2018 Essence Festival Presented By Coca-Cola - Louisiana Superdome - Day 2
Missy Elliott performs onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented By Coca-Cola - Day 2 at Louisiana Superdome on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Essence

Flipped And Reversed: Missy Elliott's 16 Best Music Videos

When you think about innovative music videos Missy Elliott should come to mind. As one of the most important hip-hop artists of the modern era, the living legend has finally received her roses when it was announced she would be the recipient of the Micheal Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 36th annual MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 26.

Elliott is the first female hip-hop artist to receive the honor and after many online petitions, social media callouts and dissected anecdotes, it’s about time. Before it music videos were funneled daily into spaces like YouTube, social media accounts and streaming platforms, we patiently awaited for videos from Missy on TRL or 106 & Park.

With a mix of magic realism and Afrofuturism, Missy (with help from visionaries Dave Meyers and Hype Williams) created a world we wanted to get lost in. Her visuals to 1997’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” helped set the standard for animated hip-hop music videos that can be seen today with fellow female rappers like Nicki Minaj, Tierra Whack and Doja Cat. There’s also her strong use of choreography in videos like “One Minute Man,” “Gossip Folks” and “Work It” all of which can still pack a dance floor.

But not all of Missy’s visual gems shine in the aughts. Her videos to recent jams like “Where They From (WTF)” and “I’m Better” break her creative glass ceiling.

With that said, the VIBE staff gathered 16 of Missy’s finest videos.

Enjoy the list below. 

___

16. “All N My Grill” ft. Nicole Wray, MC Solaar and Big Boi (1999) 

       Director: Hype Williams

The dramatics in “All N My Grill” almost make you forget Missy is dealing with a f**k boi. Down shots paired with bright threads on Missy and then-protege Nicole Wray give the video a rich cinematic feel. The video isn’t as animated as others on this list, but production by Timbaland makes the song climatic on its own.

In both versions of the video (Big Boi was on the US release, French legend MC Solaar was on the European release), the dancers shine the brightest. With yellow raincoats and hats to match, the dance number provides the right amount of flair for a Missy video. -Desire Thompson

15. Hit 'em Wit Da Hee” (1997) 

       Director: Paul Hunter

In a pinstripe outfit from the hat to the pants to a chainmail costume, Missy turns down the brightness of her clothing and visuals to tell a medieval story full of grey, black and silver tones. Set in a castle, Elliott is both queen and king as she showcases her unique sorcery.

The video is also full of dance sequences including a captivating number as the rain pours down. Showcasing her versatility, Missy diversified her music video palette by taking viewers to a new section of her creative mind. - Camille Augustin

14.  “Hot Boyz” ft. Nas, Eve and Lil Mo (1999) 

         Director: Hype Williams

Right before the year 2000 came to fruition, Missy aimed to round out 1999 with a pyrotechnic show that amplified flames to the rhythm of the beat. The proceedings begin with Nas’ opening verse as Eve and her effortless flow is a masterclass on breath control and captivating wordplay. 

Background dancers keep the ante of the melody on an energetic level, even Missy gets in on the choreography which remained a staple in her music videos. With a swoop of hair over her eye, Missy remained sultry and mysterious for her significant other, taking charge of her iconic short haircuts during that time. Mary J. Blige and Ginuwine also make an appearance as a fiery blaze serves as the backdrop to round out the Hype Williams-directed visual.  -C.A. 

13. “Sock It To Me” ft. Da Brat  (1997) 

       Director: Hype Williams

Throughout Missy Elliott’s canon of visuals, she always made sure to turn up the vibrancy of colors. This was the case for “Sock It 2 Me.” From the cherry red outfits, hair, and even that Mega Man-inspired space suit that many believe paved the way for Gmail's logo. 

