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Missy Elliot
Every time someone zigs, she zags. Then she totally changes her look, just to make sure no one's on her tail. She's Missy Elliott and her new album is another quantum leap in unchartered hip-hop zone. Missy writes her own songs as well as performs them, and her creative wit is on a par with her stylish demeanor.
Born in Portsmouth, VA, in 1971 as Melissa, Missy's career began when producer Devante Swing signed her and her group, Sista, to his Swing Mob record label. Unfortunately, Swing Mob Records fell through. Determined to move forward, Missy turned to long-time acquaintance Timbaland, who was producing some tracks for Aaliyah's album. It was a key move for Missy, as the album racked up enormous sales and brought Missy to the limelight.

Missy's sixth effort, The Cookbook, is simply a higher notch. The Cookbook is an all-natural collection of musical recipes, fitting for a star whose history includes seventeen MTV Award nominations (including one win for Video Of the Year), five Grammies, three consecutive BET Awards, five Lady of Soul/Soul Train Awards, national ad campaigns with The Gap, MAC Cosmetics and Vanilla Coke, and a successful television show, The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott. As the head of her own record label, The Goldmind, Inc., Missy launched the successful career of R&B star Tweet. Bon Appetit! The Record captured a long transcript with Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliot. Here are some excerpts:

The Record (TR): Can you describe your new release?
Missy Elliot: No artificial flavour.

TR: Why did you name the album The Cookbook?
Missy: Well, actually I have worked with different producers and musicians and together they are all the ingredients you need. They all add their own spice in their own way to make the album. That's how I got my cookbook. I can't cook at all, but I can cook up some great music. Nobody asks me to cook food, unless you don't want to live for long.

TR: Your lyrics are sometimes provocative. What do you have to say that?
Missy: I knew I was going to be asked that. Well, the lyrics are not all provocative, for it depends on how you look at it. The lyrics may speak about a girl as a prostitute, but then you may not look like one. There's always this Missy coming up with some crazy lyrics that are off the wall and she says something's that don't sound really bad. Why are you asking me, there's Eminem, there's so many other great singers who are as provocative as me? Ask them too. (Laughs) I always believe in what I say.

TR: What do you think on the state of TV and Radio?
ME: There's a lot happening on the radio. When I was young, there weren't so many artists that you could compare. You just had one who you had to listen to and make you decision on how you like that artist. You couldn't, for instance, compare Salt 'N' Pepa with someone else, cause there was only one, and you couldn't tell the difference from them to another. But today each hip-hop artist has his own identity and name, which is really great. But there are also a few who are like followers, they see someone and try to take that kind of identity and become famous.

TR: Tell us something about the track Lose Control
Missy: Lose Control reigns as the quintessential party track for me. The rap bravado slices through the up-tempo anthem while I let Ciara give her signature smooth vocals where she tries her hand at a quick rhyme. Fat Man Scoop brings it all home with his signature jam-jumping adlibs. But the funny thing is that the youth don't know the whole thing about hip-hop and the real style, so if you want to really feel a good track, Akon is the best example. Hip-hop is not just about a bunch of sexy girls dancing around and showing something off, or opening bottles of champagne, its much more.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Missy Elliott in the August 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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