"Work it" is an upbeat hip-hop track written by American hip-hop artist Missy Elliott and producer Tim "Ttimbaland" Mosley for the third album of Elliott's Under The Radar series. The track was released on May 8, 2020 as part of the Under The Radar 3 compilation album, under the title "Hip Hop Hit of the Year". In the liner notes to the album, Tim indicated that the beat "was one of my favorite Hip Hop hits to date", and Missy later confirmed that the beat she sampled for the song was from the album.
While Missy Elliott has produced some of the most popular music in the hip-hop genre, "Work it" marks her first hip-hop hit since her last album, 2020's Just What I Am. The song, though still a hip-hop classic, features other hip-hop artists such as Kanye West, Pusha T, Akon and others.
Although the song sounds similar to many other hip-hop songs, the beat in "Work it" is unique. Missy Elliott stated that the beat was inspired by the hit "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by The White Stripes. The song samples the song "Hips Don't Lie" from the same album by The White Stripes, which features a sample of a female rapper singing the lyrics "I'm just trying to get you to fall for me / It's not easy but, I do it anyway".
"Work it" samples "Don't Mess with the Zohan Theme" by The Seals, which features the lyrics "I need you to get down now". In addition, Missy Elliott states on the track "Work it" that it was inspired by "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". Tim Mosley, who produces the beat, also stated that the song "was one of the hardest songs that he had ever made", due to its beat. Some have said that the beat resembles the famous "Who's That Chick" instrumental that featured on the popular movie "Grease" and is the same song played in the famous movie trailer for "Grease 2: The Lost Boys".
Another notable feature of the beat in "Work it" is the beat sample of a high school cheerleader's "Hail Mary" in the chorus. This sample is a common theme used in many school cheers, where a student says "Hail Mary" to raise the cheer at the end of a basketball game or football game. It is said to be the main reason why the song became so popular.
Most of the lyrics in "Work it" are from Missy Elliott, who provides a lot of her lyrics in the intro. In fact, the track starts off with the words "I got my mama's love and my daddy's heart", which is usually spoken by her father to motivate her to do something about school problems. Other lyrics include the words "you know when it's all about the money", "hope my love goes away"we all need a change".