How To Rap Like Missy Elliott

In this video, I’m going to show you why Missy Elliott has one of the dopest Rap Flows in the game by breaking down her verse on a new song she did with Skrillex called RaTaTa


True Talent

The first thing you need to understand about Missy Elliott is this. In the music industry, there are a lot of artists who aren’t the real talent behind the creation of the songs they’re performing, they’re just the package that’s used to sell the song and make it cool. For example, some artists don’t write their own lyrics or make their own beats, they are simply performing songs other people wrote for them.

When it comes to Missy Elliott, she is the full package. Not only does she write her own lyrics, make her own beats, and perform her own songs but she produces other artists as well. And this is why she could have never been a 1 hit wonder because she is a true talent who’s been putting out bangers since the 90’s.

Now with that being said, to get started I’m going to play Missy’s verse so you can hear and see her rap flow in real time, and then I’m going to show you some of the main takeaways that make her rap flow sound so incredible and unique! Let’s get it!

BARS 01-08

BARS 08-16



Now one thing that’s causing Missy’s rap flow to sound so bouncy and 3D like, almost as if it’s popping out of the speakers, is how she weaves in and out of the green 8th notes and the orange 16th notes. The 8th notes feel smooth and calm and the orange notes jump out and feel aggressive which gives it that bouncy feel.


Now another major thing that Missy is doing here that makes her rap flow so unique is how she doesn’t land a lot of her 8th notes on beat. And you may be thinking, well if she’s not landing on beat isn’t that a bad thing? No, and here’s why.


In rap we stress the importance of landing on beat which is important. Beats are simply the division of a bar into 4 even pieces. But there are many more places to land within a beat because you can think of there being beats within beats which I like to call “Sub Beats”

So just like there are 4 beats within a bar you can also think of there being 4 sub beats within a beat. For example, in this case on the first bar, Missy is landing an 8th note on beat 1.4 which carries over to the 2nd beat. She does this same move again on beat 3.4 which carries over to THE 4th beat.

And she does this a lot for the first 8 bars of her verse on beat 3 and on beat 1.

This is the main factor as to why her flow feels the way that it does here and it’s a testament to how incredibly skilled Missy is musically. Make no mistake about it,  rappers are musicians and Missy is a perfect example of that. 


One thing a lot of rappers struggle with is learning how to transition into different cadences/ grooves smoothly and Missy is a master at this! Let me show you what I mean.

I’m going to play from bars 5-10 and notice how the groove of her rap flow totally changes on bar 9, and wait till I explain to you how she did it!


Okay here’s how Missy pulled this transition off so smoothly using 2 techniques! 

She actually begins her transition on Bar 8.

Firstly, notice how she is now landing those 8th notes I was talking about earlier directly on the 2nd and 4th beat instead of leading into them from the sub beat before like she was doing previously.

Secondly, Missy makes a change on the 3rd beat by extending the length of her pause so that she can land her 8th note directly on the 4th beat which she hasn’t done before on the 4th beat.

Also, notice how even with these changes she kept her rhyme and cadence scheme intact on the 3rd beat so that her pattern feels completed before she changes it.

Now If you want to see me break down more rappers’ songs check out this playlist. And I’m also currently working on a game-changing video course on rap flow which I’ll post in the video description below once it goes live in the future.

Again my name is Cole Mize with where I strive to make you a better rapper now! Check below to get a FREE copy of my eBook The #1 fundamental to rapping and always remember, when it comes to rapping, theirs no rules, theirs only techniques. peace!

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