In 1997, Missy Elliott changed the game with the release of her debut album Supa Dupa Fly. Produced by Timbaland, the album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and remained on the board for 37 weeks. However, its impact on Hip-Hop would be felt forever. Pushing creative boundaries in sound, aesthetics, and theme, the Virginia-bred artist introduced her signature style that continues to inspire many musicians today.
Having already gained acclaim in the music industry as a skilled singer and songwriter, Supa Dupa Fly solidified Missy Elliott as the complete package, proving that she too could be the star. Decades later, the album stands as a certified classic, with or without the RIAA platinum recognition.
“A lot of times, when I need some inspiration now, I listen to it,” Elliott admitted to GRAMMY.com, reflecting on the album’s 25th anniversary. “To be honest, I listen to it because I feel like we were in such a vulnerable place and we didn’t have any kind of expectations, so we just did what felt good to us.”
She added, “In 2022, I’m able to reminisce and enjoy that space,” she adds. “I feel like that a lot of times. There were a lot of big moments in my career — we didn’t come up in the social media world, we didn’t start that way, so a lot of it was just living in the moment. Now, I get a chance to look back and appreciate it and be like, ‘Wow, that was a game-changing time,’ enjoy it and smell the flowers.”
Here, VIBE rounds up key moments that defined Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly era from videos and songs to archival photos and more.