44. Missy Elliott "Work It" (2002)
Album: Under Construction
Producer: Timberland, Missy Elliot (Co-producer)
Missy Elliott and Timbaland already had a rep as mainstream rap's foremost eccentrics and innovators by 2002, but having a substantial chunk of your chorus backmasked into incomprehensible alphabet soup was a bold move even by their standards. Thankfully, everybody got the joke, that the backwards section was actually a rewind of the previous line—"put my thang down, flip it and reverse it"—and the song became another weird, ballsy pop smash for the Virginia duo. Well, almost everybody; there are still some lost souls out there furiously googling to figure out what "fremme neppa venette" means. And they were really in trouble when the follow-up single, "Gossip Folks," arrived.