Like the otherworldly visual productions for Elliott’s videos, “Sock It 2 Me” landed viewers in a completely different universe as she, Lil’ Kim, and Da Brat escaped menacing robots. Timbaland also makes an appearance, reminiscent of a mad scientist in the lab having cooked up another certified hit. -C.A. 

12. “Beep Me 911” ft. 702 and Magoo (1997)  

       Director: Earle Sebastian 

In the video for her song about questioning the motives of an unfaithful lover, Missy Elliott created a set that looked like a doll-themed club from 2050. Missy leads a cast of collaborators and backup dancers with vibrant, shimmery fashion – a golden dress with a protruding collar behind her neck, a bright orange jumpsuit, a hot pink one-sleeved jacket - and robotic dance moves that perfectly matched Timbaland’s skittery percussion. 

Timbaland and Magoo even join in with shiny suit jackets and oil-slicked hair, and 702 with a trio of pink and black outfits. Missy Elliott’s music always felt like it was from the future, and the video for “Beep Me 911” embodied that forward-thinking spirit. William Ketchum 

11. “Take Away” ft. Ginuwine and Tweet (2001) 

        Director: Dave Meyers 

What makes “Take Away” such a touching video is its dedication to Aaliyah. Released after her passing, many wondered how Missy would pay homage to her close friend and collaborator. Meyers and Elliott kept things light and angelic with koi pond/Fantasy Castle settings as a celestial light traveling throughout each scene, almost a reminder that Baby Girl will always be with them and the world.

“Take Away” was also released a month after 9/11. With Missy being a leader in the “two music videos in one” trope, the transition into “4 My People” is an upbeat tribute to the victims of the terror attack. -D.T. 

10. “One Minute Man” ft. Trina and Ludacris (2001) 

       Director: Dave Meyers 

I was 16 and too young to know the lyrics to “One Minute Man,” so like any normal teen I sang the words when my mother wasn’t around. The frisky track about a man who could only perform for sixty seconds was considered Rated R for the times, but Missy with the help of Meyers made the video for the scandalous single fun. 

Whether it be a headless Missy dancing in the corner, or her sliding across the marble floor with the introduction of the fast-paced “Whatcha Gonna Do,” the video proved to be more stimulating than the one minute some men can offer. (no shade, no tea) All jokes aside, Missy could’ve taken a cliche uber sexual approach, but it’s Missy, when has she ever been cliche or predictable? - Shenequa Golding 

9. “I’m Better” ft. Lamb (2017) 

      Director: Dave Meyers

“I’m Better” marked Missy’s later offerings to the world of music videos, making it well worth the wait. Precision instantly drips from the choreography as her style jumps from red feathers on top of an all-black fit with thigh-high boots to a shimmering opal lip. With her eyes hidden behind her asymmetrical bangs, she never misses a beat. 

Missy didn’t have to boast about how much better she is because the video proves it. Her three outfit changes (!), platinum blonde, turquoise, and black hairstyles, remind us of the uniqueness only she can deliver. Alexis Reese

8. “I’m Really Hot” (2006)

      Director: Dave Meyers

If a martial arts film and hip-hop dance crew had a child, then Missy Elliott’s “I’m Really Hot” music video would be it. Slightly inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 blockbuster film Kill Bill: Volume 1, the Bryan Barber-directed (“Braid My Hair,” “Roses,” “Bia Bia,” “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)”) visual takes us to a Tokyo-esque place where Missy’s squad and a Japanese posse battle it out in the streets. For what? Oh, you know, to end the “gum-bumpin’” and settle who really has the dance cred in the streets. 

As the crews go head-to-head in You Got Served style, the dance break slides into Soho’s “Hot Music” where Missy and her crazy talented background dancers make it clear there’s no dance style they can’t touch. Get into the serious krumpin’, Alyson Stoner cameo, and fightin’, flyin’ ninjas! Man, they don’t make music videos like this no mo’. Christine Imarenezor 

7. “She’s A B***h” (1999) 

     Director: Hype Williams 

Women are often portrayed negatively for taking control of their own lives and images, and Missy was fine with being the bad girl the video for “She’s A B***h.” 

