10. MISSY ELLIOTT
By: Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
From the first funky bent notes of her solo introduction “The Rain,” where a garbage bag-clad Missy Elliott declares that she’s “Supa dupa fly,” you knew she was special. Her arrival marked the coming turn of the century: Missy's and Timbaland's dominance was synonymous with the avant-garde production in popular music, new sounds for a new millennium. But of course, her output wasn't limited to her own: She wrote, produced, and sang on some of rap’s and R&B’s biggest releases, and would help craft Aaliyah's whole steez. Shifting boundaries was her second nature: Inching ever left across boundaries until they were obliterated, she brought electro back to hip-hop, put house into R&B, and paid homage to Michael Jackson while producing music in a fashion more like his mentor Quincy Jones. The prolific Miss E will forever be known as one of pop music's most experimental. If it's got next, Missy's already on.
M.I.A., rapper, says:
"Missy changed the way we thought about female musicians. She was refreshing because she was confident in her music. Listening to her music made you feel sexy, but she didn't sell sex in a bikini. And she was the only female producer/rapper/visionary doing that. Obviously, to me the Missy-Timbaland era was the most progressive and positive in terms of what you got out of it. When they made music, it just felt good. It made people happy, and cool shit happened. It didn't seem forced or calculated; it just came from the right place. She is an icon, because there is no one like her. Even now."