Missy Elliott 'Supa Dupa Fly' Missy Elliott 'Supa Dupa Fly'

What Millennials Should Know About... Missy Elliott's 'Supa Dupa Fly'

VIBE spotlights some of music's most essential timepieces for Gen Y to get hip to

Supa Dupa Fly (1997)

Most Slept On:
-"Friendly Skies" (featuring Ginuwine)
For the first half of the album, Missy delivers her trademark kinetic, rapid-fire lyrics and in-your-face bravado. But midway through, she drops a full-on ballad, a duet with singer Ginuwine. In general, her singing abilities are often an overthought when discussing this album—but it’s one of her greatest strengths as an artist. The lyrics here are forgettable. (She’s comparing sex to a plane ride—turbulence, buckle up, yada yada yada). But the vocal arrangements and harmonies are flawless. Although she’s always lent her singing voice to hooks, for herself and others, sometimes it’s forgotten that she doesn’t just sing, she sangs too.

Also Most Slept On:
-Timbaland’s production
There was a time when artists would stick with a single producer for an entire album. Doesn’t happen much these days. But in the ‘90s, Missy and Timbaland were so in sync that they were essentially a duo. Timbaland produced this album from start to finish; not a single outside producer is credited on any song. This lent a cohesiveness that today’s music seldom has, making this album as much a success for Timbaland as it was for Missy. Later, Missy began to branch out and use other producers and the result was… noticeable.

Lines Best For Status Updates:
-“My hormones jumping like a disco/ I be poppin’ mess like some Crisco” (“Sock It To Me”)
-“Beep beep, Who got the keys to the Jeep?” (“The Rain”)
-“Your worst mistake/ Is to try to duplicate anything Timbaland make” (“Pass Da Blunt”)
-“Lord have mercy on all these groupies/sorry cutie/why you go and shake your bootie?” (“I’m Talking”)
-“You might chastise/but you can’t stop my enterprise” (“Gettaway”)
-“I hurt like cold souls/My style polishes like nails and toes.” (“I’m Talking”)

Bet You Didn’t Know: Missy strongly resisted doing a solo album. She’d formed a group in high school, eventually got a record deal, recorded a complete album—and it was never released. She was so traumatized by the whole experience that she vowed to only write and produce for other artists. (In 1995, she and Timbaland wrote and produced almost the entirety of Aaliyah’s double-platinum album, One In A Million.) It was Sylvia Rhone, the head of Elektra Records, who insisted that she release a solo album. Missy said no—she just wanted a label imprint so she could sign artists. Rhone said she’d give her a label deal—but the first release would have to be her own solo album. Missy gave in and began recording Supa Dupa Fly.

Bet You (Also) Didn’t Know: Although Lauryn Hill is largely credited for ushering in the concept of an all-in-one solo artist who sings, raps, writes and produces, Missy Elliot actually beat her to the punch, releasing her debut nearly a year earlier. Missy’s album wouldn’t have the crossover, Grammy-winning success of Lauryn Hill’s debut, but she pre-dates Lauryn’s takeover.

Synopsis: Every so often, an artist will make the music industry do a collective double take with a single line. For us old folks, it happened when Busta Rhymes barked rawr rawr like a dungeon dragon on 1992’s "Scenario. The entire hip-hop generation knew in that moment that Busta was here to stay, (and indeed, he appears on the intro to Supa Dupa Fly).

Back in 1996, Missy did the same thing when she dropped a verse on a song called “The Things That You Do”. Out of nowhere, she spits out: "Hee-hee-hee haw/Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-haw." It was a random, non-sensical adlib. But her delivery and originality made us sit up and take notice.

Missy’s entire contribution to hip-hop is often underrated; you’ll most likely find her relegated to the list of the best *female* rappers. In part, it’s because she sings and because her style was heavily visual. (The trash bag suit she wore in her first video brought her as much notoriety as the hit song itself, not to mention her finger waves and dancing.)

But a deep listen to her debut, which holds up well nearly two decades later, cements Missy’s place as one of the few artists (of either gender) to completely change the musical landscape forever. Not bad for a chick from Virginia who got her start writing for a six-year-old rapper named Raven-Symone.

