Famed rapper and songwriter Missy Elliott revealed that her famous backward hook on her platinum-selling 2002 single, “Work It,” came by accident.
“That was a mistake,” Elliot said in an interview with the Associated Press, speaking about a number of her songwriting credits.
On the hook for the song, which was produced by legendary beatmaker, Timbaland, Elliott raps, “Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup,” or the reverse of “Put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.”
It’s a clever spin on a chorus for the song, which came on her fourth LP, Under Construction. But, it turns out, it all came from the slip of an engineer’s finger in the control room.
“The reverse thing, that was a mistake,” Elliott told AP. “The engineer happened to hit something, and it just went backward, and I was like, ‘Oh that’s kind of crazy’ because it went backward on the beat.”
She added: “So after that happened, I said, ‘Yo, keep that in there and I’m going to write around it.’”
“They thought I was saying all kinds of nasty stuff,” Elliott said. “No, actually, I’m not, this time.”
Following the honor, the Virginia-native wrote on Instagram: “VA all Day I love you #757🙌🏾 We here baby! And I know a lot of people say (Missy it’s bout Time) but this was the right time (God’s Timing)& I am Grateful! This is a moment that I shall never forget & all the people who have been on this journey with me through my ups and downs & sickness I want you all to know how much you mean to me💜💜💜 I am still filled by seeing I have a star amongst so many other great Stars my heart is Smiling and I thank all my SuperFriends and all the female EMCEES before me thank you for being the foundation for me Queens👑 I am HUMBLED! #hollywoodwalkoffame“
Main photo by David Brendan Hall