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A five-time Grammy Award-winning rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer and producer, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott has consistently pushed the boundaries of hip hop with a string of classic hit singles — such as "Get Ur Freak On," "Work It," "Lose Control" and "Gossip Folks." She is also a formidable businesswoman who retains full creative control over her music, videos and productions.

A longtime collaborator with her childhood friend from Virginia, the producer Tim "Timbaland" Mosley, she has also worked with Jay Z, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Madonna, Janet Jackson and many more.

Missy Elliott was born Melissa Arnette Elliott on July 1, 1971, in Portsmouth, Virginia. While Ronnie was still a Marine, the family lived in a mobile home in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but he struggled for work after the army and they moved back to Portsmouth, living in a rat-infested shack.

Ronnie was violent, and beat Patricia in front of their daughter; Missy experienced more trauma at age eight when she was raped by an older cousin.

She was hailed by The New Yorker as the "biggest and blackest female rap star that Middle America has ever seen," who had "avoided the prevailing stereotypes of the music-video industry." Meaning she did not pander to the male gaze as many female artists did — or felt compelled to do — during the height of the MTV era.

She projected confidence through her personal style instead, donning an inflatable body suit and outsized shades in the video for "The Rain," and a red-and-white space suit for "Sock It to Me." Her message has always been that women "are equal to men, as important as men and as powerful" noted the fashion magazine Dazed retrospectively, in 2016.

I wish they all got a chance to meet you to see how CARING you were to EVERYONE you met!

She continued her prolific work rate, co-writing and co-producing two songs for Whitney Houston's 1998 album, The music industry had never seen anyone quite like Missy Elliott.

Missy grew up in the Baptist faith, and has said that her religious beliefs will always be a large part of her life.

She explained in 2003 that her faith helped her cope with her childhood abuse — and subsequent depression. "I believe in a higher being, and that gives me faith to be strong and go on."Her most recent album has been in 2005 — on which she helped spark the EDM boom by sampling Cybotron's early techno classic, "Clear," on the single "Lose Control." But by 2008 she began experiencing dramatic weight loss and was diagnosed with Graves disease — a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland.

Elliott is a positive role model who projects strength, confidence and female empowerment — but has never sacrificed her sense of fun or her capacity to entertain.

And after more than two decades in hip hop, she is still at the top of the game. Marine at the time of her birth, and Patricia, who later worked for a power company.

Beats like "One In A Million," "Are You That Somebody," "We Need A Resolution," "Try Again" and "More Than A Woman."Although the duo collaborated on more than just the listed, these few selections have without a doubt acted as an inspiration to many R&B artists today.

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