Missy Elliott Talks Return To Music: “Do People Still Want To Hear Something Creative And Risky?”

The star talked with i-D.

November 17, 2015

Missy Elliott reemerged last week with "WTF," an impressive collaboration with Pharrell. Ugh, I'm so far ahead of ya'll, she raps. Man, I'm on top of the stars. The track also came with a memorable visual. The MC recently spoke with i-D about her time out of the spotlight and collaborating with Pharrell. Read the whole interview here, and check out highlights below. Find out how her amazing disco ball suit got made.


On being nervous to drop the new video: "The night before it came out, I felt like a child waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney... But this time the pressure was really on because I knew I had shot a video so now it wasn't just about, 'Are they gonna like the record'. I knew that people know me for my videos and so the expectation from those who grew up on my music was high. My goodness. I swear to God, I felt like I sweated out my tracks the night before the video dropped! My weave was messed up waiting for this video to come out!"

On Katy Perry: "First of all, I can't thank her enough. A thousand thank you's wouldn't be enough. She allowed me to perform my records on her set."

On how Pharrell got her back in the studio: "After the Superbowl, he hit me up like 'Yo, what are you doing?' I was basically in the house cleaning! I had gone back to my normal life. I was in the house vacuuming, walking my dogs. 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?' I think I was still in shock. It still hadn't registered. He was like 'I want to get in the studio with you.' Who turns down Pharrell?"

On the "WTF" beat: "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.' 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.' When something is so hot, I don't want to just jump on it right away, I want to take it home and make sure I give it my best shot."

On the new video: "Believe it or not, we have been making this video since March. The puppets themselves took two and a half, to three months to make. It was very detailed... It started with the puppets... We collectively knew it had to have some kind of iconic outfit. We all came up with the glass outfit, which was the hardest thing to wear because it was really cut up glass so I was bleeding and everything! I was so agitated but I had to get it done."

On temporarily feeling insecure in the new musical landscape: "It was a time where I felt like 'Do I still have it?' Especially when you see a whole new slew, a whole new generation of kids, come through and the music is not like how it was. I felt like, 'How do I fit in?' I'm battling. But then I never fit in! The whole time, I've never fit in! But it was still that battle. Do people still want to hear something creative and risky at this point?"

Missy Elliott Talks Return To Music: “Do People Still Want To Hear Something Creative And Risky?”