Ranking The Cameo: Missy Elliott's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" Music Video

In celebration of her debut studio album's 20th Anniversary, we dissect "The Rain" and rank all of the cameos in the video, from least to most memorable.

Since the mid-'80s, when acts like Run D.M.C. were breaking down barriers that kept rap music videos from appearing on national, mainstream outlets like MTV, releasing a strong visual to complement a song became an important part of an artist's success. As the '90s arrived, artists and directors alike upped the ante and budget, doing away with minimalism. Their intentions were to blow the minds of viewers and help build awareness of the music. Among the artists who took particular pride in pushing the envelope of cinematography was Missy Elliott. She became a vanguard for inventive and futuristic clips, which reflected her personality and proved to be events in and of themselves. While videos for songs like "Get Ur Freak On," "Work It" and "Lose Control" would all be hailed as influential and captivating, Missy's road to being a music video trailblazer began with "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," her debut single as a solo artist.

The Hype Williams-directed video would be unveiled in summer of 1997 and instantly become a hit with viewers, who were equally intrigued as they were entertained by Missy's quirky tendencies. She appeared in a humongous black hefty bag, a bike helmet that doubled as sunglasses, and on a fairytale-like hill while donning a wig. "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" single and music video influenced Supa Dupa Fly's ascent to platinum status and stamped the visual as a '90s pop culture staple. While Missy's performance may have gotten most of the attention, the music video boasted a bevy of guest appearances from some of the most notable hip-hop and R&B artists of that time, making "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" a cultural hallmark.

In celebration of her debut studio album's 20th Anniversary, we dissect "The Rain" and rank all of the cameos in the video, from least to most memorable.

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9. Taj of SWV

Tamara “Taj” Johnson-George, a member of iconic ‘90s R&B trio SWV, is the first guest to appear in the accompanying visual to Missy Elliott’s debut single. While gearing up for the release of SWV’s third studio album, Release Some Tension, Taj, who rocked a black Fubu top and a chain with a pendant and appeared in place of Coko. Although the lead singer was name dropped in the song, she does not appear in the video. Couple that with her cameo being a brief one, and Taj’s placement on this list is self-explanatory.

8. Lil Cease

The Junior M.A.F.I.A. member is one of many faces viewers catch a glimpse of while watching the Hype Williams-directed visual. Appearing alongside his groupmate, Lil Kim, he sports a black tee and durag, keeping it very Brooklyn and adding a little Bed-Stuy flavor to the proceedings.

7. 702

One of two R&B trios to make cameos in “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” is 702, who struck gold with their debut album No Doubt the previous year. The singers can be seen staying true to their around-the-way girl image and exuding an equal mix of sass and beauty. With Missy Elliott having contributed a verse to the Las Vegas natives’ hit single “Steelo,” and appearing in the accompanying music video, 702 repaid the favor with a show of support and became a part of one of the most original music videos of all time.

6. Puffy

One of the most dominant figures in ‘90s rap reached the pinnacle of the music world but endured tragedy when The Notorious B.I.G. – the flagship artist of Bad Boy Records – was gunned down in March 1997 while in Los Angeles. However, Puffy bounced back in a big way with his debut album as an artist, No Way Out, and shook up the music world a week after Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” was released. Having worked with Missy on multiple occasions over the previous two years, Puff appears dressed down in a black leather jacket, white tee, blue jeans, a Pittsburgh Pirates cap and shades.

5. Yo-Yo

West Coast rapper Yo-Yo, most known for her affiliation with Ice Cube and her hit single “You Can’t Play with My Yo-Yo,” makes what is arguably the most memorable cameo of her career in Missy Elliott’s “The Rain” music video. Rocking black athletic gear with white trimming while sporting a few jewels for good measure, the artist was one of three artists pops up in the video twice, first basking in the glory of Missy paying homage in a lyric, then showing off a few dance moves.

4. Da Brat

Prior to Missy and Lil Kim getting their platinum plaques, Da Brat made history as the first female rapper to achieve that feat with her debut album Funkdafied, which touched down in 1994. Riding high off of her gold-selling album, Anuthatantrum, the Chicago area native shows some solidarity while making an appearance on the behalf of So So Def and literally get rowdy, throws a tantrum and rips off her platinum denim jacket. Da Brat’s presence served as a central figure in one of the most unforgettable scenes in Missy’s definitive clip.

3. Lil Kim

Ascending as a rap diva with her seismic debut album, Hard Core, Lil Kim’s reign would carry on into 1997, with singles like “Crush on You” and more keeping her name and face front and center. Scoring another guest feature with her verse on the Supa Dupa Fly album cut “Hit Em Wit Da Hee,” the Queen B***h lends her sex appeal and charisma to “The Rain,” sharing a scene with Cease-A-Leo, before coyly staring at viewers in a white blouse, Chanel suspenders, red leather pants and designer shades.

2. Timbaland

Missy Elliott’s partner from the beginning of her career has been Timothy Mosley, better known as producer Timbaland. The two teamed up and transcended their backyard of Virginia as their sound impacted and influenced the world. Being that “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” which was produced by Timbaland, it was only right that the duos enjoy having the spotlight to themselves and a get a bit of face-time to themselves. From riding in a Hummer with Missy to imitating a plane, Timbo rocks a blue designer jacket, black tee and designer shades, and takes a page from Puffy’s book and is all up in the camera during Hype Williams-directed visual.