With an ominous black and white backdrop, stormy clouds, and a magnificent presentation of lights, Elliott looks like a femme supervillain from the futuristic Judge Dredd films: a full-length black trenchcoat, a full-body black leather outfit with straps across her torso, and sunglasses that covered virtually her entire face and wrapped around her bald head. 

She then dons a cowgirl outfit in the way that only Missy can, leads multiple choreographed dance numbers in a black mink with her hair laid. Noted as one of the most expensive music videos ever made for a cool $2 million, "She's a B***h" was also revolutionary in nature. For anyone who wanted to call women b***hes, Missy Elliott was willing to take them on with another example of her brilliant vision and versatility. -W.E. 

6. “Gossip Folks” ft. Ludacris (2005)  

     Director: Dave Meyers

Missy took us back to school and the cattiness that comes with it. Rocking a matching dark red and pink Adidas tracksuit with a fly pink hat, she leads the choreography by school lockers, in front of her dancers. 

As they are dressed in classic school uniforms with pressed khaki pants and plaid pleated skirts. Jumping from the typical school scenes, we head to the cafeteria where it really goes down as he samples Frankie Smith’s “Double Dutch Bus.” 
As she briefly transitions while in an untamed classroom, she gets back on pace as Ludacris is met outside dripped in an alligator suit with matching shoes. This catchy yet relatable hit will forever be ingrained in our brains from the choreo to the style. Thank you, Missy.  - A.R. 

5. “Where They From (WTF)” ft. Pharrell Williams (2015) 

     Director: Dave Meyers 

Whew, the comeback.

Missy literally shines in “Where They From (WTF).” Her disco ball fit with diamond-encrusted lips locks us in and we haven’t even gotten to the choreography yet. 

The creative vision behind yet another Dave Meyers visual will make you say “WTF” (What The F**k) as you watch Elliot body choreography, seamlessly switch between outfits, and turn into a puppet. Missy said she was waiting for the right time to release her puppet performance idea with “WTF” being it. Pharrell lives through a puppeteer as he or it glides through his verse. As she is rooted in the up-tempo beats, the fast-hitting hit deserves nothing less than a round of applause. - A.R. 

4. “Get Ur Freak On” (2001)     

     Director: Dave Meyers

There are some who are comfortable in the box, while others work diligently to think outside of it. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott was neither aware of the box or let anyone’s limiting parameters define her, and proof of this can be seen in her star-studded video “Get Ur Freak On.” 

Elliot opted for a gritty underworld with superior fighters trained in hand-to-hand combat as the scene. You could always count on Elliott and Myers to add some special effect, whether it be the way Elliott’s head zig-zags outside of the screen or her hanging from a chandelier with one hand. “Get Ur Freak On” is easily one of Missy’s best. S.G. 

3.  “Work It” (2002) 

     Director: Dave Meyers 

There was a lot going on during the Making The Video episode for “Work It.” Bees were flying around the set, greenscreens were used during multiple takes and there a strong dose of homage to the golden age of hip-hop. Still, it was hard to look away from the TV because I just had to see the finished product of what would be one of the biggest videos of the year. A lot wasn’t explained to the cameras as Missy and Meyers went through each shot and dance number. Halle Berry’s cameo wasn’t mentioned until the very last minute and none of us realized that the chorus’ was actually flipped and reversed. 

But the outcome was beautifully paced and included so many special effects that remain fresh to this day. Watching the “Work It” video in 2019 feels just as new as it did 17 years ago. The single and video might be her biggest crossover, but we knew Missy had so much more to offer. 

2. “Lose Control” ft. Ciara and Fatman Scoop (2005) 

       Director: Dave Meyers

By 2005, Missy Elliott had shown the world she makes memorable, electrifying music and her videos intentionally echo that. So after more than a decade in music, she had nothing to prove to anyone, which left room for her and video director Dave Meyers to have even more fun. 

