We’re so happy Missy Elliott is back. After a surprising appearance at the Super Bowl in February, the legend from the DMV remained mostly quiet until appearing on Janet Jackson’s new album, Unbreakable, and releasing her own song with, naturally, a creative video to match for “WTF.”
Missdemeanor hasn’t dropped an album since 2005’s The Cookbook, and she had shown no signs of really returning until she popped up at halftime of the Super Bowl. In a new interview with i-D, we’ve learned that after the Super Bowl, Pharrell helped push Missy to make a comeback. After her performance, she got a call from Pharrell after she had “gone back to [her] normal life,” cleaning the house and walking her dogs. “He said ‘I’m not trying to push you, but people miss you. Do you see what happened out there? Have you seen the charts’? I think I was still in shock. It still hadn’t registered,” she said. “He was like ‘I want to get in the studio with you.’ Who turns down Pharrell?”
Throughout the interview, she discusses Katy Perry, the pressures of a long gap between albums, the “WTF” video and more. We’ve taken out some snippets below, and you can read the whole interview with i-D here.
On the pressure of releasing a new song after 10 years:
The pressure was really on because I knew I had shot a video so now it wasn’t just about, ‘Are they gonna like the record’. I knew that people know me for my videos and so the expectation from those who grew up on my music was high. My goodness. I swear to God, I felt like I sweated out my tracks the night before the video dropped! My weave was messed up waiting for this video to come out!
On Katy Perry & the Super Bowl:
When me and Katy got on the phone, she said she was a fan of my work and that she wanted me to perform, but to perform three of my records. First of all, I can’t thank her enough. A thousand thank you’s wouldn’t be enough. She allowed me to perform my records, on her set and she said ‘If you have a new record, you should perform it, this is the time to perform it’.
Discussing Pharrell’s influence:
He said ‘Listen, just remember who you are. You’ve always been fun and animated and you have always made people want to dance. Look in the mirror so you can know who you are. It’s time. It’s your time.’ That’s how it happened. Once we did the record, I knew it was time to shoot a video.
On her confidence levels of getting back into music:
It was a time where I felt like ‘Do I still have it’? Especially when you see a whole new slew, a whole new generation of kids, come through and the music is not like how it was. I felt like, ‘How do I fit in’? I’m battling. But then I never fit in! The whole time, I’ve never fit in! But it was still that battle. Do people still want to hear something creative and risky at this point? People might not be accepting of your music.
What I love about Kanye is that he doesn’t fit the mold either. He does what he feels. People might look at him like, ‘Kanye at it again’, but I can respect the fact and I can tell when he does his music it’s not ‘I’m doing what’s hot right now’. That’s what I felt in the studio. So I can appreciate artists like that.