15 Missy Elliott Videos That Prove She’s a Creative Genius
July 15, 2018, will mark 21 years since Missy Elliott switched gears from being behind the scenes as a writer and producer to jumping in front of the spotlight as an artist with her debut album Supa Dupa Fly.
Right away, her star quality was evident, thanks to her classic '80s and early '90s rap style, and her mind-blowing videos. She came with a level of creativity that left her contemporaries in awe and garnered her worldwide success with five platinum albums and one gold, proving that originality always wins.
Thanks to her amazing, out of the box music videos, Missy became a trendsetter, with fans copying everything from her hairstyles to her wardrobe, her inventive choreography, and more.
To celebrate Ms. Elliott, we chose 15 of her classic music videos that prove she's a creative genius.
Pairing the straight-forward with the abstract isn't easy, but by 2001 Missy was a master at it. Teaming up with acclaimed music video director Dave Myers, Missy combined the best of both worlds perfectly in the visual for "One Minute Man."
It starts off with the rapper's signature herky-jerky choreography, followed by that memorable scene where she detaches her head from her body and keeps rapping.
There's also that incredibly dope part that shows Missy in a dojo dressed in yellow, dancing and hovering around the room looking cool.
Using this song as a sex anthem for women, Missy used a lot of sexual innuendos but also used this video to promote safe sex.
Dressed in classic B-girl attire, Missy took fans back to high school in this classic video. Sampling the 1981 song "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith, Missy blended old and new school choreography flawlessly while addressing rumors about her sexuality, weight loss and more.
Things get more creative by the middle of the video when everything turns into muted colors of orange and greens, while Ms. Jade is given the spotlight to spit a verse.
While the clip may not have some of the nifty camera tricks or visual effects like some of Missy's other videos, the creativity, and the overall fun vibes come off superbly.
Right away, Missy and Dave Meyers thrust you into a world filled with martial arts, pale mannequin-like figures, and cascading water.
Giving Alice in Wonderland vibes, at one point of watching the video, you can't tell if what you're viewing is real or drawn in.
Pay attention to the one minute mark of the video to see for yourself.
Then, of course, there's that part where Missy walks through a room of zombies that are hang upside down. And who can forget the scene that shows her neck stretch several feet from her body as she asks "Is that your chick?"
A swarm of bumblebees, a desolate playground in the middle of a spooky looking desert and Missy being dragged thru the dirt.
That's how her video for "Work It" begins, and from there things only get more interesting.
She then heads to a salon filled with a bunch of beautiful, afro rocking hairstylists, who all dance and blow-dry at the same time.
The talented southerner took her act inside of a dollhouse for this one and rocked several bold, eye-catching outfits that only enhanced the overall visuals. Featuring Magoo and 702, "Beep Me 911" might be one of Missy's most underrated music videos.
What's also interesting about the video is how Missy and the director, Earle Sebastian played with time since the track itself is mid-tempo, but Missy dances at a slow, robotic pace.
It's all very cool to take in.
Director Hype Williams and Missy obviously pulled from the Mega Man video series and pleased gamers everywhere with the "Sock it to Me" music video.
In the clip, Missy is accompanied by Lil' Kim as they take a journey on a strange foreign planet. During their travels, the duo is chased by several evil-doers and use their laser powers to defend themselves.
Da Brat then makes an appearance in a gray hovercraft, before Kim and Missy jump on and ride through a fiery orange sky.
The music video memorable, thanks to its homage to video games, and graphics that were rarely seen in hip-hop videos before the release of "Sock it to Me."
Using a marching band in a rap video has been done before, but never like the way Missy Elliot did it.
Set in a blueish and gold hue, band members move in perfect synchronization, with Missy standing in the middle taking the lead.
Just when you got used to that one scene, things abruptly change, and the rapper finds herself dancing high in the sky on beams of a building.
From there, she turns into a drawing of a stick figure, grooves inside a laundromat and takes home the top prize in a gymnastic competition. The three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes makes a cameo as well.
The visuals in "Lose Control" video come at you fast. So much so, that your eyes could find it challenging just to keep up.
From the shape of Missy being carved out in the golden brown sand, to her popping out of the dirt and going straight into a frantic dance routine. It all makes this video seems more like a dope art experiment and not just visuals for a song.
And another thing that's impressive about the rapper's videos, especially this one, is how the scenes are vastly different from each other but blend together seamlessly.
It's almost like Missy puts four or five videos into one and makes everything cohesive.
Here's the thing: Although the off-the-wall camera tricks are what make Missy's videos stand out so much, Missy's performances stand out just as much.
It's the faces she makes, the looks she gives, the hand gestures — they all contribute to the overall flyness of her videos just as much as the surreal stuff. And this video is a perfect example.
Quentin Tarantino should be proud.
Basing the video off of the filmmaker's 2003 movie Kill Bill: Volume 1, Missy and her team go head-to-head in a dance-off against their rivals.
The video has all the intensity of a fight scene in a kung fu movie, combined with some crazy creative dance steps.
Missy actually co-directed this one along with Meyers and uses a sci-fi theme to create an artsy, fun-to-watch video.
One of the most memorable scenes is when the veteran rhymer finds herself underwater dancing with her team as bubbles float around.
Then towards the end, everything takes on a different color, as bright red laser beams are seen, which Missy dances around.
The colors black and white are used brilliantly in this visual, and Missy rocks one of her most memorable looks of all time.
Upon initial release, fans were taken aback as she was seen with a bald head, some crazy glasses and a black outfit with a cape included.
Arguably, the highlight of the video is when Missy and her dancers groove on top a giant letter M under angry looking grey clouds.
Going down as Missy's most iconic video, she recreated it back in 2017 for VH1's "Hip Hop Honors" as she reminded the world why she is the true definition of a hip-hop legend. The video is also one of the most expensive of all time, costing a cool $2 million.
For the "Pass That Dutch" visual, Ms. Misdemeanor sat at a desk, grabbed a pen and shared her thoughts.
Then after that, she finds herself in a cornfield playing the part of a scarecrow, right before dancing in a black leather outfit
Before all is said and done, the rapper is also seen playing the role of a newspaper boy, a beauty pageant contestant, and King Kong.
To put it plainly, "The Rain" video set several trends right off the bat. The fisheye lens, the sporadic, tick-tock movements, and the corky, inventive outfits were all groundbreaking.
But more importantly, it gave us our first glimpse of Missy the artist, her personality and her desire to exist outside of the box.
With this one, the then 26-year-old began her tradition of making artistic vignettes instead of just plain old music videos.
It may not have seemed like it, but Missy took a seven-year hiatus before dropping "WTF." Before that, it was 2008's "Shake Your Pom Pom."
So when "WTF" was released, not only were people blown away by its uniqueness, they also seemed happy to see that Missy didn't lose a step, both literally and figuratively.
The video begins with shots of people in downtown Los Angeles mouthing some of the rapper's lyrics.
Then she appears in a sparkly outfit, with lipstick to match, moving around like a teenager.
Next, you see Missy, and her girls dance in a lavender lit subway station before she and Pharrell turn into puppets. Missy talked about that particular scene in a 2015 interview.
"Once [Pharrell and I] did the record, I knew it was time to shoot a video," she explained. "The puppet idea, I had seen somebody do on the street. I held onto that idea for five years, because I didn’t have a record that matched that idea. So I showed Pharrell the clip I had, and he said ‘You know you got to do a video for this.’"