With an old-western world as the theme, a fleet of dancers accompanied Missy, Ciara and Fatman Scoop in the desert. The high-octane video kept up with the fast pace and energy of the song. Viewers burned calories simply watching Missy head on top of an agile and energetic and dancer, proving once again that Missy doesn’t disappoint.  

1. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997) 

      Director: Hype Williams 

“The Rain” is the piece that started it all for Missy’s legacy as a music video icon. A short-haired Misdemeanor Elliott joined  Hype Williams and his signature fisheye lens to showcase her moves inside of an inflated black garbage bag, her slick dance moves, and an assortment of bright, colorful ensembles. 

The video also had cameos by Timbaland, Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George of SWV, Yo-Yo, Lil' Kim, Total, 702, Da Brat, Lil' Cease and Puff Daddy - a who’s who of black music at the time of its 1997 release. 

“The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” was foundational both for her and for hip-hop as a whole, capturing Missy completely in her element: comical and wacky, but still fly and silky smooth, comfortable in her own skin the whole way through. 

Honorable Mentions 

“Tipi Ti On My Cappi Town” - Pootie Tang ft. Missy Elliott and Prince Paul  (2001) 

Director: Chris Rock/Louis C.K. 

You probably don’t remember the cult classic that is Pootie Tang and that’s totally fine. But the bright and bold creative style in the film was a perfect pairing for Missy as she starred as herself to sing along aside the film’s inaudible hero. Prince Paul and Missy contributed the track “Tipi Ti On My Cappi Town” with the full version hitting the internet in 2013. One can only imagine what a full music video with these two would look like. - D.T. 

“Pass That Dutch” (2003) 

Director: Dave Meyers 

How many hip-hop videos (scratch that… videos periodt) can we say have successfully combined Riverdance/Irish step dance to a Timbaland beat with the concept of canoodling with otherworldly life forms, gettin’ jiggy in a cornfield and Bratz dolls? Only Missy can dream it up and pull it off. 

With her frequent collaborator Dave Meyers, the supernova once again delivers an out-of-this-world visual that completely tramples expectations, and brings us a delightfully weird, yet stand-out moment in video history. Also, let us pour one out in remembrance of Aaliyah, Tupac, Biggie, Big Pun, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and the victims of 9/11, who are memorialized in the beginning of the video with Missy’s song, “Baby Girl Interlude/Intro.” - J’na Jefferson 

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VIBE Vault: 'Dre Day: Andre Harrell' (December 1995 / January 1996)

In the business of music, there's no name with as much resonance as Motown. Former Uptown Entertainment president Andre Harrell—the man responsible for Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, and Heavy D—is taking over the legendary label and promising to bring the noise. But can he fight through the nostalgia and lead Motown into the 21st century? By Anthony DeCurtis. Photographs by Dana Lixenberg

"You know how Jeffrey Katzenberg became Disney? That's what I want to do. Like, how you felt Jeffrey had a passion about Disney—his Mickey Mouse watches, Disney sweatshirt, Disney tie. That's what I'm talking about. I will be at the Motown Cafe. I'll make Motown ties, watch­es, sweatshirts. I intend to make Motown the black Disney," Andre Harrell says with a smile. "You might as well start calling me Walt."

Harrell, 35, is obviously a man with a plan. Good thing, too. He's stepping into one of the most vis­ible jobs in the entertainment industry: president and CEO of Motown Records. "It's always been a dream of mine to head up Motown," he says.

Yet the lofty position confronts Harrell with a critical challenge. Motown has fallen far from what it once was. Aside from the monumental Boyz II Men, Motown has increasingly become a sound­track for nostalgia, much more redolent of the past than the present. It's so hard to say good-bye to yesterday, indeed. Harrell, a product of the hip hop generation, knows his job is to introduce Mo­town—music, television, film, video, animation, and new media—to tomorrow.

