On the Record With . . .Missy Elliott

The rapper reflects on her upcoming album and the power of females in hip-hop

Essence.com: You have about 12 tracks on your album. Are there any collabos that you’re excited about?

Missy Elliott: I have a record with T-Pain. I’ve loved his music ever since he put out his first record.

Essence.com: After nearly 15 years in the biz, what advice would you give to a younger you?

 M.E.: To be careful when it comes to contracts and the business side. A lot of times we’re just so excited and we think some money is better than no money. You need to become a part of the business side—your money side. You can’t expect other people to handle that because it’s your life and your career! Make sure you sit down and ask your lawyer everything.

Essence.com: Nas proclaimed that Hip Hop was dead, but you have a track entitled “Hip Hop Don’t Die.” What was the inspiration for that song?

M.E.: As soon as I heard the music, immediately the words came to mind. I didn’t sit down and think that I wanted to do a record like “Hip Hop Don’t Die”. I just felt like, it’s for those who don’t know Missy or Hip Hop. Some people don’t understand it or just criticize it by placing labels on it like “gangster” or “thug” music.

Essence.com: Do you feel like you’re the last woman standing in hip hop?

M.E.: We all know that we’re in a male-dominated world so it’s always gonna be a bit harder for women. But I feel like a lot of female rappers are out there doing their own thing. For example, Lil’ Kim has a mixtape coming out and she’s working on her album. And Eve is working on her thing too. Hopefully we can jump together at the same time. My goal is to have an all female hip-hop tour because that’s never been done. I would love to see that.

For more from Missy pick up the July 2008 issue of ESSENCE now on sale.

Photo Credit: Warwick Saint

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