Sunday night, in the middle of Katy Perry's flashy Super Bowl Halftime Show featuring dancing beach balls and sharks, rapper Missy Elliott and her dancers dropped in. They stole the show with a three-song medley of "Get Ur Freak On," "Work It" and "Lose Control." Those songs are, respectively, 14, 13 and 10 years old, so any teenagers watching might be forgiven for assuming Elliott was a brand new act that Perry was introducing to the world.
But Elliott is one of the most revered rappers and producers of her generation. AsMicrophone Check co-host Frannie Kelley tells NPR's Audie Cornish, "Without Missy, there is no Nicki."
Still, she's been quiet lately. Elliott hasn't put out an album of new music since 2005. "She has said that she has Graves' Disease, which is a disease of the thyroid and has very different symptoms depending on the person who has it," Kelley says. "She has said there's been times where she couldn't even pick up a pen to write songs."
"She's also spoken about the pressures of following her wild success less than 10 years ago, and also sort of not being inspired by new sounds, wanting to make something really different, and maybe even also wanting to be an underdog again — to come out and shock the world," says Kelley.
CBS has set another primetime music special for February to capitalize on all of its Grammy marketing. “Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life — An All-Star Grammy Salute” is set to air on Feb. 16.
The two-hour telecast, which will tape two days after the 57th annual Grammy Awards air on Feb. 8, will celebrate Wonder’s impact on music and culture, with notable musicians performing the 25-time Grammy winner’s most famous songs.
“We are thrilled to pay tribute to this legendary man and musician,” said Jack Sussman, CBS’ exec VP of specials, music and live events. “His influence is present in so much of today’s greatest music. This salute will give everyone he’s inspired a chance to show our esteem.”
Earlier this year, CBS aired a Beatles’ 50th anniversary special just days after the Jan. 26 Grammycast, which drew nearly 30 million viewers. The network kicked off its 2015 Grammy programming on Dec. 5 with “A Very Grammy Christmas” special featuring performances by Maroon 5, Tim McGraw and Ariana Grande and the announcement of the album of the year nominees.