A Bronx native, he got his start in the early '8os as half of the rap duo Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (He was Dr. Jekyll.) After moving over to the business side of the business, he hooked up with rap mogul Russell Simmons and soon landed a top spot at Simmons's company, Rush Communications, where he worked with the likes of Run-D.M.C., L.L. Cool J, and Whodini.

Harrell stepped out on his own in 1986, when he launched his own label, Uptown Entertain­ment, as part of a joint venture with MCA. At Uptown, Harrell defined a contemporary R&B sound for the hip hop age, bringing the world Guy, Heavy D, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Al B. Sure!, Father MC, and most recently, Soul for Real (with whom he had his first No. 1 pop hit, "Candy Rain"). He produced the 1991 film Strictly Business, and he coproduces the hit Fox series New York Undercover.

Successful as the artists on his label proved to be, Harrell has felt constrained in his efforts to make them pop superstars, both by his arrange­ment with Uptown's parent company, MCA, and by the troubling racial politics of the music busi­ness in general. Moving to Motown, which is now based in Los Angeles and owned by PolyGram, presents Harrell with the opportunity to put at least some of these issues behind him. At Motown, Harrell says, he'll have more people, more prerogative, more punch.

Seated on a couch in the living room of his Upper West Side New York apartment, dressed simply in a black shirt and white slacks, Harrell focused squarely through his blue shades on what must be done. A framed photo of a serious-looking Harrell arm-in-arm with Mickey Mouse sat on an end table.

Clearly a man who enjoys control, Harrell was soft-spoken and intent. He didn't want to be mis­understood. "Am I correct?" he would ask. "Do you follow me?" He leaned forward, and his voice rose with passion as he discussed his frustrations with MCA. Otherwise, he slipped back into the pil­lows of his sofa and spoke as if he was envisioning his future life in a dream.

Harrell knows he has as much on the line as Motown, if not more. All eyes will be on him. It's one thing to say you would've done something if only you'd gotten the chance. It's quite another to get the chance and have to do it.

"Every record has gotta be right," he said. "I'm trying to sign stars. I'm not gonna have wack-juice on me. Never did, never will."

What has Motown meant to you over the years? When was the first time you knew what it was?

The first true Motown experience I had was when the Jackson 5 were on the Ed Sullivan Show. I think it might've been, like, 1969, '70. They sang "Stand!" and "I Want You Back." I had never seen a black teenager on television—it was incredible. After that, I realized who the Motown artists were. My parents listened to them: the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, the Four Tops, the Temptations.

What did the company represent for you?

Motown has always been the epitome of black excellence and artistry. Stevie sang about love in the most sensitive way, as well as telling about the plight of his people. Marvin sang about the plight of his people and his internal fight, but he sang about love in a very sexy way. They were major influences.

Speaking of Stevie Wonder, he made a strong album last year and nothing happened with it. Can Motown sell a Stevie Wonder record in this day and age?

The Four Tops, the Temps, and, especially, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross—these are national trea­sures. You have to treat them like events. Stevie Wonder, he's someone I would do an Unplugged with. Or a couple of years ago, it was Stevie's 3oth anniversary in show business. You could have got­ten Stevie Wonder a television special. We could have had artists pay tribute to him—pop artists, rock artists, R&B artists, rap artists, everybody could have participated. And there's probably no other female, black or white, who's as fabulous as Diana Ross, who epitomizes the glamour and excitement of a star diva.

What about new directions? What makes Motown happen in the '9os?

Motown has to become the lifestyle label for the times that the active record-buying audience—the audience who's 15 to 3o—is living in. One of the ways you do this is by putting out records that are in the groove that that audience is living in. Like if Mary J. Blige was a Motown artist, Motown would have some of her imaging on it. It's that young, hip hop—soul, Generation X energy. Same thing if Jodeci was on the label. Back in the day, Motown talked to everybody in the ghetto—and it talked to the rest of the world too.

