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The 3rd Annual BET Awards - Backstage and Audience

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire 

When we think about Missy Elliott we tend to think about the eccentric rapper with creative flows and outrageous outfits. But before that she was in an R&B girl group, so not only does Missy know how to harmonize, she can also put a song together. You may think of Timbaland as more of the producer; and that’s true, but Missy has her own catalog as well. Check out ten of her most popular songs you didn’t know she wrote and/or produced.

Where My Girls At -702

The first single from the ladies’ second studio album was released on April 27, 1999. And within less than two months, it was number 4 on the Billboard music charts. It would remain top 20 for more than 30 weeks. You knew how much the radio wore this song out. But did you know that not only did Missy Elliott produce the record, she also co-wrote it with Eric Seats and Rapture Stewart.

No Disrespect- Tamar

Who really knows the real reason Tamar’s first studio album, Tamar (2000) was such a flop…it certainly wasn’t for lack of talent on the writing and production end. She worked with Jermaine Dupri, Tim & Bob and Missy Elliott. Missy is credited as a producer, writer and background vocalist on the project. She is featured and also wrote the track “No Disrespect” also featuring Lil Mo.

Listening to this song for the first time today, I can see why this didn’t translate. Tamar’s vocal range is nowhere on this track. Instead, she sounds like a junior, less impressive Toni. We’re glad she got a chance to do it again and prove herself 13 years later.

 

Free Yourself- Fantasia

This is another grand slam to add to Missy’s arsenal. She collaborated on Fantasia’s debut album, fresh off of her American Idol win. And wrote the title track. I had no idea but I should have picked up on the clues. If you listen, you can hear Missy clearly singing background. And on some versions of the song, Missy is given a feature credit. Missy also wrote and sang on the song “Selfish (I Want You to Myself)” with Jazmine Sullivan. When it was released in 2005, “Free Yourself” peaked at 41 on the Billboard top 100 and was number 3 on the R&B charts. Two years later, it received even more airplay on radio stations across the country, charting at 29 on the Billboard R&B Hip Hop Singles. Today, “Free Yourself” is a fan favorite at Fantasia’s concerts and she does extended versions of one of her better known songs.

 

I’m His Only Woman- Jennifer Hudson

Missy must have a thing for “American Idol” contestants. Because three years after she worked with Fantasia in 2005, she teamed up with Jennifer Hudson on her debut album Jennifer Hudson. The special thing about this song is that Fantasia harmonizes with Hudson in a song that tells a very sad, very scandalous story. Missy Elliott wrote the song along with Jack Splash and Jazmine Sullivan. Splash and Elliot served as producers.

Everything To Me- Monica

After working with Monica for her 2006 album, The Makings Of Me, Missy and Monica linked back up to do it again. After Monica thought her album was done, the label told her to record more tracks because they didn’t agree with the choice of leading single. So in response, Missy and fellow R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan wrote “Everything to Me.” It was recorded in just three hours. Two days after the single was released on the radio, it shot to 63 on the Billboard charts. Eventually it got to the 31st spot, becoming Monica’s sixth number one hit. The song would go on to be nominated for a Grammy in 2011. Missy produced the song along with Lamb.

Higher Ground- Karen Clark Sheard

Did ya’ll know Missy loves Jesus? In 2002, she collaborated with legendary gospel artist Karen Clark Sheard for her album 2nd Chance. The song tapped some gospel greats including Kim Burrell, Dorinda Clark, Yolanda Adams and Mary Mary to sing along with Missy and Tweet. She produced the song and 2nd Chance went on to peak at #2 on the Gospel Billboard charts. (Timbaland was also a producer on this album.) Missy also included the song on her solo project, Miss E…So Addictive.

Step-Mya

I don’t know about anybody else out there but Mya’s Moodring album was in constant rotation when it came out back in 2003. Most of us know that Missy and Mya worked together on their more popular single, “My Love Is Like Wo.” But Missy and Timbaland also wrote and produced another track for Mya called “Step.” And as much I listened to this song, I never noticed all of those distinctive Missy ad-libs until today.

Things You Say – Whitney

In 2002, Whitney Houston was back on the scene with a new solo album called Just Whitney. And she pulled out all of the stops with this one. Whitney worked with writers and producers like Kandi Burruss, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Bobby Brown and Missy Elliott, among others. Missy wrote “Things You Say,” along with Charlie Bereal, Kenny Bereal and Tweet. Missy also produced the track with CKB.

Can’t No Man – Tamia

We don’t even have time to lecture y’all about the fact that Tamia is severely underrated in this industry. But that’s a conversation for another day. Fortunately, Missy recognized Tamia’s talent and agreed to work with her on her second studio album, A Nu Day. Released in 2000, Missy wrote and produced the songs “Can’t Go for That,” “Long Distance Love,” “Wanna Be” and “Can’t No Man.” Missy wrote the song with Errol McCalla and produced it with “Poppi.” This is my first time hearing the song and let me tell you it’s sultry but still goes.so.hard. I’ll definitely have to [legally] download this and add it to my collection.

Babydoll – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s sixth studio album, Butterfly was chocked full of hits. There was “Honey,” “Breakdown,” and “My All.” But Missy contributed to one of the lesser known songs on the album, “Babydoll.” Missy Elliott co-wrote the song with Mariah, C. Rooney and sleazy behind Stevie J.

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