Where exactly has Missy Elliott been for the last decade?

The much-loved hip-hop star has been MIA for over a decade

In July 2005, Missy Elliott release her most recent album, The Cookbook.

Receiving universal critical praise and spawning the hit singles "Lose Control", "Teary Eyed" and "We Run This", the LP was a huge success, her sixth album since the genre-changing debut Supa Dupa Fly in July 1997.

In the following year, her Best Of album Respect M.E. was released, and was another big seller for the artist. In 2008, she provided "Ching-A-Ling" and "Shake Your Pom Pom" to the Step Up 2: The Streets soundtrack. Not long afterwards, "Best, Best" was released, announced as the first single from Missy's seventh album, Block Party.

That was eight years ago, and if you've never heard of "Best, Best" or Block Party, don't worry. You're not alone.

For several years, Missy Elliott simply dropped off the map. It would be seven years before she would release a fully-fledged new single, and fans distressed that maybe the rap star had simply retired from the business.

However, after several years of silence, it was revealed in an interview with People magazine that Elliott had been diagnosed with Graves disease, a form of hyperthyroid disorder. Severe spasms almost caused the artist to crash her car, and even built up to such a degree that she could no longer hold a pen to write songs.

Once treatment had begun and the symptoms began to dissipate, Elliott wasn't long before diving head first back into music, but things got off to a wobbly start. In 2012, Missy teamed with her regular producer/collaborator Timbaland to release two concurrent comeback singles, "9th Inning" and "Triple Threat", both also tied to the long-delayed Block Party album.

Unlike their mega-hit previous collaborations - "Get UR Freak On", "Work It" or "Pass That Dutch", for example -  neither of the songs left much of an impression with the public, and Missy was forced to go back to the drawing board.

Elliott continued to write, produce for other artist's as well as contribute rap verses, including Janet Jackson ("BurnItUp!"), Demi Lovato ("All Night Long"), Jack U ("Take U There"), Little Mix ("How You Doin'?") and Katy Perry ("Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)"), and it was this last collaboration that proved to be the catalyst to her ultimate return to the spotlight.

During the 2015 Superbowl Half-Time show, headliner Katy Perry surprised everyone by bringing out Missy to perform a medley of "Get UR Freak On", "Work It" and "Lose Control", which delighted long-time fans, while simultaneously exciting and baffling newbies.

 

Wow...kids don't know their music history. #MissyElliot

A photo posted by Wilhite Webster (@lacastrophe) on

Off the back of the event, Missy's albums and singles sales and streams sky-rocketed, and just a few months later, Elliott teamed up with Pharrell Williams for her proper, call-to-arms return single "WTF (Where They From)", appearing on multiple Best Singles Of 2015 lists, and Rolling Stone called the accompanying music-video the best of the year.

Coming full circle, Missy then released "Pep Rally" over Superbowl 2016 weekend, first teased during this hilarious Alec Baldwin-starring Superbowl advert, and soon afterwards released in it's entirety. Another insanely catchy, explosive, pop/hip-hop song, it confirms the one thing fans have been waiting a decade to hear:

Missy Elliott is back.