When Missy Elliott made her triumphant comeback earlier this week with “WTF (Where They From),” her first music video in almost a decade, the world let out a shriek of excitement, followed by a collective sigh of relief.
And that was with good reason: This was Missy in a return to form, combining futuristic visual vibes with creative flows and forward-sounding beats.
Missy hasn’t released an album since 2005, but there were inklings of a comeback earlier this year, when she joined Katy Perry to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl. But it didn’t happen. In fact, according to the rap great, even though her classic hits shot up the iTunes charts as she infused feelings of nostalgia in some and sparked curiosity in younger viewers, she went back to her “normal” life — walking her dogs, vacuuming.
Until Pharrell gave a little nudge.
“He said ’I’m not trying to push you, but people miss you. Do you see what happened out there? Have you seen the charts?’” she told i-D. “I think I was still in shock. It still hadn’t registered. He was like ’I want to get in the studio with you.’”
And she wanted that, too.
“He flew me to LA and he put me up and we got in the studio and he said, ’Yo! I got this crazy beat,’” she continued. “You know, Pharrell, he’s very zen, very yoga, he’s such a sweetheart. But this time, he was straight from the hood, like, ’Yo, I got this crazy record for you, I already wrote my rap, I gotta get your bars now.’ So he played it and once he played it, it was like, ’Oh my goodness.’ He said, ’I know you gon’ kill it.’ I said, ’Well, let me take it home and live with it.’”
Skateboard P didn’t just serve up the beat, though — he also offered some advice: “He said, ’Listen, just remember who you are. You’ve always been fun and animated and you have always made people want to dance. Look in the mirror so you can know who you are. It’s time. It’s your time.’”