Missy Elliott has worked with just about everyone in the past year — from touring with Beyoncé and Alicia Keys to recording with Christina Aguilera to producing tracks for Fantasia, Ciara and Tweet. So who's going to be working with her on her new record? Elliott's playing coy, but she promises that there will be some recognizable names in the liner notes.
"I don't want to say who the people are," Elliott said. "But oh yes, the artists that I've worked with will be on my album."
Elliott also promised that the album, which she recently finished, is a return to form. She also had to struggle a bit more this time around.
"It was a process," she said. "I didn't get a chance while I was out on the road to get in the studio, but I went [afterward] and it wasn't the right way. And then I took a minute, took a break, and went back in — and it's my favorite album I've ever done, out of all my albums. If people like Under Construction, they'll triple-times love this album."
There's no title or release date for the project yet, though Elliott joked that "it'll be out in the blink of an eye." Sooner to come will be Elliott's hip-hop boot-camp version of "American Idol," called "The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott," which premieres Wednesday (January 5) at 8 p.m. ET on UPN (see "Missy Elliott's 'Project': Hip-Hop Boot Camp, Hold The Cheesecake").
The rapper said the reality show wasn't just an elimination contest, because she tries to teach the contestants valuable skills, like when she took them on a stop of the Ladies First Tour with her to give them a sense of what it's like to have to captivate and command an audience. "You don't just get out there and perform," she said. "You have to get out there and tell them, 'Wave your hands like this!' and go, 'Let me find somebody I'm going to take home!' You have to interact with the audience, make them feel like they know you. And I wanted them to see what it's like on stage, what it's like to have a whole big stage show and piece stuff together, so they had a chance to see a lot of things from me."
The lucky winner — who not only gets $100,000 but also Elliott as the producer for his or her first single — will be determined during the show's finale.
"These are real, regular kids," Elliott said. "Some people who are unfortunate, some who are struggling, or have kids, and they would do anything to make it, whether they had to rob somebody before or whatever the case may be. This is the real world, and they're trying to change their life. They've been dreaming of this since they were kids, like, 'If somebody could just hear me.' And I guess I'm the person who heard."