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Missy Elliott is one of popular music’s greatest innovators. This year is the 25th anniversary of Missy’s classic debut album, Supa Dupa Fly. When that album dropped, Missy’s unconventional rhyme schemes paired with her childhood friend Timbaland’s futuristic production set a precedent for what was creatively possible in hip-hop. And throughout her career, Missy’s maintained that same level of playful creativity.

This year Missy broke records when she was recognized as having more platinum albums than any other female rapper. She’s also the first female MC to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for songs she’s written for Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, and Aaliyah’s biggest hits: “One In A Million,” and “If Your Girl Only Knew.”

Today, Rick Rubin talks to Missy Elliott about her wide-reaching influence and creative process. She explains what it was like writing for Aaliyah, who was one of the first artists to embrace Missy and Timbaland’s unique style. She also talks about why she and Timbaland made a pact not to listen to any other music while recording her debut album.

Hear a playlist of all of our favorite Missy Elliott songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…