Last month, Grammy-winning rapper Missy Elliott became the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Still reveling in her accomplishment, the hip hop icon shared how confidence and perseverance brought her to the superstar status she epitomizes today.
The induction was a significant milestone in Elliott’s 30-year career, and according to her, it’s only one of many goals she had been manifesting since her earliest school days. “I’m going to be a superstar,” she said she would always tell her Kindergarten teacher. “The whole class would bust out laughing,” she added in her new Marie Claire cover story, which hits newsstands July 23.
“It’s funny because I was just telling somebody that everything I spoke, I’ve done. And that’s how powerful the tongue is,” Elliott told the publication. “I used to sit in the house and act like I was having conversations with Janet [Jackson] and Michael [Jackson] and Madonna and whoever. I then would go and say my thank yous for award shows that I hadn’t made it to yet. I had speeches, and I would be in the mirror, thanking my mama.”
She also shared that though her drive was apparent, the road to success did not come without obstacles. “Trust me; I was broke. And my family would be like, ‘You better find something to do.’ They told me to go in the Army. I’m like, ‘I’m too fat to go in the Army. Where I am running to?'” she explained.
“Everything just seemed so impossible at the time because we didn’t have the technology to be able to reach out and put your stuff online, and people get a chance to see it. So you have to be at the right place at the right time,” the rapper said.
Marie Claire confirmed Elliott is working on her next album, after more than a decade since ‘The Cookbook,’ and is championing women of color and unknown artists in the industry along the way. “I do want to make the generation behind feel like, don’t be afraid, because we are in a time where so many people can be artists. Now you can just post up, and if it gets to the right person, then it’s just viral. I want to be able to encourage those who don’t go viral,” she explained.
“A lot of people out there that have 452 or 100 followers may be talented. I want them to not feel like they have to do what everybody else is doing to gain that attention. Just be you. It’s going to catch hold somewhere.”