Missy Elliott & More: The 2000s’ Forgotten Artists

Super Bowl XLIX has come and gone, but it’s still making headlines with everything from a shocking ending that included an on-field brawl between the two teams to Katy Perry’s insane halftime performance. All of that and more made this year’s big game the most-watched television broadcast of any type according to the Nielsen ratings with 14.4 million viewers from beginning to end, 2.2 million more than last year.

While some may say the two dancing sharks were the halftime showstoppers, others may offer up that title to Missy Elliott – that is, if they even know who she is. Elliott’s performance left much of the Internet taking to social media to express either confusion of who the early 2000s queen of hip-hop was or excitement over her unexpected return. Either way, according to Billboard, the performance bumped Elliott’s catalog from 6,000 downloads the week ending in January 25th to 70,000 downloads the week ending in February 1st – a 1000 percent increase that is expected to continue to grow.

With a previously very successful artist having taken center stage yet again, it may make you wonder where some of her other forgotten Top 40 radio counterparts are today. Brush up on Elliott’s status and that of others who are no longer in the peak of their careers:

Number Five: Missy Elliott. At the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, Perry’s “California Gurls” faded into the unmistakable beat of “Get Ur Freak On” as the former, more or less, became a hype girl, dancing around as Elliott worked her way through her biggest hits: 2001’s “Get Ur Freak On,” 2002’s “Work It” and 2005’s “Lose Control.” However, before the big Super Bowl performance, she was essentially flying under the radar. “Lose Control” came from The Cookbook, which was her last full-length release other than the greatest hits album, Respect M.E., in 2006. Elliott made appearances on several shows like Extreme Makeover (2007), My Super Sweet 16 (2008), America’s Best Dance Crew (2008) and Behind the Music on herself in 2011 and on Aaliyah in 2012. When it comes to music, Elliott has been rather scarce. Since her last full-length in 2005, she has been featured on songs by artists such as Keyshia Cole, Danity Kane, the Pussycat Dolls, TLC, Ciara, J. Cole, Fantasia Barrino; she most recently joined Sharaya J on Faith Evans’ “I Deserve It” this past summer. As far as original material, she contributed two new tracks, “Shake Your Pom Pom” and “Ching-a-Ling,” to the Step Up 2: The Streets soundtrack in 2008 and then released “Best, Best” as a single for her forthcoming album, Block Party. The album has not yet been released, but Elliott put out two more tracks featuring Timbaland (“Triple Threat” and “9th Inning” in 2012) supposedly as part of Block Party, which is now 8 years in the making.

Number Four: ‘N SYNC. While the majority of their peak falls in the mid to late 90s, ‘N SYNC went strong until their break-up/hiatus (whatever you want to call it) in 2002 following a tour to promote 2001’s Celebrity, which is their third and final full-length. With no official announcement, the only indication of the split came from Lance Bass’ 2007 autobiography, Out of Sync, where he cited Justin Timberlake’s desire for a solo career as the major tipping point, which makes sense given his solo debut, Justified, dropped the same year the band slammed on the brakes. The group reunited at the 2003 Grammys for a tribute to the Bee Gees, and again ten years later when Timberlake was slated to accept the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award at the VMAs. As a part of his 15-minute performance, he invited all four members to join him for a medley of “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye,” but Bass later crushed any hope of further reunion activities. While Timberlake’s whereabouts are pretty clear with several solo albums, many movie roles and his marriage to actress Jessica Biel, with whom he just announced he is expecting his first child, the rest of the four members have remained relatively quiet.

Chris Kirkpatrick got into voice acting, most notably in Nickelodeon’s Fairly OddParents as singer Chip Skylark from 2002 to 2005. Kirkpatrick then hosted the Miss Teen USA Pageant in 2002 and competed in Gone Country, a show about turning celebrities into country singers, in 2008. Other than that, he has remained relatively unnoticed and out of music besides cameos in videos for Good Charlotte’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” (2002) and A Day to Remember’s “2nd Sucks” (2010).

