Way Back Wednesday: Missy Elliot, Incubus

A weekly video spotlight on artists who came up pre-'00s

Welcome to another installment of Way Back Wednesday, where I remind you of some classic groups or artists from way back... 


If you're like me, you were pleasantly surprised when you watched the halftime show of this year's Superbowl, and saw Missy Elliot snatch the spotlight from Katy Perry. It's been a long time coming. Missy hasn't made headlines like that since 2005, the year of her last album release. She recently announced that she's back in the studio, and working on new material with two of the best producers in the game (one of them a frequent collaborator): Timbaland and Pharrell Williams.

Background: Missy started her illustrious career in the group Sista. When she formed the group in 1991, she reached out to a friend that she grew up with, Timothy Mosley aka Timbaland, to produce. Thus, Timbaland began his career with Sista, leading to his lifelong friendship and creative partnership with Missy. Back then, he wasn't the super producer who'd eventually help launch Missy's career; that honor went to Jodeci producer, DeVante Swing. DeVante signed Elliot and immediately put her to work co-writing for Jodeci; 1993's Diary of a Mad Band marked the first-ever album appearances of both Missy (credited as Misdimeanor and featured with Sista) and Timbaland.

Missy and Timbaland soon realized they were best served as a team, and began writing and producing numerous hits for groups like SWV, 702 and at the time, budding R&B pop star Aaliyah. Missy worked closely with and mentored Aaliyah, and she and Timbaland helped re-launch Aaliyah's career with their heavy involvement on majority of her second album, 1996's One In A Million. 

Noteworthy Albums: It wasn't until 1997 that Missy finally got a chance to show the world how talented she was with the release of her solo debut, Supa Dupa Fly. Timbaland produced, and he remained a consistent presence on all of her albums that followed. Lead single "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" became an instant classic with its alternative, futuristic funky sound and a video that was considered rather odd at the time, but also fresh and original. "Sock It To Me," "Beep Me 911," and "Hit Em Wit Da Hee" also proved popular, and the album was quickly certified platinum. Follow-up Da Real World dropped in 1999 and it, too, spawned some hits — "She's A Bitch," "Hot Boyz" and "All In My Grill" — but didn't quite live up to the groundbreaking Supa Dupa Fly.

"The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly"

"Sock It To Me"

"She's A Bitch"

"Hot Boyz" Feat. Nas, Eve, and Lil Mo

******


In a radio interview while on the road with his solo band Sons of the Sea last February, Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd announced that some new music from his main band would drop in 2015. New single "Absolution Calling" dropped in February and a four-track EP, Trust Fall (Side A), is due May 15 via Island Records. UPDATE: This just in - Incubus has announced a summer co-headlining tour with Deftones, and it happens to hit MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Thurs., Aug. 13, 2015.

Background: Calabasas, Calif. spawned Incubus in 1991, but it'd be many years later before the group would become the alt rock supernova they are today. Incubus started off mixing rap, rock and grooves into a sort of funk metal brew, but have evolved over the years to a cleaner, more ear-wormy, radio-friendly sound, which earned Incubus plenty of new fans while losing the ones originally drawn to their more outside-the-box style.

Noteworthy Albums: The media seemed to view Incubus as a Rage Against The Machine or Red Hot Chili Peppers knock-off when they first hit in the mid-1990s. By 1997, after signing to Epic and releasing a second album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E.; "A Certain Shade of Green" was its first single, and the band finally had charter in third single "New Skin." But it wasn't until releasing critically acclaimed Make Yourself in the fall of 1999 that Incubus saw real success, and it came with a noticeable shift in sound. Gone were Brandon Boyd's rapped vocals, replaced by tuneful singing that showed off actual range. The guitar and drums were less aggressive and the funk metal-ishness was abandoned in favor of a spacier, more groove-oriented and electro-spliced alt rock sound. Incubus also changed DJs while recording Make Yourself; DJ Lyfe was asked to leave the band and DJ Kilmore took his place. "Drive," "Pardon Me" and "Stellar" all proved hits, and drove the album to double platinum status. In 1999, Incubus became bonafide rock stars, the shift in style setting a benchmark for future releases.  

"A Certain Shade Of Green"

"Drive"

"Stellar"

"Pardon Me"


******


What's your favorite Missy Elliott jam? What about Incubus? Are you one of those fans that liked Incubus back in the day, but stopped digging their "newer" sound when it shifted in 1999?

Thanks for reading. See ya'll next week!

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