"WHEN YOU THINK OF MOTOWN NOW, YOU'RE GONNA THINK OF ANDRE HARRELL. I'M NOT GONNA WORK FOR MOTOWN, I'M GONNA BE MOTOWN."

That sounds like the philosophy you espoused at Uptown.

The thing that [Motown founder] Berry Gordy led the way with is the idea that the label head becomes the image of the label. Myself, I allowed whatever celebri­ty occurred in my career to happen through the artists. I was so consistent with the kinds of artists who were on my label, after a while, it was, like, "Who's behind all this?" I was behind it.

Going into Motown, my plan is this: When you think of Motown now, you're gonna think of Andre Harrell. I'm not gonna work for Motown, I'm gonna be Motown—in the way I dress, the records I put out, the causes I choose to get involved in, the artists from the past, the artists who are there now, and the artists in the future. Like I lived Uptown Records, I'm gonna live Motown Records.

But you, Russell Simmons, Sean ."Puffy" Combs—and Berry Gordy before you—are entrepreneurs. You're identified with the companies you founded. With this, you're stepping into something—

—that's already existing. I'm gonna be Motown for this generation of young-adult record buyers. Motown was the blueprint. Berry Gordy was the blueprint for what I became.

Were you conflicted about leaving Uptown?

I had tremendous conflict. It was like I was walking away from my works of art. There will never be another Mary J. Blige—it's rare to find a queen. There will nev­er be another Jodeci. There'll never be another Heavy D. But I have to go, because Motown gives me the power I need to go to the next level. I have to make African-American superstars. At Uptown, I was able to make black icons, but they were icons only to black people.

[I was] trying to grow Uptown, to have indepen­dence, to be able to say, "This act is getting ready to be a worldwide star, and I'm gonna take all my resources, and we're gonna march to this one beat." I was trying to do that for nine years. Between me and the corpora­tion, I could never get it to happen.

In terms of support from MCA?

I think MCA, after a period, wanted some of these things to happen. For whatever reasons, though, the execution between the two sides never worked. The biggest record I ever had was Jodeci's [1991] Forever My Lady—3 million.

When [Arista president] Clive Davis got in the game, I felt myself shrinking. Once he got in business with LaFace [L.A. Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds] and [Dallas Austin's] Rowdy Records and Puffy [Bad Boy Entertainment], Davis's commitment and his exe­cution were taking those artists where I wanted my artists to go. I wanted Mary J. Blige to sell the 7 million that Toni Braxton did.

Jodeci came to me because I had Al B. Sure! So they figured, "He knows how to do this. We wanna be down with him." They drove 13 hours, sat in my lobby for eight hours just to meet me. Now, I feel like, with Arista being involved with LaFace and the other labels, they sold 7 million Toni Braxtons. They sold 6 million TLCs. I'm, like, if I can't sell these kinds of records, I'm gonna slowly shrink. I was catching heat from my artists, who wanted that kind of stature. I would bring that frustra­tion to MCA, and we couldn't seem to come to terms.

Was the idea, "Well, Andre's doing fine. He's doing a cou­ple of million here, a couple of million there. He's covered. Were gonna invest somewhere else"?

I felt like a figurehead. I had all this energy around me—like, I was the Man. I was the founder and chairman of Uptown Records, a major, culturally influen­tial entertainment company for African-Americans in the '9os. But I didn't feel like the Man, because I could­n't put my finger on the button that would really make it happen. I don't want to be in that position anymore. I need to have more control. I need to be responsible for the big picture. And being at Motown positions me to create a truly black pop company. I got a film divi­sion, a television division. I got green-light power for small movies. I don't have to ask anybody.

What are your plans with Gordy?

