Thank god it’s Thursday, because Missy Elliott just blessed us all with her first new video in seven long years. And to no one’s surprise, but still to everyone’s wild delight, the video for “WTF (Where They From)" featuring Pharrell Williams (who shows up in the video as a marionette puppet) is INCREDIBLE. The 44-year-old rapper is still the queen of innovative music videos, and I love that this one has another dope little girl break dancing. But this time around the video also features 2015 updates like Segway dancers. Seeing as they're collaborating, you might be wondering if Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams are friends. The answer is yes. In fact, these two go all the way back to growing up together.
“WTF" is the first official musical collaboration between the two hip-hop legends, but they have known and loved each other for a long time. Both Elliott and Williams grew up in Virginia, where they and other rappers and producers, including their good friend Timbaland, all got their start together. In fact, Timbaland is the one to thank for the meeting of the minds. Here’s how things got started with Elliott and Williams.
It All Started In Virginia
Virginia has been a hotbed for hip-hop success, including not only Elliott and Williams, but also The Neptunes (the production duo Williams was, of course, a part of), Pusha T, Clipse, and Magoo. And a lot of this success can be attributed to one man: Timothy Zachary Mosley, aka Timbaland. When Timbaland was attending high school at Virginia Beach Salem High School in the late '80s, he started DJing and putting out mixtapes under the name DJ Timmy Tim, getting his mixes out there when he was only 15 years old. He started out with a Casio keyboard to produce, and according to Noisey, he started producing for groups at his high school, including a little group called SBI, whose members included Magoo and Magnum the Verb Lord, who was none other than Pharrell Williams.
Timbaland Gets Wind Of Missy
We really have Timbaland to thank for introducing Elliott and Williams (and obviously for more than two decades of incredible music). Melissa Arnette Elliott didn’t attend the same high school as Timmy Tim and Williams; she went to nearby Woodrow Wilson High School and graduated in 1990. She started an all-girl R&B group called Fayze (later renamed Sista), and mutual friend Melvin Barcliff, aka Magoo, introduced Timbaland and Elliott. The pair had an instant connection, and Timbaland began producing for her, eventually introducing her to Williams, and they have been a Virginia family ever since.
Timbaland Announces "WTF"
In fact, it was Timbaland who announced that Williams and Elliott were going to be putting out a single together! At the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards in June 2015, Timbaland made the official announcement:
I love my sister [Missy] to death. I know the tabloids love to talk, and I’ma say it now. Her first single is from my cousin, and yes we are family, Pharrell. And one thing about VA, we stick together.
It's a family affair!
The BET Awards & The Voice
In recent years, Williams and Elliott have been working together, even if it's not on their own music. Last summer, Williams brought Elliott on-stage with him at the BET Awards for a killer medley of his song "Come Get It Bae" and Elliott's phenomenal and untouchable "Work It."
Elliott also appeared on The Voice as Team Pharrell's celebrity adviser, and the two only had the most loving things to say about each other. Beaming about Elliott coming on the show, Williams told E! News:
I think what's more surprising than anything else is they let two Virginians [work together.] For me, this is huge because Missy is somebody that, we came up together and she just continued to trailblaze. The idea that she would accept to come on the show with us just means the world to me because we just get to show this Virginian camaraderie… This is major to me, in my life.
She echoed the sentiment in the same E! interview, calling Williams her "brother" and reminisced on their roots: " We go back to… We [were] youngins, teenyboppers. [We're] both from Virginia."
So yes, it's safe to say that Elliott and Williams are friends and love each other very much. And not enough credit can be given to the legendary Timbaland for introducing the pair and producing both of their incredible music.
Where they from? Virginia, baby. I suggest you watch the "WTF" video on repeat: