Melissa Arnette “Missy” Elliot is one of the most famous personalities in the music biz today, as a rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and actress. The five-time Grammy Award winner sold over seven million records in the USA is the only female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) including one double platinum for her 2002 album “Under Construction”.
In addition, she has worked extensively as a songwriter and producer for other artists, both alone and with her fellow producer and childhood friend Timbaland, with whom she received her first production credit on R&B singer Ginuwine’s 1996’s album “Ginuwine… The Bachelor”.
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Although Missy was always known as the class clown, an IQ test classified her above average and she was able to jump two years ahead of her class. This made her feel increasingly isolated, so she purposely failed all her classes, eventually returning to her age-appropriate class.
In the early 1990s, Elliott formed an R&B group, called Fayze (later renamed Sista), with three friends. She recruited her neighborhood friend Timothy Mosley as the group’s producer and began making demo tracks. In 1991, Fayze caught the attention of Jodeci member and producer DeVante Swing by performing Jodeci songs a cappella for him backstage after one of his group’s concerts. In short order, Fayze moved to New York City and signed to Elektra Records through DeVante’s Swing Mob imprint, also renaming the group Sista. Missy took Mosley — whom DeVante re-christened Timbaland — and their friend Melvin “Magoo” Barcliff along with her.
All 20-plus members of the Swing Mob – among them future stars such as Ginuwine, Playa and Tweet – lived in a single two-story house in New York and were often at work on material both for Jodeci and their own projects.
Before becoming a real solo artist, Missy worked with Timbaland as a songwriting/production team for Total, Destiny’s Child and mostly the passed away R’n’B singer Aaliyah.
Missy began her solo carrer as a featured solo artist on some remixes of Puff Daddy’s label Bad Boy before she made her first solo record with Timbaland as her production partner again.
In June 2011, Elliott told “People Magazine” that her absence from the music industry was due to the autoimmune disorder “Graves disease”. She experienced several symptoms from the condition, and said that she could not even hold a pen up to write songs. After treatment, her symptoms stabilized and she has announced that she would like to get back to her career.