Missy Elliott may be the Queen of Rap — but she’s reminding fans that she’s human too.
For the magazine’s July/August Music Issue cover, the music legend talks about her road to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, her battle with anxiety, and her approach to making music.
When she was younger, the “Get Ur Freak On” artist–full name Melissa Arnette Elliott–would tell her classmates she’d be famous one day, also pretending to have conversations with the likes of Janet Jackson and Madonna. But, even though she always believed in herself, that didn’t stop Elliott from experiencing the same mental health problems that a lot of us do. For Missy, she recalls experiencing anxiety due to some unresolved issues growing up.
She went on to explain that, like so many others, she had some hard moments during the isolation phase of the pandemic.
“I had so much time to just think of childhood stuff, and all kinds of stuff,” she explained. “But that’s what makes me human.”
When she did make it to the industry, however, Elliott became an innovator almost immediately. Still, she tells Essence that she wasn’t going out of her way to be different, it’s just who she is.
“I was having fun when doing the videos,” she explained. “I never even thought, Let me try to do the most outlandish thing. That never crossed my mind, ever. It just spoke to who I was in school.”
The rapper continued: “I was always just different. So by the time I started doing videos, the music just really spoke to who I was as a person. And so I never thought, Hey, I’m going to do this, and this is going to change the world. It’s going to change the way videos look. Or I want to do the craziest thing ever. Nothing seemed crazy to me.”
You can read more of Missy Elliott’s Essence cover story here.