Missy Elliott is being inducted as the first female hip-hop artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday, November 3, and she still can’t believe the milestone honor.
“Words cannot describe. It just hasn’t clicked yet,” the “Get Ur Freak On” rapper, 52, told Robin Roberts on Thursday, November 2, on Good Morning America. “When you are in the hip-hop world, it just seems so far out of reach.”
The first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was in 1986, and for over 20 years, no hip-hop artists were elected.
In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five became the first hip-hop act inducted. Since then, nine more artists, all male, became members of the Hall of Fame: Jay-Z, LL Cool J, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Eminem, Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. Elliott will become the eleventh hip-hop artist to be inducted.
“Rock & roll is the gumbo of different styles of music. I think we get this thing where [we think] in rock & roll, you have to have a guitar,” Elliott told Roberts. “That would be like saying hip-hop is just rap when it consists of, you know, we have incorporated jazz, we have incorporated blues.”
Elliott has become known as a pioneer for women in music. In 2019, she became the first female rapper inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the third overall, following Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri. That same year, she also made history as the first female MC to win the MTV Video Vanguard Award.
The trailblazer noted that her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honor is more significant because it comes during the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
“No matter what people say, the hip-hop world is something special and unique,” Elliott continued.
She grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia with famed producer Timbaland, and together they wrote and produced hits for numerous artists, including the late Aaliyah. Elliott’s writing and production credits also include Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Eminem, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and more.
She has released six albums, all platinum or multi-platinum. She dropped her last album, The Cookout, in 2005.
In June 2011, she told People that her musical hiatus was due to a thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease which causes irregular heartbeats, fatigue, anxiety, vision loss and other symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Elliott was diagnosed after she nearly crashed a car from having severe leg spasms while driving. Four years later, the disease continued to haunt Elliott when she performed with Katy Perry during the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
“My anxiety kicked in…I started freaking out. So in the wee hours of the morning before the Super Bowl, before I performed, I was at the emergency room,” Elliott remembered in her interview with Roberts. “It feels good to be in a time now where you can talk about it, because there’s a lot of people who suffer from anxiety.”
Elliott has overcome her anxiety, and she is looking forward to one very special person attending her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The iconic rapper admitted that in the past, she did not want her mother, Patricia Elliott, to see her on stage because of song lyrics she thought her mom would find offensive. Now, she wants her mother to be present to share her special honor, and is happy she will be at Barclays Center for the historic occasion.
“My mother has never seen me perform before … she’s seen me on TV,” Elliott said. “She has never been to a show. So, she’s coming for the first time.”