Elliott, one of the biggest influences on rap and pop music for 20 years and counting, just dropped “WTF,” her first new single since 2012 – and it is electrifying.

“WTF” features Pharrell Williams, puppets, Elliott’s signature futuristic vibe, and the unabashed celebration of unapologetic black women.

It’s a combination Elliott has owned since she was 25 years old, staring down the camera for 1997’s “The Rain.”.

Missy Elliott’s musical reach is widespread and undeniable.

As the video for “WTF” makes its way around the internet, I’ve seen more than a few people linking back to Hilton Als’s 1997 profile of Elliott for the New Yorker.

While Elliott’s influence is now ubiquitous, Als caught the then-25-year-old right as her career was about to blow up.

His look into her meticulous production process and sharp eye for satire also makes clear just how long Elliott has been so good, so focused, and so talented, and explains why her beats have blazed hot for years after they dropped.

“I don’t feel limited in any way,” Elliott told Als.

Lucky for us – and as “WTF” proves yet again – Elliott has a habit of distilling her many talents into one relentless beat, and it’s always worth the wait.

Missy Elliott