Missy Elliott :: Miss E ...So Addictive
Label: Elektra Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
It's hard to deny that Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott is a force in
pop music to be reckoned with. She's helped make hits for everybody
from Gina Thompson to 702 in R&B to Da Brat, Jay-Z and MC Lyte
in hip-hop. After delivering two successive hit albums with "Supa
Dupa Fly" and "Da Real World" though, Missy continues to be underrated
by a fickle and highly judgmental legion of hip-hop heads.
Perhaps it's the fact that Missy was best known at first for her
gimmicks. On guest appearances for remixes she would cackle "hee
hee ha ha haow" and on her own tracks she got recognized for trademarks
like "Beep beep - who got the keys to my jeep? VROOOOM." Even though
it's well known that Missy is a songwriter whose credits for OTHER
artists have been nothing but hits, people continue to greet her
own rhymes with incredible skepticism. On top of that, there's an
extra-deep level of playa hate'n that greets her success - the fact
that super-producer Timbaland is the maestro behind nearly all of
her beats and big hits.
Some rappers and producers were just meant to go together though.
Guru only sounds right when paired with Premier, and Snoop Dogg
always comes off better when he works with diggy Dr. Dre. So it
is with Missy and Timbaland - a duo who are each great seperately
but together seem to bring out each other's best qualities. Missy
as an artist is not afraid to take chances with the way she flows
or how she rocks, and Timbaland as a music maestro loves to fuck
with people's perceptions of what beats should be. When you combine
the two together the results end up being headbanger tracks of the
type found throughout the entirety of "Miss E ...So Addictive."
This starts with the lead single
"Get Ur Freak On" - a track that left many people (including
this writer) scratching their heads at the Eastern sounding uptempo
beat and slow-flowing vocals. Like OutKast's "Bombs Over Baghdad"
though, this track gradually creeps up on you after repeated listens
until you realize just how funky and innovative it really is. Missy
sounds just as good on a more traditional hip-hop beat though like
"Lick Shots", where she shamelessly raps "if I give you head
you'll never leave." Damn!
Missy also likes to sing a bit, and this is where people hate on
TOP of hate'n - they lambast her vocals as a far cry from
Martha Wash and Aretha Franklin. Some fellow music critics seem
to assume that the listeners are incredibly naive or stupid - who
among us actually mistook Missy Elliott for Aretha Franklin? Please.
What works for Missy Elliott is that she recognizes the limitations
of her voice and her range and doesn't try to blast her way out of
them or gussy them up with special effects and backup singers. As
a result there's a refreshing honesty to her non-rap tracks, such as
the retro-funk "Old School Joint" and the quiet storm style duet
"Take Away" with Ginuwine. Really, what's not to like?
Some artists just have an uncanny knack for making music that's
bound to crossover, and less forgiving music critics tend to blast
artists that seem to become popular because of gimmicks or flashy
music videos. While it's true that Missy does have both, she
earns a lot of respect from other hip-hop artists who have no such
elitist pretentions about recording with a pop AND rap music
star. Guest appearances occur throughout, such as Method Man and
Redman on "Dog in Heat" and Ludacris on "One Minute Man." These people
are far from fools - as the old saying goes, game recognizes game.
It's ridiculous that people would continue to front on Missy in
2001, especially on an album with tracks as tight as her "I'm not
havin that shit" sister anthem "Step Off" and the rugged hip-hop
of "Slap! Slap! Slap!" with Da Brat and Jade. Even Jay-Z gets
into the act with a "One Minute Man (Remix)" on one of several
bonus tracks. Why hate? Congratulate. Timbaland and Missy
are a superb combo - both eccentric enough to match perfectly.
Underground heads may front, but fans of good music will still
want to pick this record up with the quickness.
Music Vibes: 9 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: May 15, 2001