Missy Elliot drops single, prepares fans for comeback

Ben Shooter, Associate Arcade Editor

Rapper and rhythm and blues sensation Missy Elliott, widely known for early 2000s pop hits like Get Ur Freak On and Work It, is generating hype once again. Just recently, Elliott has released some of her first new music since her two singles with Timbaland in 2012 and her album “The Cookbook” in 2005.  

Elliotts musical presence in the late 1990s and early 2000s was a strong one. Her futuristic brand of hip-hop fused pop sounds with strong funk rhythms and helped her stand out among contemporaries like Britney Spears and Janet Jackson. But after her 2008 announcement that she had been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, she allowed her music career to slow down.  

Recently Missy Elliott made some small comebacks, appearing for two widely viewed performances ― first, at the BET Awards in June 2014 and second, at this years Super Bowl Halftime Show, supporting Katy Perry and performing some of her own material. Both performances, and the latter in particular, generated a huge fan reaction ― iTunes noted that the songs Elliott performed experienced a spike in downloads following the halftime show.

Elliott, however, did not take advantage of this leverage right way. The fans were still there, but Elliott was not intent on releasing new material of her own. In February, she appeared on a collaboration with Jack Ü on the remix of their song, Take Ü There, but otherwise she remained silent. The success of her recent performances got the attention of Pharrell Williams, the producer, singer and songwriter known for hits like Happy and his contributions to songs like Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.

Williams approached Elliott with a beat hed created with her in mind and they began collaborating for a future release.  

On Nov. 12, Elliott released her first new single, “WTF (Where They From),” and its accompanying video. The song itself fuses slick, modern production and trap-style drum and bass sounds with Elliotts signature rhythms and grooves, her voice sounding as commanding and energetic as ever. Williams does not limit his role to co-writing, as he contributes a rap verse in which he boasts: “lyrically Im Optimus Prime.” The video is a bright and colorful affair, with scenes of Elliotts dancers and Elliott herself riding a Hover Board, juxtaposed with puppet versions of Pharrell and Elliott “performing” on a city street.

There is much speculation that Elliott will follow this single with a long anticipated seventh album and Elliott has apparently confirmed a larger release this year. The possible album is rumored to be titled “Block Party” and is expected to contain further collaborations with Pharrell and Timbaland.