"Her creative vision across production, performance and songwriting is unmatched," said Viacom head of music and talent Bruce Gillmer.
No shit! Missy Elliott released her first ever music video and her breakout hit in 1997: shooting herself through a fish eye lens styled as a silken Michelin Man for "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" video. Over the following years, she completely revolutionized rap-video style, making videos weirder, more creative, vivid and surreal than the MTV-watching world had seen before.
Never forget the beard of CGI bees she wore in the 2003 "Work It" video — or when she swallowed a car, held a handful of pubes out to the camera, delivered a Halle Berry cameo, honored Aaliyah and Lisa Lopes, introduced the world to Allyson Stoner and moon walked across an apocalyptic playground.
Or when she carried her own head while seducing a lover in 2001's "One Minute Man" (Feat. Ludacris & Trina), while rapping a challenge for men to last long enough to please her.
Or, when she had marionette dolls made of her and Pharrell for "WTF (Where They From)" in 2015.
It's a bit scrambled that Missy's receiving the award after Rihanna and Beyoncé, who were honored in 2016 and 2014 respectively, and whose visuals were surely influenced by her style. But hey, better late than never.
Other past honorees include J-Lo, Pink, Kanye, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Hype Williams (a longtime Missy collaborator and the director of her "She's a Bitch" and "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" videos), Madonna, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, George Michael and David Byrne. David Bowie was the first recipient of the award, back in 1984.
Missy makes history as the first female rapper to receive the award, doing so for the second time this year, after becoming the first woman MC inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In conjunction with the award, MTV and Pepsi are hosting a pop-up "Museum of Missy" in New York City on August 24 and 25. The exhibit will immerse visitors in "Elliott's most groundbreaking music videos and costumes," according to a press release. Location and ticketing details are yet to be announced.