Whatever happens in the actual Super Bowl, Sunday’s big game can now actually promise something super. Missy Elliott will join halftime show headliner Katy Perry and previously named guest Lenny Kravitz, according to the Associated Press, which cites a person speaking anonymously because Elliott’s involvement wasn’t announced yet.
Though Perry is in many ways a logical choice for event (see Maura Johnston’s essay, Why Is Katy Perry Playing the Super Bowl?), Missy Elliott’s presence will bring to the proceedings a pioneering legend of modern rap and R&B. I’ll let Jess Harvell tell it, from his Pitchfork review of the essential 2008 greatest-hits album Respect M.E.: “As a triple threat — singer, songwriter, producer/arranger — she’s bested only by Prince and James Brown.” I like Perry’s “Teenage Dream” as much as the next bubblegum-pop addict, but Elliott hits such as “Work It” and “Get Ur Freak On” are Hall of Fame-worthy.
Elliott’s Super Bowl performance would also raise hopes that she might finally be almost finished with her first proper album since 2005′s The Cookbook. Her longtime producer Timbaland said last summer they were working on the record. And with the success of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah last December, there’s recent precedent for a music great making a triumphant return even after an especially extended hiatus.
Missy Elliott hasn’t been completely quiet since her last LP. She performed with Lil’ Kim and Da Brat at last fall’s Soul Train Awards. In 2013, she collaborated with K-Pop star G-Dragon. And in September 2012, she released her then-first songs in four years, “Triple Threat” and “9th Inning.” She also, to bring it all full circle, appeared on Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” remix in 2011.
See Madeline Holden’s essay, 5 Feminist Lessons from Missy Elliott, and watch Missy Elliott’s iconic “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” video below.