Missy Elliott broke down a barrier this weekend when she became the first female hip-hop artist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Queen Latifah — another rap legend — introduced Elliott on Friday, Nov. 3, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Nothing sounded the same after Missy came onto the scene,” Latifah said.
Elliott closed the four-hour show by performing a medley of her hits, including “Get Ur Freak On,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” “Work It,” “Pass That Dutch” and “Lose Control.”
Wearing a sparkling gold warm-up suit and matching bucket hat, she worked the stage and at one point took the performance into the star-studded audience.
— Rock Hall (@rockhall) November 4, 2023
In her acceptance speech, the Virginia native praised fellow female rappers Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, MC Lyte, and Roxanne Shanté for paving the way.
“These are the people who inspired me,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them and their music, I probably wouldn’t be standing here.”
Elliott thanked her childhood friend and longtime collaborator, Timbaland. She added that her mother was in the audience and watched her perform live for the first time.
“My mother has never seen me perform in my whole entire career,” she said. “It’s not my mother’s fault. I definitely don’t want to be here saying, ‘She’s a b-tch,’” Elliott quipped, adding that some of her lyrics are too risqué for her church-going mom.
As she ended her speech, the four-time Grammy winner noted the importance of the night in New York City, the birthplace of hip hop.
“This is the 50th anniversary of hip hop. Me just being up here…” she said as she got emotional and her voice began to break. “You just feel like it’s so far to reach when you’re in the hip-hop world. To be standing here, it means so much to me.”
This year’s other inductees included Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, George Michael, Rage Against the Machine and The Spinners.
New Edition paid tribute to The Spinners. Dressed in velvet jackets and matching fedora hats, New Edition sang the group’s hits “I’ll Be Around,” “The Rubberband Man” and “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love.”
Chaka Khan, Al Kooper and Elton John’s songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, received awards for music excellence. The late Don Cornelius was honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers.
The ceremony streamed live for the first time on Disney+. ABC will air a shorter version on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m.