This upcoming year Missy-fans will finally get some new music, and hopes are up for a new album release. The Queen of Hip-Hop hasn’t released a studio album since 2005’s ‘The Cookbook’ (known for ‘Lose Control’ with Ciara and Fatman Scoop). She did however put out songs and singles throughout the years. Tracks here and there, sometimes as a feature, like in ‘How Ya Doin’?’ (2013) with Little Mix, or ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ (2012) with J. Cole. This year 2019, however, will be the big comeback for Missy Elliott. Some snippets of upcoming music were teased on her Instagram since October 2018, and also some studio session pictures and videos with longtime contributor and childhood friend Timbaland, who already produced her hits ‘Get Ur Freak On’ and ‘Work It’, among many others.
A follow up to ‘The Cookbook’ was already planned around 2008, when Missy Elliott released soundtrack singles ‘Ching-A-Ling’ and ‘Shake Your Pom Pom’ for the soundtrack of the film ‘Step Up 2: The Streets’. Both songs were planned to appear in Missy’s planned studio album, while fans were asked via her website to come up with suggestions of an album title. The idea of a fan-title was apparently scratched later, and the name ‘Block Party’ was adopted. That same year, Missy released ‘Best, Best’, a spacy hip-hop song planned to be the lead single of ‘Block Party’. Produced by Danja, who is notable for his work with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado (‘Promiscuous‘, ‘Say It Right‘), P!nk (‘Sober‘), Britney Spears (‘Gimme More’, ‘Break the Ice’), Keri Hilson (‘Knock You Down’ ft. Kanye West, Ne-Yo), among many others. Plans for ‘Best, Best’ however were eventually scrapped and was put out as a promotional single instead. As no news was coming in anymore, it seemed as the whole project was on hold.
Not only was there no album, but towards the ending of the 2000s, things got quiet around Missy Elliott. In 2011 she told People magazine that she suffered from a hyperthyroidism disorder called Graves’ Disease and was getting treatment. Therefore, she decided to take a step back from music and instead focused on her health. After slowly but surely recovering from her illness, she surprisingly dropped two songs on Youtube in 2012 in collaboration with Timbaland, ‘9th Inning’ and ‘Triple Threat’, allegedly to test the waters. In the meantime, Missy continued as feature artist and being a songwriter as well, in between getting a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song for ‘Without Me’ with Fantasia and Kelly Rowland, in 2014.
Her rapping was still present now and then, but not as fired up as in her earlier years. Then in 2015, Missy’s surprise act during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl performance changed the dynamic: In fire space, she rapped a medley of ‘Get Ur Freak On’, ‘Work It’ and ‘Lose Control’. The new generation of teens asked themselves ‘who is this great new rapper?’. Older generations, on the other hand, were stunned to have her back. While her tracks came back in the charts after her Super Bowl act, Missy was overwhelmed by the positive feedback, reminded of how much she was missed, and later that year came back with ‘WTF (Where They From)’.
The crazy dance video, with Pharrell Williams and her as marionettes, has been seen as the return of ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott, releasing promotional single ‘Pep Rally’ for the next Super Bowl in 2016 right after. Another flashy video ‘I’m Better’ (feat. Lamb) followed in 2017, but still no talks of future releases or a possible album.
While many speculated ‘WTF’ was supposed to be the lead single of the much delayed and postponed ‘Block Party’, the album was still not in sight. She instead teamed up with Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe and Zendaya for single ‘This Is For My Girls’, a song for a Michelle Obama campaign to promote the former First Lady’s third world educational initiative ‘Let Girls Learn’. The song was later sung by Missy Elliott in James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Michelle Obama.
While many fans copy her dance moves, or creating new choreography on social media with her several of her classic hits, the performance of Mary Halsey rapping ‘Work It’ holding a horn in her hand, proclaiming herself as ‘Missy’s funky white sister’ became a viral hit in 2018, where Missy performed with her at the Ellen Degeneres Show where Ellen reminded Missy to come more often. Then, in October of last year, she surprisingly put out snippets of upcoming songs: ‘High’, ‘Cool Off’, and ‘Throw It Back’ are three of the confirmed tracks of a possible album or future project. When fans asked on Instagram for the full versions, Missy admitted that her record company advised a release date in 2019 instead of 2018 due to the massive music traffic of last year. Back in October she also admitted having doubts to come out with new releases as she felt the music scene changed: “For so long I was hesitant to put out music in fear no 1 would get it because people said music has changed & my sound being so different but NOW IM LIKE hey bump it make music that feels good to me. Let me Get y’all asses dancing again.”
The new songs range from dance to R&B, and sound fresh but still typical Missy from her high days of the early 2000s. When exactly the song’s full versions will be released is unknown, but as several tracks were presented there is a possibility to finally have a release date of the long-awaited 7th studio album, the first in 14 years.
Maybe some of her singles she dropped in between the album gap, like ‘WTF’ or ‘Best, Best’, will be included on the new album. If ‘Block Party’ will still be the official name is also unclear, but excitement stays as people root for Missy after more than a decade, and probably will continue to root in the years that will come, with or without new music.
You can listen to the snippet ‘Cool Off’ here:
Most recently, Missy Elliott was inducted into the 2019 Song Writers Hall of Fame. You can read the story on songhall.org