Aliya S. King's is the author of two novels and three non-fiction books, including the New York Times Bestseller, Keep The Faith, with recording artist Faith Evans. She had written for VIBE since 1998. Find her at aliyasking.com and @aliyasking. You can also cop Missy Elliott's debut album on iTunes here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein (R) enters New York City Criminal Court on February 24, 2020 in New York City.
Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein To Be Sentenced In March Following Guilty Rape Conviction

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on Monday (Feb. 24) of rape and a felony sex crime with his sentencing arriving next month. According to the New York Times, the 67-year-old was also acquitted of two additional charges of predatory sexual assault.

As the jury found Weinstein guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, he reportedly looked ahead in an "unmoved" fashion. While over 80 women have accused Weinstein of assault spanning decades, the case focused on the testimonies of six women which included Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young. Four of the cases were reportedly too old to prosecute due to New York's statute of limitations but they did help illustrate Weinstein's disturbing pattern of sexual abuse toward young actresses and models.

Weinstein and the women who spoke up against him catapulted the Time's Up Foundation and Me Too movements. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the Time's Up Foundation, called the guilty verdict a new era of justice.

“This trial -- and the jury’s decision today -- marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work," Tchen said. "We owe a debt of gratitude to Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young and all the Silence Breakers for their bravery and resolve as they faced this man in court. We continue to believe them -- all of them -- and continue to be in solidarity with them."

The movement transcended industries with sexual assault survivors speaking out against sexual harassment in the workplace. Dating back to 2015, many attempted to get the work out about Weinstein but were met with blocks from those aligned with the movie producer or outlets like NBC simply not ready to publish the accounts of assault.

It wasn't until Rowan Farrow's reporting of Weinstein in 2017 that propelled many actresses to also share their encounters with the producer. With accounts from former actress Rose McGowan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek, the incidents kicked off a domino effect against Weinstein.

Weinstein will be sentenced on March 11. He also faces more charges in Los Angeles related to two cases of sexual assault from Feb. 2013. If convicted of those charges, he can face up to 28 years in prison.

Continue Reading
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

"A Celebration Of Life For Kobe And Gianna Bryant" Takes Place At Staples Center

On Monday (Feb. 24), a public memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The ceremony honors their lives weeks after a devastating helicopter crash occurred on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California, that also took the lives of seven other people aboard the aircraft. According to The Washington Post, nearly 20,000 people are slated to attend the service. Ticket sales will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

The basketball legend's wife and mother of his children, Vanessa Bryant, previously posted a message to her angels on Instagram and said the family will take things one day at a time. "I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved," she wrote. "We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I'm not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it's impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way."


View this post on Instagram


My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on Jan 29, 2020 at 4:59pm PST


View this post on Instagram


To my forever Valentine, I love you so much. Missing you so much on your favorite holiday. Te amo per sempre. Kisses to you and Gigi in heaven. Happy Valentine’s Day, my babies. With all my love, your boo-boo. ❤️song: Tell Him @mslaurynhill

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on Feb 14, 2020 at 1:43pm PST


View this post on Instagram


#2, #24, #20 years as a Laker and the amount of years Kob and I were together ❤️❤️💜💛

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on Feb 7, 2020 at 9:49am PST

Stream the service below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Katherine Johnson, Famed NASA Mathematician, Dies At 101

On Monday morning (Feb. 24), news surfaced of famed mathematician Katherine Johnson's passing at age 101. The pioneer in science and math was memorialized by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where she worked in 1953 before retiring in 1986.

"We're saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson," the statement reads. "Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers."

We're saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson. Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers: https://t.co/Tl3tsHAfYB pic.twitter.com/dGiGmEVvAW

— NASA (@NASA) February 24, 2020

Throughout her tenure at NASA, Johnson worked on equations and solutions to aid in successful flight missions. It wasn't until 1962 that her skills placed her in an upper echelon of mathematicians for her work during astronaut John Glenn's orbital mission. The moment was depicted in a book authored by Margot Lee Shetterly titled Hidden Figures. In 2017, a film of the same name was created and broke records for its real-life storytelling.

In an interview with The Guardian, actress Taraji P. Henson who portrayed Johnson onscreen, said upon meeting the legendary figure, she realized how much they had in common. “When I met [Johnson], the way she talked about maths, the way her eyes lit up, that’s how I feel about acting," she said. "I understand her passion; you can replace that with anything.”

Cemented alongside her other achievements, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2015.

Continue Reading

Top Stories