Missy Elliott surprised fans at midnight on Thursday with a new five-track EP, titled Iconology. Produced by Elliott, Timbaland and Wili Hendrix, it is the long-awaited follow-up to her 2005 sixth studio album, The Cookbook.
The video for the lead single “Throw It Back” pays homage to the old school while remaining fresh, with Elliott fronting a bevy of adept dancers who take to the streets, Double Dutch jump rope and even get down in space in the new visual. “Let’s #ThrowItBack to a time when music just felt good and made us want to dance!” she teased via her Twitter account on Thursday.
To wit, the colorful video, which costars Teyana Taylor, offers plenty of dance moves along with references to the past, while looking to the future. Over a rumbling bass, she references her classic “Work It” with a knowing wink when she instructs her posse of dancers to “flip it and reverse it” and there’s a past and present nod to the MTV VMA Moon Man statue when the legend is seen in a space suit planting her own Missy Elliott-initialed flag on the moon. On Monday, she will receive the MTV Video Vanguard Award, bestowed on honorees for their lifetime achievements.
Iconology is notably Elliott’s first record release in 14 years. The rapper-singer has openly struggled with Graves’ disease: an autoimmune thyroid condition that kept her from even holding a pen some days, and nearly caused a car wreck. Still, Elliott enthralled listeners with scores of one-off singles and collaborations: from 2015’s “WTF (Where They From)” to her most recent feature in Lizzo’s 2019 track, “Tempo.”
This year, Elliott became the first female rapper to receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. She was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Iconology Track List
1. “Throw It Back”
2. “Cool Off”
3. “DripDemeanor (Feat. Sum 1)”
4. “Why I Still Love You?”
5. “Why I Still Love You? (Acapella)”