Can you believe that next year marks 10 whole years since we’ve had a Missy Elliott album?
The woman known as Misdemeanor has always been a trendsetter — something the game is really missing right now. Whether it’s her otherworldy rhymes or underrated harmonies, Missy constantly innovates every time she blesses us with new music.
While we patiently await her next album, let’s count down Missy’s 20 best tracks. This list will only focus on the tracks where she served as lead performer — we’ll look at her catalog of features next time.
For now, let’s relive Missy’s brilliance. There’s no one else like her.
Honorable mention: “Click Clack,” “Take Away,” “Meltdown”
20. “Smooth Chick” (1999)
This party-starter from 1999 should have been a single. Those horns are absolutely vicious.
19. “Funky Fresh Dressed” featuring Ms. Jade (2002)
Missy always showed love to the old school — it permeates throughout her music. This was a great ode to the old and new generations of hip-hop.
18. “Hot” (2002)
Misdemeanor was at her maniacal best here, rattling off bizarre punchlines left and right.
17. “Shake Your Pom Pom” (2008)
I dare you to listen to this track and not move your body. It’s physically impossible.
16. “You Don’t Know,” featuring Lil Mo (1999)
Missy doesn’t showcase her storytelling skills often, but when she does the results are hilarious. Here, she and Lil Mo argue over sleeping with the same guy, while Timbaland stirs the pot. It’s one of my personal faves.
15. “Lick Shots” (2001)
Admittedly, it’s hard to take Missy’s threats of gunplay seriously but it’s all in good fun.
14. “Hit ‘Em Wit Da Hee,” featuring Lil Kim (1997)
I’m talking about the original album version, not the later remix. I REALLY miss Missy’s “hee-hee-hee-hee-how” catchphrase.
13. “I’m Really Hot” (2003)
Not only was this song a banger, it was impossible to take your eyes off the accompanying video. It was a collection of Vine dance videos a decade before Vine existed!
12. “Wake Up,” featuring Jay Z (2002)
Misdemeanor recruits Jay Z to kick the truth to the young black youth. Missy preaches enlightenment over ends — I sure wish hip-hop would listen.
11. “One Minute Man (remix)” featuring Jay Z (2002)
Once again, Missy ain’t afraid to say to the world what ladies only whisper behind closed doors. Jay Z was also at his chauvinistic best/worst here.
10. “Pussycat” (2002)
Oh playa, when this joint dropped in ’02, this was the theme song for every woman I knew. Missy wasn’t afraid to use her sexual prowess to win over her man. Who says women are the weaker sex? Missy had all the power.
9. “She’s a B*tch” (1999)
Missy’s not afraid of the dreaded b-word; in fact, she embraces it.
8. “Gossip Folks,” featuring Ludacris (2002)
Even when Missy’s blasting her detractors, she does it in the most entertaining ways. Her outro rant is the stuff of greatness: “You just mad cuz Payless ran out of plastic pumps for the after party … Yo by the way, go get my album.”
7. “Sock It 2 Me,” featuring Da Brat (1997)
90s hip-hop was known for its heavy use of soul sampling. I never minded it — especially when the results were this good. Missy and Da Brat introduced the classic sounds of the Delfonics to a new generation of fans.
6. “Hot Boyz (remix),” featuring Nas, Eve, Q-Tip and Lil Mo (1999)
The original version of this track was great, but this all-star remix pushed it over the top.
5. “All N My Grill,” featuring Nicole Wray and Big Boi (1999)
This track is everything that’s great about Missy rolled into one package — an unmistakable beat, brazen lyrics paired with alluring vocals and a pavement pounding rap verse.
4. “Beep Me 911,” featuring 702 and Magoo (1997)
It’s amazing that this track is more than 16 years old, yet still sounds more innovative and fresh than anything on the radio. It’s like Alice and Wonderland with the Mad Hatter as the human beatbox.
3. “Work It” (2002)
An amazing beat from maestro Timbaland combined with instantly quotable lines (“Don’t I look like a Halle Berry poster?/See the Belvedere playin’ tricks on ya”) to make this an instant classic. And did anyone ever figure out what those reverse vocals were saying?
2. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)
The single that not only spawned Missy’s storied career, but inspired one of the greatest music videos of all time. Missy’s no Rakim on the mike but no one knows how to ride a beat better.
1. “Get Ur Freak On” (2001)
Yep, No. 1 is no surprise and that’s because this is the quintessential Missy Elliott song. It’s frantic, addictive, mind-bending and an absolute blast.
What did I miss? Name your favorite Missy tracks below.