Yesterday, Missy Elliott became just the third rapper — and first female rapper — inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. The induction is a capstone on a 20-year career as one of the premiere faces, voices, and pens behind hip-hop and R&B’s most explosive commercial period. Further highlighting her impact on pop culture, Missy was honored by a who’s-who of peers and public figures that included fellow rappers Da Brat, Lizzo, and Queen Latifah, as well as a taped message from former First Lady Of The United States, Michelle Obama.
“Missy, I want to thank you for all of your trailblazing ways,” Obama said. “Thank you not for just sharing your gift with the world, but for being an advocate for so many people out there, especially young girls who are still figuring out how to make their voices heard.” Obama and Missy previously met on The Late Late Show With James Corden, where both rode around Washington, DC with the host, performing a carpool karaoke rendition of Missy’s hit “Get Ur Freak On.”
Da Brat and Lizzo teamed up to perform “Sock It 2 Me,” while Queen Latifah inducted Missy, paying homage to their long friendship. Missy reportedly teared up as she gave an acceptance speech, saying: “I want to say one thing to the writers, to the upcoming writers, ‘Do not give up.’ We all go through writer’s block. Sometimes you just have to walk away from a record and come back to it. But don’t give up because I’m standing here. And this is big for hip-hop, too.”
The only other rappers in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame are Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri, who were also both pivotal to the 1990s rise of hip-hop to the heights of American culture. Missy recently announced she was finished with a new album, her first in over a decade. She was also recently awarded an honorary degree from Berklee College.