One of Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Albums of the 90s”, Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly put a new spin on female hip-hop. The futuristic sounds and visuals were unlike anything that we were accustomed to hearing or seeing at that time. As well as bringing her into the forefront, this album also cemented the unmistakably unique “Timbaland and Missy sound” that had been showcased on other artists’ projects (such as Aaliyah’s One in a Million) prior to her own solo release.
Supa Dupa Fly is fairly mid-tempo and R&B heavy with it’s fair share of features. The first half of the album is more memorable and carries the weight as the second half seems to get lost a bit in its shadows.
“Hit ‘Em Wit Da Hee,” which pairs Missy with Lil Kim, cracked the top 40 in the UK, but was not met with the same success in the US. “Sock It 2 Me”, featuring Da Brat and sampling The Delfonics’ “Ready Or Not Here I Come”, contains simple chords, horns, and hard hitting drums that proved to be successful in that era and added to its commercial appeal.
Perhaps the most well known track, and my favorite, is “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” Its use of Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain,” the unforgettable “beep beep who got the keys to the jeep” lyric, along with the infamous shiny suit and cameos in the video made it the perfect single to drive Missy’s debut. It was outside of the box, and sparked an interest in what she was bringing to hip hop.
Supa Dupa Fly was risky and different but as we’ve witnessed over the years by way of subsequent albums, Missy Elliott is no stranger to risk and innovation.