Joey Fatone jumped into acting with the 2002 comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding and several less notable roles. He also tried his hand on Broadway, debuting in Rent in 2002, and other shows such as Little Shop of Horrors, The Producers and 42nd Street. Like Kirpatrick, Fatone also got into hosting in 2007 with NBC’s The Singing Bee. He then teamed up with Lisa Rinna to replace Melissa and Joan Rivers as hosts of red carpet pre-shows in 2007 and 2008. Fatone placed second on Dancing with the Stars in 2007, was the announcer on Family Feud in 2010 and earned second runner-up on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off in 2012. Most recently, Fatone continued with hosting duties on Rewrapped, a cooking competition show that had its first two seasons last year.

Lance Bass moved to Russia while still in ‘N SYNC in pursuit of a seat on a Soyuz space capsule. Despite certification by both NASA and the Russian Space Program, his plan to join the TMA-1 mission was ruined when financial backers dropped in late 2002. He later dabbled in acting with roles in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Tropic Thunder (2008) and most recently Kevin Hart’s Real Husband’s of Hollywood. Like the others, he went on the reality show route with Hollywood Squares in 2004 and Dancing with the Stars, where he won third place in 2008. In 2006, Bass graced the cover of People magazine, revealing his homosexuality and elaborating on it in his aforementioned autobiography, Out of Sync, in 2007. His film production company Bacon & Eggs- formerly A Happy Place— was responsible for 2001’s On the Line, which starred both Fatone and Bass, and 2007’s Lovewrecked starring Amanda Bynes. In 2013, Bass became an executive producer on Showtime’s Kidnapped for Christ, a documentary about a reform school in the Dominican Republic. Bass married painter Michael Turchin in December 2014 where all but Timberlake— who was on tour at the time— were in attendance. E! filmed the festivities and will air Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding this Thursday, Feb. 5th.

JC Chasez also tried the solo route, but unlike Timberlake, it wasn’t as successful. Chasez’s first single, “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love),” appeared on Nick Cannon’s Drumline soundtrack in 2002 and later on his first and only solo album, Schizophrenic, in 2004. Chasez parted ways with Jive Records in 2007, and in turn, halting production on his second full-length, The Story of Kate. Chasez devoted his attention to writing/producing for artists like David Archuleta and the Backstreet Boys. He also lent vocals to songs for both artists as well as A.J. McLean’s solo project and McFly in 2010, Cady Groves and the Rock of Ages soundtrack in 2012, and on Smokey Robinson’s Smokey & Friends in 2014. From 2008 to 2012, he was a judge on Randy Jackson’s now defunct MTV competition show, America’s Best Dance Crew. Chasez tried judging again by holding auditions for an all-girl group, which eventually became Girl Radical, a seemingly scarce act since their inception. The last project Chasez was attached to was a role in the 2014 tour of Jesus Christ Superstar alongside Destiny Child’s Michelle Williams; however, a lack in ticket sales led to its cancelation.

Number Three: Destiny’s Child. While 1999’s “Say My Name” may perhaps be the trio’s most popular song, they still bled into the 2000s with major success, particularly with 2001’s Survivor. This album brought the world “Independent Women,” “Survivor,” and “ Bootylicious.” The band released a Christmas album that same year before entering a hiatus meant to allow the members to pursue solo careers. They reunited for their final full-length, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2004, but in June 2005, while on a tour promoting the album, the band officially announced on stage in Spain that they would be breaking up. Obviously, much like ‘N SYNC and Timberlake, Beyoncé was the standout with acting in several flicks, releasing many successful singles/albums, and becoming a power couple with husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy. Destiny’s Child would not reunite for a performance until 2013 during Beyonce’s Super Bowl XLVII halftime performance, and again musically, on Beyonce’s self-titled surprise album in December 2013 on “Superpower.”

During Destiny Child’s hiatus, Michelle Williams released a solo gospel album, Heart to Yours, in 2002, becoming the best selling gospel artist of the year. Williams then bounced from gospel (2004’s Do You Know?) to pop (2008’s Unexpected) and back to gospel (2014’s Journey to Freedom). “Say Yes” was released as a single this past summer, reuniting her with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland as guest vocalists. Williams also ventured into the world of acting with Broadway productions of Aida (her debut in 2003), The Color Purple (2007) and Chicago (2009), as well as reality TV stints as a judge on Gospel Dream (2009) and contestant on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (2010), which is the U.K. version of Dancing with the Stars. Outside of her continuing music career, Williams is occasionally a co-host on The View.