1. Total

Of the numerous artists and groups that are seen in Missy Elliott’s music video, the participants that displayed the most flair and personality were Bad Boy R&B group Total, who completely stole the show with their carefree antics. After gaining recognition for their hit single “Can’t You See” and making guest appearances alongside The Notorious B.I.G. and LL Cool J, Kima, Keisha and Pam became one of the hottest R&B acts in the mid-‘90s. With their sensuous, but edgy image in tow, the singers dance around in multiple scenes of Missy's "The Rain" video. In fact, they appear in the most scenes, with the final showing the lower part of Keisha’s face defying the laws of gravity. Thus, making it one hell of a punctuation to a timeless video that is still entertaining to this day.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.

 

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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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In this photo illustration Dollar and Euro notes are displayed, on November 26, 2010 in London, England.
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Money Trees: 10 Tips On Managing Your Finances During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted the lives of millions as self-isolation has become a brief normal. With students and some people working from home, many folks have also seen a vast change in their finances.

The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows increases in claims for jobless benefits for the week of March 14 with California taking the top spot with 58,208 claims, District of Columbia second at 16,120; Washington state third, with 14,846 and North Carolina rounding out the top four at 14,413.

As the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports, Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters the state received 80,000 unemployment applications last week. “We average about 2,000 unemployment insurance claims a day,” Newsom said. “Two days ago or three days, we saw about 40,000 applications. After that 70,000 applications. Yesterday, 80,000 unemployment applications.”

But each state, job, and situation are different. One thing that remains the same is staying ahead of your finances the best way possible. Hailing from a community who barely enjoys money talk, I know how hard it can be to work against the forces that include Sallie Mae, rent, credit cards, and UberEats orders. It's why I indulge in the gift that is The Financial Gym. With a fitness-inspired take on finances, the company works one-on-one with each client to ensure everyone gets to one step closer to financial freedom.

Below are some tips from the gym as well as your favorite hip-hop songs to keep you accountable and financially healthy.

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1. Scale Back On Extra Expenses

Non-essentials like to hide in plain sight. If there is a service you no longer need but still pay for, now is the best time to cut the cord and pad your bank account.

2. Create An Emergency Fund (If You Don't Have One)

According to Finder, the US average of savings accounts in 2019 was $16,420 with the median savings account holding $4,830. It can be very difficult to keep a savings account due to unexpected expenses but it doesn't hurt an emergency fund for rainy days.

“If you think we’re heading into a recession and you want to be extra safe, then you may increase your emergency savings to 8 months or longer,” suggests Shannon McLay, founder of The Financial Gym.

If this isn't realistic, adapt to your salary and build from there.

3. Don't Forget About D.E.B.T

If you have to adjust payments to fit your current situation, do so. The one thing that can harm you, is ignoring a bill. It won't go away until you make it.

Also, check-in with your bank. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, banks have waived fees and other costs. For example, Ally Bank is waiving fees for overdrafts, excessive transactions for savings and money market accounts for 120 days with expedited shipping of checks and debit cards. They've also pledged $3 million to help the communities where their employees live and work, with special hometown locations of Detroit and Charlotte.

4. Have Some Talents? Use Them!

If kids can make millions on YouTube by playing with toys, imagine what you can do simply by funneling your other talents. Create a YouTube channel. Make a blog. Get into photography. Start making clothes. Don't allow fear and panic to reduce your creative spirit. You might even make some money out of the deal.

5. Look Back On Life Goals

If you're planning on taking a big vacation or making a big purchase, put it on hold. “If your life goals are between two and five years, then you may want to think about a more conservative asset allocation, depending on your risk tolerance,” says Shannon. “However, if you’re life goals are beyond five years out, then the best thing you’re going to do is avoid looking at your statements, watching CNBC, and doing anything rash like selling at the wrong time.” Sure her sentiments were for facing a recession but the gospel applies here.

6. Sell Gently Used Items Online

'Tis the season for spring cleaning. While you're at it, you should empty your closet and fill your pockets. From electronics to gently worn shoes, clothes or accessories, feel free to turn your possessions into gems for the next person.

Also a tip from The Financial Gym:

Since you want to avoid conducting pick-up arrangements, you’ll want to sell on a platform where shipping is the standard. A few places to sell your pre-loved items online include, eBay and ThredUP, buy-sell-trade Facebook groups, and Gazelle for electronics. Just make sure your listed price accounts for costs, like platform fees, PayPal fees, and shipping.

7. Purge Your Photo Library...For Cash

We take a lot of photos we never share. Instead of letting them collect digital dust, sell your images of that sunset in Bali or crowd photos from Afrochella to sites like Shutterstock and iStock Photo.

8. Take Online Surveys

Platforms like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie provide cash for your time but don't quit your day job. Taking surveys online requires a lot of time so don't dump it all there.

9. Prepare For The Next "Pandemic"

Nipping the excess now only makes you a stronger financial warrior in the future. In addition to securing your pockets, accountability is a great quality you will likely spread to other aspects of your life.

10. Join The Financial Gym

The Financial Gym is currently offering a 20 percent discount to join. To get started schedule a consultation call here. All their events in NYC and D.C. are currently virtual experiences through the end of March.

Learn more about The Financial Gym here.

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