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Missy Elliott's Return Is Everything We Crave

Missy Elliott surprised the music world this week with the new song and video "WTF (Where They From)."
Missy Elliott surprised the music world this week with the new song and video "WTF (Where They From)."

It's been a decade since rapper Missy Elliott released an album, and three years since her last single. When she turned up for a surprise performance during this year's Super Bowl Halftime Show, fans went wild. Now, they have even more reason to celebrate.

Today, Elliott released a new song and video called "WTF (Where They From)," featuring a verse from Pharrell, some eye-popping visuals and the rapper herself in top form. NPR Music critic Ann Powers spoke with All Things Considered about why it's good to have Elliott back.

"Missy is a unique figure in the history of pop music, and particularly in the video age. She's known for these incredibly inventive, very kinetic clips that feature her in outrageous outfits doing dance moves that just dazzle you — and, of course, rhyming like nobody's business as well."

Powers says Elliot's rhyme style remains unique, pivoting between clever turns of phrase and compelling bursts of nonsense language. The video, co-directed by Elliott and her longtime collaborator Dave Myers, features dancing and fashion to rival the duo's classic team-ups (that includes the garbage-bag suit).

"It's right in line with what Missy's always done, but that's what we crave — we need it, and there's really no other figure like her in all of hip-hop," Powers says. "She's not afraid to cross all kinds of boundaries and just be herself. Thank you, Missy, for filling the Missy-sized gap that we've had in pop for so long."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.