Born Melissa Elliott in 1971 in Portsmouth, Virginia, Elliott signed to Swing Mob as part of Sista, but the label folded before Sista could release their debut. Elliott began working with producer Timbaland, and worked on collaborations with a large number of other artists before signing to a solo deal with Elektra Records in 1996 (see 1996 in music). Prior to her debut album, Elliott was the featured rap guest on Total's "Trippin'" and MC Lyte's "Cold Rock a Party," both singles in 1996.
Her debut, released in mid-1997, was Supa Dupa Fly, which included "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)", a blockbuster hit that established Elliott as a major force in popular music. Other singles included "Beep Me 911," which featured 702, Timbaland, and Magoo; "Hit 'Em Wit Da Hee," featuring rapper Mocha and Timbaland; and "Sock It 2 Me," a decent-sized hit which featured rhymes from Da Brat and a cameos by her and Lil Kim in the Mega Man-inspired music video. The critical acceptance of Supa Dupa Fly was mixed, though generally positive; many critics commented that the album tracks were far inferior to the singles. 1997 also saw Elliott perform on Lil Kim's girl-power anthem, a hit remix of her song, "Not Tonite". The song's remix also featured Da Brat, Angie Martinez, and Left Eye, in addition to Kim and Elliott; and the five women performed it at 1997's VMAs.
Elliott's second album was just as successful as the first. Da Real World (1999, see 1999 in music) included the singles "All N My Grill," a collaboration with Nicole and Big Boi; "Hot Boyz;" and "She's a Bitch". The same year, Elliott produced and contributed background vocals and some rhymes to former Spice Girl, Mel B's, debut single, "I Think I Want You Back".
Elliott next released Miss E... So Addictive in (2001, see 2001 in music). That album produced the massive singles, "One Minute Man," featuring Ludacris, Trina, and Jay-Z and "Get Ur Freak On," as well as the less successful single, "Take Away," which featured soulful melodies from Ginuwine and the rising star, Tweet, and whose video was made into a loving tribute for their late friend, Aaliyah. Elliott's latest album is 2002's Under Construction (see 2002 in music), which included "Work It", another major hit, and the successful duet with Ludacris, "Gossip Folks," which lets Elliott's critics know what she thinks of what they have to say.
In the summer of 2003, Elliott was the featured rapper on Timbaland and Magoo's long-awaited return single, "Cop That Disc". The song became a modest hit at urban radio. Currently, Elliott's newest single, "Pass The Dutch", from her upcoming fourth album, is rising both the pop and the urban charts.