We're gonna do a series of commercials—print and television. He endorses me. We spoke yesterday for about an hour, and he said, "Any advice I can give you about where we go from here, feel free to call me." We're gonna spend time together and talk about his history with the elder stars. I feel as if I've had a tremendous amount of experience working with stars' drama and ego, but we're talking a whole 'nother level of stars. I've never built a superstar. There're superstars at this house.

How do you build superstars?

If black stars are gonna have a shot at becoming pop stars, it's gonna be because the chairman of the company is committed to them—and because their music is his personal taste. That's what I'm bringing to black music, to black musical stars. Not just their art form but their plight as African-American men and women.

What you're describing is a role that black executives play, but aren't they often frustrated in their attempts to rise at most record companies? 

I can't talk about it enough, how few black execu­tives get to control their playing field. Black music is becoming the music of the popular culture. Because of that, companies are repositioning their priorities and trying to get in the game. But as black music becomes more important, there should be more black presidents and black chairmen. As soon as the black executive's artist reaches platinum, suddenly the artist and man­ager have to deal with the president of the corporation, because he controls the priorities at pop radio. The black executive becomes obsolete. As his music gets bigger his power diminishes. He's more or less told, "Go find the next act and establish it."

It's an emphasis on the creative—

—as opposed to the business. That's why young black executives don't get to become the old chairmen—the wise men who've seen it and done it. They get to stay hot black executives so long as their instincts are hot. But this is a lifestyle business—only a few of us, black or white, are going to be cool enough to have great in­stincts our whole career.

The black executive is not given the opportunity to become the business and the music. Why not? Why shouldn't he be the one that everybody reports to? When you get an act that sells 5 million—at a major compa­ny—the black executive's out of the room. But when there's some sort of problem, the major label looks at the black executive: "Why can't you handle this act?" When the artist hires a violent manager and the violent manager is coming up to the record company, the label's, like, "How did it get to this?" How? Because they [the white executives] couldn't see it coming. Because they re not sensitive to his issues. By then the relation­ship between the record company and the artist is dys­functional. And then the black executive gets blamed and fired. But they created the monster.

When I had the artist, I talked to his mother, his girl­friend, his babies' mother with the two children, dealt with his drug counselor, and whatever other dysfunc­tional Generation X problems he has. He'd call me late at night.

But he feels like they're just businesspeople. And they don't understand. And they might be racist. He's comin' with all that energy. Even if they like him as a person, he still has goo years of issues he has to get over to accept them. And they have a lot of work to do to gain his trust and respect.

So what are your immediate plans?

I will be moving to Beverly Hills. I'll have a house out there for a 12-to-18-month period, and I'll be bicoastal between the New York and L.A. offices. Then I'm moving the company to New York. I'm going to have a satellite office in Atlanta—A&R-oriented. I'm going to build a recording studio in New York, Motown Studios.

Any new musical directions?

The sound I'm going for now is soul. I'm looking for voices that sound like 400 years of slavery and then some. I'm looking for that inspirational, take-us-out­-of-our-plight, Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Al Green voice. I'm looking to build those kinds of stars now.

What about the younger acts on Motown? Have you met with Boyz II Men?

No. Those meetings will come after I execute the deal. Boyz II Men are the biggest group I've ever seen. I don't know what I'm bringing to the party except to keep them from goin' crazy from the level of success they've had. They probably need a break, a little time out to lead their personal lives. Outside of that, that for­mula is working. Queen Latifah, I'd like to bring her record sales up to match her celebrity. Zhané I'd like to give a little bit more image. I'm gonna bring Johnny Gill back—he had a fabulous first album. And I'm excit­ed about working with Michael Bivins. He's tremen­dously talented, and if he and I get together, we can real­ly do some important things.

Are you apprehensive?

I got a lot of work to do. But no problems. Making hits is not a problem. I'll be making some noise real quick. And I ain't gonna stop makin' noise until I'm done.

