The queen is back. After seven years of silence, Missy Elliott has returned and she is damn well still working it, still getting her freak on and shaking her pom pom. Taking the internet by storm with a new track and video, WTF (Where They From), featuring Pharrell, has set the online world ablaze with a rekindled enthusiasm for her particular brand of old school hip hop.
Having faded from sight over the last decade, partly due to health issues (Elliott was diagnosed with hyperthyroid disorder Graves’ disease), Missy Elliott has still been a strong presence behind the scenes; writing and producing for dozens of artists. But this year saw her return as a performing artist with live appearances at the Super Bowl, and in February she confirmed that she was recording her seventh album with long time collaborator Timbaland.
With just an amateur video sneaking out early last month, showing Missy filming in an LA back street, and a teaser snippet released in late October, WTF, feels as though it rocked up to the party yelling “SURPRISE!” – and looking fucking fabulous! The video was directed by Dave Meyers and Missy herself, and, like the track, it is both a throwback to Elliott’s 1990’s heyday but also keeping pace with 2015.
Heavy with her trademark militant beats, Missy has lost nothing of her sass or her rapid fire flow. Ending lines with an air horn style vocal trip, WTF feels like the stomping, tribal tunes that were always her signature sound. And even ten years on, Elliott is still fierce AF. Her opening outfit of a mirrorball suit, complete with recognisable talons and glittered lips is just the first of many. Mashing street style with the 90’s, there’s a artistic weirdness to the clip. It’s like Missy has sat back while the likes of Lady Gaga have done their best, until now when she’s stormed in with the original goods, casting everyone else in the shade.
With Beyoncé favourites Les Twins doing their thing, clever camera work and Missy as a piece of walking art, thanks to her make up artist, WTF is a veritable visual feast. Not forgetting Pharrell’s appearance in marionette form, even though I find them unavoidably creepy I can’t help but appreciate the cheeky little mount from model Pharrell. And just in case the whole thing was feeling too retro for you, they’ve even thrown in hover boards. Break dancing hover boards! But the best news is that, this time, you don’t need to watch endless rounds of MTV to catch WTF, you can see it right here, right now!