7 Songs You Didn’t Know Missy Elliott Wrote for Other Artists

In 2019, Missy Elliott made history. The five-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and producer was the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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Even before debuting with Supa Dupa Fly in 1997, Elliott was already writing for and producing other artists. Credited by her real name Melissa A. Elliott, the rapper has written and produced songs for Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Fantasia, and Monica, from the mid-’90s to the 2010s.

Here are seven songs Missy Elliott has written for other artists for nearly 30 years.

1. “One In A Million,” Aaliyah (1996)
Written by Missy Elliott and Timothy Z. Mosley (Timbaland); Produced by Timbaland

Coming off the major success of her 1994 debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, produced by R. Kelly, then newcomers, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, were brought on board to write one song for her second album, which turned into eight tracks, including the hit single “One In a Million.”

Intro’d by Missy Elliott’s sultry refrain of Love it babe, Love it babe, Love it babe, “One In A Million,” written by Elliott and Timbaland and released on Aaliyah’s album of the same name, centers around the excitement of finding real, true love.

Baby, you don’t know what you do to me
Between me and you I feel a chemistry
I won’t let no one
Come and take your place
‘Cause the love you give, it can’t be replaced

So, no one else love me like you do
That’s why I don’t mind to spend my life with you
I want to please you in any way I can
I want to share my world, don’t you understand?

Recorded between August 1995 and July 1996, One In a Million features collaborations with Jermaine Dupri, Darryl Simmons, Carl-So-Lowe, J. Dibbs, Darren Lighty, Kay Gee, Vincent Herbert, Rodney Jerkins, and Craig King with guest appearances from Elliott, Timbaland, Slick Rick, and Treach.

Timbaland and Elliott formed a tight bond with Aaliyah after working on the album and ended up co-writing “Are You Feelin’ Me?” one of several tracks performed by Aaliyah for the soundtrack of the 2000 martial arts action film Romeo Must Die, which featured the late actress in her film debut and first starring role, alongside Jet Li.

The pair also wrote and composed tracks on Aaliyah’s third and final self-titled album, which was released more than a month before the R&B singer’s untimely death on Aug. 25, 2001, at the age of 22.

2. “Babydoll,” Mariah Carey (1997)
Written by Missy Elliott and Mariah Carey

Released on her sixth album Butterfly, “Babydoll,” which was never released as a single, showcases Carey’s buttery vocals dripping over tantalizing lyrics:

Zonin’ out thinkin’ about
You and me between the sheets
I wanna get intimate
But you’re not within my reach
So I’ll have a little more wine
And I’ll try to drink you out of my head

The album also features songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, tracks produced by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, and more, along with a cover of Prince’s Purple Rain track “The Beautiful Ones,” featuring R&B group Dru Hill.

3. “In My Business,” Whitney Houston, featuring Missy Elliott (1998)
Written and produced by Missy Elliott, Kelvin “K.B.” Bradshaw, and Lloyd “Spec” Turner

Off Whitney Houston’s fourth album, My Love Is Your Love features songs written by everyone from Wyclef Jean, David Foster, Lauryn Hill, and Babyface. Missy Elliott produced and co-wrote “In My Business,” along with Kelvin “K.B.” Bradshaw and Lloyd “Spec” Turner, a song examining some of the outside noise and external jealousies surrounding a relationship.

Baby why I get so many people telling me 
They seen you up in the mall 
Are they mistaking 
All up on some chick 
As though I don’t exist 
What is this

Why they all in my business 
It’s just too ridiculous 
I can’t get no sleep 
They just keep warning me 
Should I believe it 
They say I don’t need it 
Don’t they know I made up my mind, my mind

The trio also co-wrote and produced a second track on Houston’s album called “Oh Yes.”

4. “Confessions,” Destiny’s Child, featuring Missy Elliott (1999)
Written and produced by Missy Elliott, Donald Holmes, and Gerard Thomas

Missy Elliott co-wrote and produced “Confessions” for Destiny’s Child’s second album, The Writing’s on the Wall. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in 1999, earned Destiny’s Child six Grammy nominations, and was certified platinum eight times, selling more than 6.4 million copies in the U.S. alone. For the Japanese edition of the album, Elliott also penned the track “Get on the Bus” with Timbaland, who is also featured on the track.

He put his arms around my waist
Knowin’ I need lovin’ then he
Gently grabbed my face
He kissed me like a guy could never
Kiss a girl before
So you know what happened baby
I need to say no more

5. “Where My Girls At?” 702 (1999)
Written and produced by Missy Ellott, Eric L. Seats, and Rapture D. Stewart

Originally written for TLC’s third album, FanMail, Missy Elliott ended up producing “Where My Girls At?” with Keybeats for the R&B group 702 as the first single off the group’s self-titled album. Elliott also co-wrote and produced the 702 track “Gotta Leave” with Eric Seats and Rapture Stewart.

Now of these other chicks don’t even come close to you
Anythin’ less than a dime, ain’t negotiable
There holla Fabolous when I swing the Testarossa through
Maybe cause I’m close to Clue, I be in posters too
I rock so much ice, you need shades for a closer view
I beep the horn, that’s the most I do
Like what this player supposed to do
Fuck it, pack your bags, let’s spend the weekend in Costa boo
You feelin’ that?

6. “Signs,” Beyoncé, featuring Missy Elliott (2003)
Written and produced by Missy Elliott, Nisan Stewart, and Craig Brockman

Missy returned to work with former Destiny’s Child singer Beyoncé for her 2003 debut, Dangerously in Love, writing the track “Signs.” Though the song was never released as a single, the album earned Beyoncé five Grammy awards in 2004, including Best Contemporary R&B Album.

In December every sign has it’s own mode
I was in love with a Sagittarius
See the emotions he put me through
From Capricorns to Aquarius
They all got their different minds
The affection of a Virgo
Which sign matches good with mine

I was in love with a Sagittarius he blew my mind
He also had a flip side too much like a Gemini
He was freaky like a Taurus the way he handled me yeah
Flirtatious like and Aries
Which sign is best for me?

7. “Burn It Up!” Janet Jackson, featuring Missy Elliott (2015)
Written and produced by Missy Elliott, Janet Jackson, Dwayne Allen Abernathy, James Samuel III Harris, and Terry Steven Lewis

Mostly a personal collection of songs, Janet Jackson’s 11th album, Unbreakable, explored some subjects close to the artist’s life, including the death of her brother Michael in 2009 and aspects of her childhood. “Burn It Up” is a more uptempo synthesized track that makes a break for the dance floor.

When the DJ play this we gon’ dance like no one’s watching
Hey Mr DJ, drop that track and won’t you turn it up
I’ma dance all night and I don’t care who’s out there watching us
Just give me that fire and I’ma show you how to burn it up
When the DJ play this we gon’ dance like no one’s watching
Hey Mr DJ, drop that track and won’t you turn it up
I’ma dance all night and I don’t care who’s out there watching us
Just give me that fire and I’ma show you how to burn it up (come on)

“Burn It Up!” also marked the fourth time Jackson and Elliott collaborated. The two first became friends while working on Jackson’s 1998 hit “Son of a Gun”—off Jackson’s seventh album, All For You—which also featured Carly Simon, who also helped co-write the track.

Photo: Atlantic Records

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