Missy Elliott talks “The Rain” video, new music and more as ‘Essence’ cover star

Derek Blanks

The video for Missy Elliott‘s 1997 hit “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” has been praised as futuristic and innovative, but that was far from the rapper’s mind when she was on set filming. As the cover star of Essence‘s July/August Music print issue, she says she was simply “having fun when doing the videos.”

“I never even thought, ‘Let me try to do the most outlandish thing.’ That never crossed my mind, ever,” she says. “It just spoke to who I was in school.”

“I was always just different. So by the time I started doing videos, the music just really spoke to who I was as a person,” Missy continued. “And so I never thought, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this, and this is going to change the world. It’s going to change the way videos look. Or I want to do the craziest thing ever.’ Nothing seemed crazy to me.”

Missy filmed “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” with help from director Hype Williams, who she credits for the iconic inflatable patent-leather suit. With “some new stuff in the works,” she hopes to work with André 3000RihannaErykah Badu and Jill Scott. The star even toyed with shooting a music video for the Beyoncé cut “Signs.”

Missy’s contributions to hip-hop will be honored in November when she becomes the first female rapper to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With many accolades and years of experience, she says the key to longevity is to “be yourself,” be humble and maintain good relationships.

“As long as you have great relationships, you will always get a check, because people won’t mind helping you,” she says. “I want people to know me for good music, but just being a good person, that is important.”

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