I have never been more emotionally invested in the chatty afterglow of a Super Bowl, the national championship of a sport that I couldn't give 1.5 fucks about. I am here for Missy Elliott. Luckily, Missy Elliott is here for me.
On Sunday, Super Bowl XLIX halftime show headliner Katy Perry brought Missy out as a surprise guest during her unflappably cartoonish set. I like Katy Perry, and suburban America loves Katy Perry, but Katy Perry bringing out Missy Elliott is sorta like Jay Z bringing out Beyonce: upstage ya. For sake of comparison, Katy Perry is on track to realize a 75 percent weekly sales increase in digital purchases of her singles, whereas Missy Elliott is on track to realize a 1,000 percent bump, mostly from younger consumers who'd apparently never heard "Get Ur Freak On" or "Work It" until three days ago.
I'd be happy enough with just a Missy resurgence, however brief; but wait, there's more. There's Ginwuine, who's about to catch a bump in royalty payments due to the prominent placement of his biggest hit, "Pony," in a viral trailer for Magic Mike XXL, a film about strippers. Male strippers. Meanwhile Timbaland is outchea discovering rap prodigies and scoring a television show that I don't hate, despite the presence of Terrence Howard. Empire, a Lee Daniels drama about an ailing hip-hop mogul and record label shenanigans, is already developing an online following, and it's so far impressed TV critics as well.
The music featured on Empire is deliberately unbearable, however. Unlike the music of Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Ginuwine, and Aaliyah, who, while no longer with us, rounds out the legacy and impact of the Supa Dupa Fly crew. (Magoo, too, I guess.)
Just on the strength of her Super Bowl cameo alongside Katy Perry, who has the personality of a beach ball, Missy Elliott just shot to the top of various paid streaming services' music charts, including the iTunes Music Store. While we now know that Missy Elliott has still got it, it's amazing to think that most of her hit records charted before the iTunes Music Store even existed. My older sister possibly owned Supa Dupa Fly and Aaliyah's One in a Million on cassette. Rosa sat so Martin could march, so Obama could run, so Justin could stream, etc.
Accordingly, I can't wait to see what's in store for Ginuwine once a hundred thousand moviegoers flock to see that Magic Mike sequel in its first week out. I used to live in Washington, D.C., and I know Ginuwine is frequently spotted at Pentagon City Mall, just chilling, and doing catastrophic Good Morning America appearances with Tank and Tyrese. I just want dude to live better than that. "In Those Jeans" aside, Ginuwine never got quite right after splitting with Timbaland after his third album, The Life. Scott Storch and Danja couldn't save Ginuwine's career, but surely Timbaland and Channing Tatum have got the juice in 2015.
Nostalgia is corny and unproductive, I know. Even in my praise of Missy Elliott and Timbaland, I say all of this as someone who resents any bar or nightclub that hosts any sort of "'90s Hip-Hop Night," at the expense of playing hit records targeted toward music fans younger than 33 years old. It's 2015. I'm not tryna hear Biz Markie/Aesop Rock mash-ups while I'm dancing. Play some Thugger and Ferg, or Charli XCX.
Thing is, Missy Elliott isn't just great. Missy Elliott is timeless. While much of Timbaland's mid-career pop production and late hip-hop production was immediately dated and has aged terribly, his work with Missy is the most truly, consistently futuristic production of his career. And Missy's flow withstands all tests of time, with many practitioners of pop, rap, and poprap so clearly indebted to her serpentine rhyming style, and to her trollish, gum-smacking funk.
I like Taylor Swift, for instance, and I enjoy 1989, but "Shake It Off" sounds like it could've been made by Vanessa Carlton in 2002. Meanwhile "Lose Control" sounds like it was made by a yet unidentified species on a planet with an unpronounceable name, in a solar system that exists outside our space-time continuum entirely.
Who else you know was rocking track suits made of mercury, kryptonite, and lasers in 1998?
Al Shipley, a Complex contributor, did us all a solid last spring in his creation of a Spotify playlist of Missy Elliott deep cuts. You should listen to it. Even if you're 11 years old and/or unfamiliar with Missy's hit records, much less her b-sides, you should at least deep dive her music videos, which used to cost a million dollars a pop, back when rap music was profitable. My favorite Missy Elliott record is "She's a Bitch," which is one of the most expensive rap music videos of all time.
Three months after Lifetime's god-awfully botched Aaliyah biopic, finally we can all move onward and upward with our lives. A year after "Fancy" and Iggy Azalea warped hip-hop into serialized mockery and angst, here we are rejoicing in the past, present, and anticipated future of a black queen who taught many of us how to dance. Missy tweeted three days ago that she's reuniting with Timbaland, who's meanwhile reuniting with Ginuwine to produce his new solo album, 2015 Same Ol' G. That's a regressive, goofy-ass album title, but whatever. Singer Tweet, of "Oops (Oh My)" fame, may or may not also be in the mix. Few of us are worthy of any of this. It's all rather exciting.
Late last year I (allegedly) insulted the legacy of Magoo. In the name of grace and good vibes, I take it all back. Love all you guys. Missy especially. You look good, girl.
A photo posted by @ginuwine on Nov 20, 2014 at 5:06am PST