound invigorated hip-hop, and Supa Dupa Fly fitted the sound like a glove.
The LP landed four hits on the Billboard charts, the jumpy “The Rain,” the slow shocker “Beep Me 911,” the anthemic “Sock It 2 Me,” and the straight fire “Hit Em’ Wit Da Hee.” The single, and the rest of the LP, perfectly demonstrated the sheer diversity in Missy’s sound. She could go from a straight banger track to a smooth, sensual one with the snap of a finger, which was something that few female MCs, heck, few MCs at all possessed.
That diversity made Supa Dupa Fly that more enjoyable, and for her efforts, the LP was rewarded with a number one showing on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts and went to number three on the Billboard 200.
Oh, and for good measure, it went Platinum as well, a job well done for one the best MCs in hip-hop.