Missy Elliott’s “Work It” is not a song for the faint of heart: the early-2000s classic rap track has some seriously tongue-twisting lines. So when Rhode Island resident Mary Halsey flawlessly performed it in a video that went viral over the summer — and Missy Elliott herself saw the impressive cover rendition — Elliott was quick to laud her “funky white sister,” sharing the video on Twitter along with her fervent praise.
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story for Elliott and Halsey’s interactions. On The Ellen Show this week, Ellen DeGeneres brought together Halsey and the iconic rapper for a surprise meeting. Just before that, Halsey explained that her “Work It” cover has been a work in progress for 15 years, and has become something of her specialty over the course of that time ever since she first performed the song in a contest in 2003.
“I learned, and I read the words, and I studied it, and the reaction that I got was so positive that it became my go-to song,” she explained to DeGeneres. “Everybody wants to hear it.” Of course, DeGeneres had to ask Halsey to sing it for her audience. But halfway through the song, everyone was in for a shock when Elliott herself joined Halsey onstage to finish it off.
Watch them “Work It” in the Ellen clip above.