In the Nineties, much of the conversation about hip-hop was dominated by the tension between the East and West Coasts. The South was putting out tons of incredible rap records, too, but almost nobody was paying any attention to Portsmouth, Virginia. With 1997’s Supa Dupa Fly, Missy Elliott and Tim “Timbaland” Mosley changed that — and gave the world a taste of the future.
Missy and Timbaland met as teenagers in Virginia and soon found they were musical soulmates. As they explain to Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield in the latest episode of our 500 Greatest Albums of All Time podcast, that friendship translated into some of the most lasting and adventurous music of the decade. Both were content working as behind-the-scenes players, but once Missy was coaxed into making a solo album, the pair knocked out Supa Dupa Fly in an incredible two weeks. Missy’s voice and delivery were one-of-a-kind, whether she was singing, rapping, or just yelling, “Beep beep!” Both explain the stories behind the songs, including how Tim created the incredible Southern soul space-funk beat for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
In September, Rolling Stone unveiled the new version of the 500 Greatest Albums poll. It’s a completely updated version of our most read, most argued-over list ever, made with help from a group of voters that included Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and members of U2, as well as writers, critics, and figures from across the music industry.
Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums goes inside the making and the meaning of 10 albums from the list, featuring fresh stories from the artists who recorded them and insights from the Rolling Stone staff.
The podcast appears exclusively on Amazon Music, with new episodes each week. Listen to every episode, including the one on Supa Dupa Fly, right here.
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