It's cool that the second Missy Elliott Week post already had us focused on the visual aspects of her career -- even though she's primarily known for music, Missy has always been an artist capable of bringing out the most in sight as well as sound. That's why she's blended them so well, in a number of classic music videos that have taken songs that were already great and turned them into bona fide experiences. Here, for day three, we revisit a few of our favorite Missy Elliott videos.
"The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"
Hype Williams' fish-eye is just delightful in Missy Elliott's debut video, as she springs into America's hearts (and hips) while wearing a trash bag. Our favorite Miss Misdemeanor gets to strut her stuff in some bright, badass outfits, rock out under water (or rain), and ride around in the fliest Jeep in history. And with the number of cameos packed in, it's hard not to watch the video and think of it as a bit of a who's who for the moment it was made.
"Get Ur Freak On"
While there are a few troubling aspects of pan-Asian appropriation present within Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" video (SMH, early aughts...), it's an undeniably striking visual that gets a lot of help from its cameo-heavy cast that includes the likes of Eve, Ludacris, Ja Rule and more. And while we're still not sure how to feel about the bhangra-influenced bassline, it's undeniable that this Tim Burton meets Blade Runner look is perfect for Missy's slick hip-hop sensibilities. Plus, how could we forget snake-necked Missy hanging from chandeliers in that incredible Elvis-esque jumpsuit.
"Pass That Dutch"
Rabid children of the corn, pop drop and locking from Missy & Co. wearing sexy leather outfits, UFOs, scarecrows, a Hummer, cannibalism, a beauty queen, Bratz dolls, the video that was on 70% of your high school mix tapes titled "Cruisin'" had everything -- everything that is, except weed. The song, which had a memorable cameo in Mean Girls, seemed to riff on Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie" but whether it had something to do with Bush-era politics or what, there was no ganga in sight. The clip ends with a black & white bang as we see Missy channel King Kong atop the Empire State Building, only to awaken from a dream and return back to a scene that sees the rapper writing at a desk and memorializing fallen icons like Aaliyah, Tupac, Biggie and Left Eye.
Tommy Lee shows up in the "Lose Control" music video for some reason, but that's not even close to the best thing about it. There are fresh Adidas, fresh choreography, and... some Fatman Scoop yelling? Also, Ciara does some solid dance moves, there are backflips, and the whole thing takes place in the middle of a sandstorm, because where else would you want to see music make Missy Elliott lose control?
Dressed in an incredible powder blue track suit, this video also finds Missy slaying a man on a date and performing inside a giant beehive (with bees working it, of course), which feels prescient given the return of the #MissyHive. It's from the tail end of the first act of Missy's career (yes, that's a mouthful to us too), but still has the look and feel that makes her a true legend. (Also, no big deal, but the "Work It" video won big, taking home Video of the Year at the 2003 VMAs.)
"Sock It to Me" Hype Williams would direct several videos for Missy throughout the late '90s, but "The Rain," and "Sock It 2 Me" are the obvious stand-outs from the era. Here, we get more Williams-ian touches like eye-popping saturation and tight shots, which, set on Elliott's face, only highlights her knee-weakening eye shadow game. (We'll have more on Missy's beauty looks from Arabelle Sicardi later this week). The clip, which features Missy and collaborator Da Brat as fire-throwing intergalactic warriors, include avant-astronaur costumes that are though to be inspired by the Mega Man video game. And, as some "Sock It 2 Me" truthers allege in the video's YouTune comments, Missy's look may or may not have inspired the Gmail logo? You kind of can't unsee it...