She's the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the hallowed Rock Hall.
Rapper Missy Elliott has a résumé that reads like a blueprint for success in the music business: she's performed at the Super Bowl, she's won four Grammy Awards and has been nominated a mind-boggling 22 times, she's worked with artists like Aaliyah and Timbaland, earned the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2019 MTV VMAs, and now, she has the honor of being the first female hip-hop artist, ever, to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Last night, at the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City, Queen Latifah presented Elliott with the honor. Fellow inductees included Sheryl Crow, Chaka Khan, Kate Bush, George Michael, Rage Against the Machine, and Willie Nelson, representing pop, punk, and soul.
“Nothing sounded the same after Missy came onto the scene,” Latifah said in her speech. “Everything changed — the bass lines changed, the pockets changed, the cadence, the writing. And that’s because Missy has always been a futurist someone who’s always looking ahead.”
Elliott then performed a medley of her hits, including “Pass That Dutch,” “Get Ur Freak On,” and “Work It,” before giving a speech in which she noted that she was honored at being inducted during the 50th anniversary year of hip hop.
“To be standing here, it means so much to me,” she said, per the Associated Press. “I’m honored just to be in a room with you all.”
The night had another milestone for Missy. Her mother was in the audience at the ceremony and while it's unbelievable, it was the very first time that she'd seen her daughter perform live. Having Elliott alongside Khan and Soul Train creator Don Cornelius marked a shift for the ceremony, which has come under fire for not including more female artists and Black artists in its history.
Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner, who was also a co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was removed from its board of directors after he said that Black and female musicians “didn’t articulate at the level” of the white musicians. He later apologized.
Bernie Taupin, Elton John's songwriting partner, was also inducted this year and drew cheers when he took a jab at Wenner during his speech, saying that he was honored to join the 2023 class with “profoundly articulate women” and “articulate Black artists.”
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