Kelly Rowland has released four full-length albums since Destiny Child’s hiatus and eventual break-up: Simply Deep (2002), Ms. Kelly (2007), Here I Am (2011) and Talk a Good Game (2013). Rowland also worked on “Dilemma” with Nelly in 2002, winning a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. She got into acting with Freddy vs. Jason and American Dreams in 2003, and she later appeared in Think Like a Man (2012) and Real Husbands of Hollywood (2013). She got Punk’d in 2007 and was a judge on The X Factor (UK) in 2011 and The X Factor (US) in 2013. In early 2014, Williams revealed she had begun work on a fifth full-length album.

Number Two: Mandy Moore. Moore jumped on the bubblegum pop train in the height of its prominence in 1999 with her So Real debut, which was followed by the equally as bubbly, I Wanna Be With You in 2000. Her 2001 self-titled release gave the world tracks like “Cry” (which is also on the soundtrack of A Walk to Remember, a movie she starred in) and the more rock-influenced “Crush”— at least when it came to the set of her music video, where there was a real-life backing band. Moore then released Coverage, which consisted of covers of artists from the 70s and 80s in 2003, Wild Hope (2007) and Amanda Leigh (2009). Moore debatably became more successful in the acting world than she did in music with roles in the aforementioned A Walk to Remember (2002), The Princess Diaries (2001), How to Deal (2003), Saved! (2004), Entourage (2005), Because I Said So (2007), Grey’s Anatomy (2010) and Tangled (2010) among others. Currently, she is starring as Dr. Erin Grace on FOX’s Red Band Society, a show in its first and final season since its fall cancellation. Moore’s only musical release since 2009 is what she sang as Rapunzel in Tangled, but she has also reportedly been working on her seventh full-length. A statement in July 2012 revealed a collaboration with husband Ryan Adams, and two years later, Moore told CBS News she planned to enter Adams’ studio to record what she considered a more dangerous and raw album. Moore announced last month that she was filing for divorce from Adams, so whether or not that affects the progress of the album remains to be seen.

Number One: Outkast. The hip hop duo got their start in 1993, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that they began the rise to commercial success with “Miss Jackson” (2000) and particularly with “Hey Ya!,” “The Way You Move,” and “Roses” from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003). The album won Best Rap Album and Album of the Year at the 2004 Grammy’s. The album was essentially two packaged together, with Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx and André 3000’s The Love Below. Outkast only released one more album, Idlewild (2006), which was also the soundtrack of a Universal Pictures movie of the same name that both members starred in. Big Boi announced plans to release his debut solo album sans the Outkast name in the form of Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Despite releasing its first single, “Royal Flush” featuring Raekwon and André 3000 (2007), the album didn’t become available until July 2010. Big Boi followed it up with his most recent release, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (2012), which featured verses by artists such as T.I., Ludacris, Kid Cudi, Kelly Rowland, ASAP Rocky and B.o.B. Big Boi also got into acting after Idlewild with 2007’s Who’s Your Caddy?, a guest appearance on Law & Order SVU in 2008 and as the voice of a character in Grand Theft Auto V in 2013.

André 3000 got into remixes in 2007 with Unk’s “Walk It Out,” and Jay-Z’s “30 Something.” He continued remixing throughout the years on tracks by Ciara, Chris Brown and Kesha before starting to contribute original verses as a feature credit in 2011 for artists such as Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Drake, B.o.B, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean and T.I. He teamed up with Beyoncé again to cover Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” for The Great Gatsby soundtrack in 2013. A few months later, after being spotted in the studio with Mike Will Made It, a rumor started that André 3000 would be releasing a debut solo album, but one of his reps crushed those immediate dreams quickly after. The rapper got into a tad more acting than Big Boi with roles in Charlotte’s Web (2006), Scary Movie 4 (2006), Fracture (2007), Semi-Pro (2008) and as Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is by My Side (2013). He also dabbled in fashion in 2008 with his own line, Benjamin Bixby, but otherwise has remained generally hidden from the public eye, other than when Outkast reunited at Coachella in 2014 in celebration of their 20th anniversary.