Even Missy Elliott Doesn't Get Credit for Her Own Songs—and She's Not Alone

The Grammy-winning artist is the latest female producer to speak out about the industry's double standard.

Missy Elliott. (Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Feb 3, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

It doesn't bother Missy Elliott that some young Super Bowl fans had no idea who she was when she took the stage with Katy Perry on Sunday. What does bother the five-time Grammy-winning artist is that most listeners still have no idea she's a writer and producer, in addition to being the only female rapper to have six albums certified platinum.

"Not many women get credit as producers and writers," Elliott tweeted three weeks before her Super Bowl performance. "I have written/produced classics [for] many artist[s]. I'm thankful they believed [in] me."

The issue of female artists not getting credit for their writing or producing isn't specific to Elliott. It's a larger problem in the music industry, and one that Björk recently highlighted in a widely read interview. According to the prolific songster, one reason why some audiences don't realize she mixes her own music is simple: They haven't seen it with their own eyes.

"I remember seeing a photo of Missy Elliott at the mixing desk in the studio and being like, a-ha!" said Björk, suggesting that she, like many others, hadn't assumed Elliott produced her own music until she saw photographic proof of it.

Björk and Elliott are not alone. Forrest Wickman at Slate pointed out that a slew of other female artists had experienced the same exclusion from music credits: Solange Knowles, Grimes, Taylor Swift, M.I.A., and Neko Case are just a few who've publicly cited a double standard for male and female music writers and producers.

Elliott has taken to social media to set the record—that is, her own discography—straight. The musician tweeted the songs that fans might not know she wrote because they were recorded by someone else: "Signs" (Beyoncé), "So Gone" (Monica Brown), "Free Yourself" and "Two Weeks Notice" (Fantasia), and "12 Step" (Ciara), to name just a few of the myriad melodies she's penned for the likes of Aaliyah and Monica. Her album-producing credits include Whitney Houston's Just Whitney, Mary J. Blige's No More Drama, 'N Sync's No Strings Attached, and Mariah Carey's Butterfly.

The record producer's list of writing credits—including her own hits, like "Get Ur Freak On," which some might recognize as the soundtrack to this viral video—makes it all the more ironic that many kids didn't know who she was when she appeared in the Super Bowl halftime show. It was one of her first public performances in a decade, owing to her battle with Graves' disease, a form of hyperthyroidism.

After the performance, searches for her music on iTunes surged as kids got their freak on about her early-aughts chart toppers. According to Billboard, industry sources say that her albums could see a sales increase of around 1,000 percent in the week following the Super Bowl, jumping to an estimated 70,000 downloads sold—up from 6,000 the week prior.

"I think it's cool [that] kids think I'm a new artist," she tweeted on Monday, adding that the newfound interest in her music is proof that she can still "rip down stages."

Her next battle: ripping down stereotypes about female artists.