-

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 1995 - Jan. 1996 issue of VIBE Magazine | Written by Anthony DeCurtis | Header Photography by Dana Lixenberg

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DJ Khaled attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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DJ Khaled Cuts Off Twerker On Instagram Live, Inspires "Talk To Me Normal" Remix

Like the saying goes: when you give an inch, they take a mile. DJ Khaled learned that lesson over the weekend after he had to cut off a twerking follower on his Instagram Live session.

The producer and recording artist hopped on his social media account on Sunday (May 3) to chat with his fans and followers. To make the moment more engaging and interactive, Khaled opened up his request lines for one-on-one chats and chose a couple of lucky followers. What he didn't realize was that one request would be from a woman ready to twerk on camera, Quarantine Radio style.

"Oh, sh*t, oh, sh*t," he said aloud with his hands up in the air once he realized what was about to go down. "No, no, don't do that. No, it's all love but you know what I'm saying? I've got a family and everything. I've got love," he stressed to the giggling blonde before she proceeded to pour water on her derrière.

 

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I have love for everyone please take it easy when I’m on fan luv ig luv . Again I have love for everyone please lets be respectful nothing but love BLESS UP !

A post shared by DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) on May 3, 2020 at 4:25pm PDT

"Just talk to me normal, talk to me normal," he requested as he covered his eyes from seeing what she was doing. But did she care to oblige? Nope, because 45 seconds of fame and "we live baby!" Khaled gave up on pleading and closed out the chat repeating, "I can't, I can't."

Shortly after, Khaled posted the incident on his Instagram account with the caption, "I have love for everyone please take it easy when I’m on fan luv ig luv. Again I have love for everyone please lets be respectful nothing but love BLESS UP!"

And like clockwork, the video made its rounds and inspired one producer to create a remix, because, that's what we do when we need another level of comic relief. Much like Brooklyn's own DJ iMarkkeyz, who gained momentum on Billboard's charts for his remix of Cardi B's coronavirus rant, producer DJ Suede posted a remix of the moment and it brought more laughs to probably one of DJ Khaled's most stressful moments.

Hear it down below. You're welcome.

 

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#IGotAFamily #IGotLove 🕺🏾💎#RemixgodSuede #AnotherOne @therealcocoabrown #Diamonds @sophiajamesxo

A post shared by Dj Suede (@remixgodsuede) on May 3, 2020 at 9:48pm PDT

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Will Smith Hosts Virtual Reunion With ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Cast

Ahead of the official 30-year anniversary of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s debut, Will Smith hosted a virtual reunion with his cast members for the latest episode of his Snapchat show, Will From Home. Tatyana Ali, Alfonso Ribiero, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Daphne Maxwell Reid reunited with Smith via the video conferencing app, Zoom.

“Reunited and it feels so good,” Smith wrote on Instagram on Wednesday (April 29). “It’s been 30 years since the first season of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ so I thought we should have ourselves a lil Zoom reunion!! Check us out.”

Smith posted a snippet from the Zoom reunion that showcases the special bond between the Fresh Prince cast. The crew also sent well wishes to Jeff, who recently recovered from coronavirus.

“Jeff you had us all scared,” says Ribiero.

“Not as scared as I was,” Jeff responds. “It was a little rough but I’m definitely happy to be on the other side.”

Marcell, who played the family butler “Geoffrey” on the series, appears to be enjoying life under quarantine. “There’s something amazing about house arrest,” he quips.

“This is probably not your first time [on house arrest],” Smith jokingly replies.

Loosely based on the life of show producer Benny Medina, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air premiered on September 10, 1990. The sitcom aired for six seasons before ending its run in May 1996.

Watch a clip from the reunion below.

 

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Reunited and it feels so… AHHHHHH! It’s been 30 years since the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air so I thought we should have ourselves a lil Zoom reunion!! Check us out, link in bio. #WillFromHome

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Apr 29, 2020 at 10:50am PDT

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