Women in music are often celebrated and fawned over for their chart-topping singles, innovative art, sex appeal and their dominance in pop culture. However, when it comes to women in Hip-Hop, there’s a special kind of amnesia that clouds over the psyche of music critics.
One artist who will never be forgotten is Missy Elliott. Her ability to mix funk, soul, R&B into Hip-Hop has given her the title of one the most original and creative artists in the game. Her contribution to music, dance and fashion has also been seen in today’s pop acts and special exhibitions at New York’s The MET and Brooklyn Museum respectively. Even time away from the mic didn’t stop her from stealing the show from a certain pop starlet during the 2015 Superbowl XLIX Halftime Show.
While her solo debut album Supa Dupa Fly came into fruition back in July 1997, her third platinum LP, Miss E…So Addictive presented her creative flow and undeniable chemistry with Timbaland to the masses on March 14, 2001. Keeping up her formula with Timbo, Missy added new collaborators to the mix such as Charlene Keys (later known as the soulful songbird Tweet,) Ludacris, producers Derryck “Big Tank” Thornton and Nisan Stewart, Ginuwine, Kameela Williams (formerly of 702,) Eve, Jay Z and more.
There were the club jams (“Get Ur Freak On,” “One Minute Man,” “Lick Shots”) as well as ballads (“Take Away”) and even a hidden gospel track (“Higher Ground”) featuring Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary Kim Burrell, Dorinda Clark and Karen Clark-Sheard. Like Missy herself, there were many layers to the LP that made the tracks stand the test of time.
VIBE spoke to some of the collaborators on So Addictive and the lessons they’ve learned from the iconic artist. Check it out below.
Featured Tracks: “So Addictive,” “Take Away (Video Version,) “ Scream…Itchin,” “Old School Joint,” “Step Off”
On working with Missy:
“Wow, Miss E …So Addictive. I was just excited to be a part of it. That was me coming out of a group and working with DeVante Swing. I didn’t know what to expect; I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just happy to be there. I just remember constantly being in the studio everyday to create that project and just totally blown away by all the magic her and Tim were coming up with. Actually, me and some of my band members were there at the time too and we used to have this spot in Westlake Studios called “The Fun Room.” We would take breaks and just go up there and wild out. I remember the fun times and just having so much fun with it while Missy was creating.”
On landing her first deal following So Addictive:
“I wasn’t even expecting to get a record deal out of that trip. When I went out there, she overheard me in “The Fun Room” playing “Motel” and she was like ‘What! You play the guitar? I didn’t know you played the guitar.’ Then she took me to Sylvia Rhone at Elektra and I got a deal. So that whole trip of bringing me out there to work on So Addictive changed my life totally.”
Featured tracks: “Take Away (Album Version)”
On Missy’s creative process:
“It’s one that I’ve never seen before. She works so quick, so fast and so diligently. She goes into this zone but at the same time, she’s a jokester. She loves to have a great time but when it comes to work, all of that shuts down. She comes up with these ideas and it’s like, ‘Girl, you wrote a whole song in 15 minutes!’”
On working with Missy:
“I always thought she was before her time. Even her work with 702 was very innovative or futuristic if you will. To this day, her stuff that came out in the 90’s and in the new millennium still sounds different from anything we’ve heard today. I was around for the whole process of So Addictive and I’m grateful that Missy allowed me to experience that. The fact that I was apart for such an iconic, legendary project will stick with me for the rest of my life. I was there to be a part of the album, but I was also there as a friend and a sister.”
Featured Tracks: “One Minute Man”
On Missy’s colorful aurora:
“A lot of people ask me about all of the artists I’ve worked with and who’s my favorite and for a lot of reasons I would say Missy. Not only is she an innovator for her music and videos, just being in the studio with her, she just likes to celebrate. Everyone is drinking, everyone is celebrating life. She makes people feel really comfortable. As soon as you meet her within minutes, it’s almost like you’re a family member. There’s so much genuine admiration there and you can just feel the love that emanates from her spirit.”
On making “One Minute Man”:
“It was early in my career when I began working with her so of course it was very exciting because I’ve always looked up to her. Being able to do three or four songs with her was amazing. It’s not often that you work with the same artists over and over again but she was one of those people. I think she’s extremely inventive and I would do anything for her.”
What he’s learned from Missy:
“When I was in the studio making “One Minute Man,” I remember Missy was behind the boards and Tweet was doing background vocals. Even though we were all having fun, Missy was still serious. She was all about the fun aspect but still responsible on getting the work done and having it done right. There aren’t too many people that can gel discipline and fun together. She made it fun, but she never lost sight of the music.”
DERRYCK “BIG TANK” THORNTON
Producer Credits: “One Minute Man”
On working with Missy and Timbland:
“For me it was crazy. I had just signed with Timbland. They would set me up in the back room and I’d start making beats. Then ,they would come in and hear them. If she liked something, she would take it and start recording with it. When I did “One Minute Man,” I told them, ‘This record is going to be crazy.’ Timb came to the back and when he heard it, he said, ‘Let her hear this, she’s going to love it.’ So immediately, she heard it and said ‘Put that on a CD for me.’ So I gave it to her and she went up front. To see her creative process was something I’ve never seen before in my life. She was literally balling up papers and getting into her creative vibe. No one was in the room but her. She was in her own zone; no one could mess with it. By the time I got back in there, Timbland had added some stuff to it too. Before I knew it, there were telling me I had a single on the album.”
On Missy’s legacy:
“Missy to me is the best female rapper ever. That’s no disrespect to Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim or anybody, but she’s just so versatile and I think Nicki is the closest thing to her when it comes to creativity. The thing that stands out the most was when Missy didn’t like a song, she would cut a new one to the same beat. You could sit there and as a producer you get a sample and you cut up a beat and if you don’t like it, you move on. As for Missy, she was more patient than that and that takes so much creativity because she was thinking of so many ways to make a song. She would ask sometimes for drums and she would start feeling that out. That’s unheard of. From anyone I’ve ever worked with, from Christina Aguilera down to Rihanna. She just puts out very diverse albums and no one is doing anything like that anymore.”
Producer Credits: Miss E…So Addictive
Featured Tracks: “Whatcha Gon’ Do”
On their musical chemistry: “When we get together it’s magical. [That’s] all I can say. Missy is incredible and has already lead the way musically and visually. I honestly loved [all the tracks.] Sounds typical to say this but it’s true.”
How “Get Ur Freak On” happened by accident: “Yes I was just talking about this last night because I am back in the same studio we did this song at. Felt so good to be back in that spot. We made history there.”