Missy Elliott still can’t quite believe that she will be the first female rap artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday night (Nov. 3). Speaking to‘s Robin Roberts on Thursday morning (Nov. 2), Elliott said she always dreamed of being a “superstar… I never wavered. I never changed. I said it every time,” but after three decades in the music business the 52-year-old Grammy-winning rapper said her latest accolade is unfathomable.
Elliott said “words cannot describe” how honored she is to take the stage tomorrow night alongside fellow 2023 inductees Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine and The Spinners. She told Roberts that as an artist from the hip-hop world, Rock Hall enshrinement seemed “so far out of reach.” Plus, with this being the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, Elliott said the Hall of Fame kudos is further proof that “no matter what people say the hip-hop world is something special and unique.”
Joking that as a kid her family once convinced her that she was related to another one of this year’s inductees, musical excellence honoree R&B legend Chaka Khan, Elliott said being ushered in alongside the likes of Nelson and Crow is indescribable. “To be even at a table with them is a blessing, past a blessing, there’s got to be a bigger word than that,” she said.
After tomorrow night, Elliott will be among just a handful of rappers whose plaques are on display at the RRHOF museum in Cleveland, joining such icons as Jay-Z, LL Cool J, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, N.W.A, Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys, Run-DMC and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. And though some critics might quibble at the elastic definition of rock and roll that has found artists who don’t play what is traditionally considered amplified, guitar-based rock music, Elliott said in her mind rock, like hip-hop, is a “gumbo of different styles of music.”
Elliott will be inducted by her friend of 20 years, Queen Latifah, who she praised as someone who, “come before me, open that door, left it open… And I owe so many flowers, bouquets. It’s not enough bouquets for those women that came before me. And she’s one of those women.” In addition, Elliott’s mother will be in the house at the 38th annual induction ceremony on Friday night (Nov. 3) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Believe it or not, Elliott’s mom has never seen her perform live before. “She’s never been to a show because, you know, I had some little words I didn’t ever want her to hear,” Elliott told GMA. “And so she’s comin’ for the first time.”
Tomorrow night’s event will feature presenters and performers Olivia Rodrigo, Stevie Nicks, Adam Levine, Carrie Underwood, Elton John, Brandie Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, H.E.R., New Edition, St. Vincent, Common, Ice-T, LL Cool J, Miguel, Latifah and Sia. Other inductees this year include DJ Kool Herc and Link Wrap for musical influence, Khan, Al Kooper and Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin for musical excellence and Soul Train host Don Cornelius for the Ahmet Ertegun Award.
The induction ceremony will be broadcast live coast-to-coast on Disney+ on Friday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will be available to stream following the ceremony. ABC will air a three-hour prime-time special, 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, featuring performance highlights and standout moments on Jan. 1 (8-11 p.m. ET), available the next day on Hulu and Disney+.
Check out Elliott’s interview below.