Happy Belated Birthday to Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott

With a little more than 20 years as a performer and six platinum-certified records to boast, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott hit her 41st year this July 1. Though she's been largely absent from the public eye these past couple of years, her impact on the modern hip-hop and R&B scene is undeniable.

Equal parts full performer, provocateur, and innovator, Elliott came out with a strong voice in 1997's debut album, Supa Dupa Fly, and carried it through to 2005's The Cookbook, all the while gathering numerous production and cowriting credits with superstars like childhood friend Timbaland and too many others to list here.

Though her early life was mired by the horrors of familial abuse and a struggle with the autoimmune disorder Graves' disease, Elliott has managed to turn her experiences into positive catalysts that are marked by a subtle blend of lounge, psychedelics, and abstract weirdness. Who can forget the blown-up lawn bag outfit in 1997's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" video?

And without entering the arena of "plump female musicians we'd like to get down with" (which has caused my sheriffs here some major headaches), Missy Elliott is the epitome of BBW, large and in charge, and you'd be damned to not do as she says.

"The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"
Go ahead, admit it: There are some awesome robotic moves here, and you'd like to rock half of these outfits.

"We Run This"This track captures the spirit of its samples better than the original, in my opinion.

"Get Ur Freak On" 

Missy does the Indian thing. We wish this track came with an order of piping hot and buttery naan.

"Work It"
If Missy Elliott wants to talk dirty to me and get me to leave a date in the middle so I can go get "worked on," all I can say is, sorry toots to whomever I'm with.

"Pass That Dutch" 

Anything with a Fred "Rerun" Berry reference is ace in my book. Period.

After an overdue absence from our speakers, Elliott will be dropping her new album, Block Party, sometime this year, and we look forward to the absolute party it promises to be.

Until then, happy 41st, doll!

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