It's been nearly a decade since Missy Elliott's last solo album, 2005's The Cookbook, but Timbaland says a new one may be on its way. "It's coming," the rapper's longtime producer and songwriting partner tells Rolling Stone. "It's on her. She got the first single, it's just a matter of when she wants to do it. We got the hollow-tip bullet in the gun. We have the game-changer right there," he says, making the sound of a gun firing.
Asked what that bullet sounds like, Timbaland remains vague: "It's something you ain't never heard Missy do. It sounds today, but the future."
Despite their close relationship, the two artists work in an unusual way. "I've never watched her record, never in my whole career," he continues. "I do it, she be like, 'OK, I got it,' and I leave the room. She kicks us out. That's how she do it: She does everything herself."
In 2012, Elliott released two new Timbaland-produced songs, "9th Inning" and "Triple Threat," but in the following years her output has been limited to feature appearances. In 2013, she had verses on Little Mix's "I Deserve It" and Fantasia's "Without Me," and earlier this year she and Sharaya J, an artist signed to her the Goldmind Inc., rapped over Faith Evans' "I Deserve It."
Timbaland, meanwhile, co-produced much of Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, Jay Z's Magna Carta... Holy Grail and Michael Jackson's posthumous Xscape. He tells us he's at work on a solo album called Opera Noir he describes as his Purple Rain. "I have no features on it," he says. "It's all about truth and what's going on around us."