"I don't think people understood the music."
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Missy Elliott on stage
Credit: Paras Griffin, Getty Images

Missy Elliott has become an icon in the music industry. The "Work It" singer has sold millions of albums and cemented herself as one of the greats of her generation. But just like so many others, she had a tough start to her music career and thought for awhile that she'd never actually make it.

In a conversation for Interview with Doja Cat, published on August 24th, Elliott opened up about her early days and trying to fit in. "I never felt like I fit in, period," she shared. "I don't think there was a lane for the music that we did. The only reason they found a lane is because I was rapping over the tracks. But at first, I don't think people understood the music."

Elliott brought up this point with Doja Cat to acknowledge that the young artist is experiencing some of the same things in her career. Elliott told her that she believes she's starting to carve out her own path with her music, adding, "It probably won't ever fit, but people will love it."

It's a good thing Elliott didn't give up on making music. If she had, we wouldn't have hits like "Get Ur Freak On," "Lose Control," or "Work It." All of these songs—plus more— earned her platinum titles and furthered her career. But despite those massive hits, none of them have hit No. 1, a fact Elliott is painfully aware of, though she doesn't let it get her down. She's put in the work and learned how to get through.

"One thing I always say to people is, coming into this industry, we're just doing what we love to do, and nobody tells us about the ups and downs," she told Doja Cat. "We think we're about to be famous, we're about to get mad bread, and that's it. It's a whole lot that comes with this, and a lot of people don't come in prepared." And that right there is the importance in championing your colleagues, no matter what industry you're in, so it's amazing to see Elliott sharing her wisdom with Doja Cat and anyone else who's willing to listen.