Melissa Arnette Elliott (born July 1, 1971) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress and philanthropist. She embarked on her music career with all-female R&B group Sista in the early-mid 1990s and later became a member of the Swing Mob collective along with childhood friend and longtime collaborator Timbaland, with whom she worked on projects for Aaliyah, 702, Total, and SWV. Following several collaborations and guest appearances, she launched her solo career on July 15, 1997, with her debut album Supa Dupa Fly, which spawned the top 20 single “Sock It 2 Me”. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, the highest-charting debut for a female rapper at the time.
Elliott’s second album, Da Real World, was released on June 22, 1999, and produced the singles “She’s a Bitch”, “All n My Grill”, and top five hits “Hot Boyz.” The remix of the latter song broke the record for most weeks at number-one on the US R&B chart on the issue dated January 15, 2000; as well as spending 18 weeks at number one on the Hot Rap Singles chart, from December 4, 1999, to March 25, 2000. With the release of Miss E… So Addictive (2001), Under Construction (2002), and This Is Not a Test (2003), Elliott established an international career that yielded hits including “Get Ur Freak On,” “One Minute Man,” “4 My People,” “Gossip Folks,” and “Work It.” The latter won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rap Solo Performance.
Elliott went on to win four Grammy Awards and sell over 30 million records in the United States. She is the best-selling female rapper in Nielsen Music history, according to Billboard in 2017. In 2019, she released her first extended play, titled Iconology, became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and received the MTV VMAs Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her impact on the music video landscape.