Missy Misdemeanor Elliott gave a show-stopping performance at the VMAs this year.
Prompting the less-informed to gasp: “Who misdemeanour, what gave a what-stopping performance, and the VMwho?” Let me explain.
Not content with the applause and adoration of fans the world over, America’s entertainment industry regularly sets up elaborate events when it applauds and adores itself. These are called awards shows. They include the Grammys, Oscars, the Webbys and uncredited cameos in ‘Fast and Furious presents Hobbes and Shaw’.
What particularly we mean:
Video Music Awards is what the abbreviation reveals itself to be when unpacked. It focuses on the music video achievements of pop stars and is helmed by MTV. Don’t ask me what MTV is, because in these days of streaming online videos, I don’t remember either and when I asked my research department of 20-year-old interns to look into it they got stuck and said “Eugh!” when they got to the part about VHS tapes.
Anyway, let’s talk about Missy. Missy Elliot, who tried to go by the stage name of ‘Missy Misdemeanour Elliot’ but hardly anyone ever used the nickname apart from those annoying pompous radio presenters who say Robert Kelly and Beyonce Knowles-Carter, was the greatest, best, most excellent and indisputably perfect pop musician to be heard since cochleas first came into fashion. I know I say this about Rihanna, and Beyonce and whoever I will be writing about next, but this time I mean it. Missy was the total apex, the peak itself.
Let me prove it.
For a prolonged part of the late nineties and early 2000s, when we spoke of the top 40 songs, it was almost as if we were speaking of no one else. Missy, ‘langside her partner Timbaland, either sang, wrote, produced or featured on half the hits on the DJ’s crate. (This was back when DJs played music from crates, as opposed to laptops you skrrr skrrr Lil Paw Young Trick trap zombies patronise now).
The woman was like Trump on news satire shows today. Everywhere.
What happened next?
Usually, an artist drops a series of hot albums and songs for a stretch of time and then the laws of physics issue their statute of limitations, they release an album to lukewarm or cold reception, are dropped from their label and retire, never to be seen or heard from again until they appear on some tacky reality TV show.
But not Missy:
No. Missy never fell off. She just dropped a monster hit called ‘Lose Control’ in ‘05 and then went home, took off her bra, shoes, and wig, plopped onto the sofa, picked up her Kindle and chull for the next 14 years. As if she had said to herself, “Let me give Beyonce and Riri a chance.”
There is a rumour I started—I mean, I heard, that she was contractually obligated to produce a song for Chris Brown but because he was such annoying trash, she decided she would rather just go home and wait until the contract expired. Just go home and enjoy her wealth for a while.
Well, don’t call it a comeback:
The contract expired and Missy is back. With a new album that I can say with utmost confidence and with not the tiniest, most minute, bedbug-toenail-sized shadow of doubt is the greatest sequence of notes since your crush told you she/he has been thinking about what you said and gave you a meaningful look.
And I have not even listened to it yet. I am waiting for my new high-end headphones to arrive first. But I know I’m right.
In conclusion: This woman is the one who performed a medley of some of her hits (not her greatest hits. All her hits are greatest) on the VMAs stage last week and the house was brought down by the splendour of the performance. The woman changed costumes and the dancers changed shape, and the set changed colours as if magic was at work and it was mesmerising. You should from this point on be glad that life has become better for you, me and all, because Missy is singing again.