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She instead signed a deal with East West Records, a division of Elektra Entertainment Group at that time, in 1996 to create her own imprint, The Goldmind Inc., for which she would record as a solo artist.
Timbaland was again recruited as her production partner, a role he would hold on most of Elliott's solo releases.
Elliott began her career as a featured vocalist rapping on Sean "Puffy" Combs's Bad Boy remixes to Gina Thompson's "The Things That You Do", (which had a video featuring cameo appearances by Notorious B. G and Puff Daddy), MC Lyte's 1996 hit single "Cold Rock a Party" (backup vocals by Gina Thompson), and New Edition's 1996 single "You Don't Have to Worry".
Combs had hoped to sign Elliott to his Bad Boy record label.
Following several collaborations and guest appearances, she launched her solo career in 1997 with her debut album Supa Dupa Fly, which spawned the hit singles "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" and "Sock It 2 Me".She is the best-selling female rap artist in Nielsen Music history.Elliott grew up in an active church choir family, and singing was a normal part of her youth.In later years, she feared no one would take her seriously, because she was always the class clown. She enjoyed school for the friendships she formed though she had little interest in school work.She would later get well above average marks on intelligence tests, At fourteen, Elliott's mother decided to end the situation; she fled with her daughter under the guise of taking a joyride on a local bus.