I have some vague memory of beginning to listen to an earlier Missy Elliot album and then deciding to stop before my three listens because it didn’t seel enough, the reviews weren’t good enough or I felt I didn’t have enough to say (I do not remember why or even which album it was). But I didn’t feel like I had a choice here but I have no regrets.
Elliot and Timbaland have written a fair amount of pretty catchy material. I don’t know how much I heard at the time outside of “Get Ur Freak On” (I think I remember “One Minute Man” maybe)) but there’s a fair amount of catchy stuff on here. Elliot’s lyrics are fine, I guess, and often at least a little self-aware or self-referential, which I appreciate.
Somehow I missed all this time that Missy Elliot sings. And not only does she sing, she’s a way better singer than most rappers. I guess that’s because she was a singer first, which I didn’t realize. Anyway, you can tell how little attention I paid to her (the videos would have let me know she’s a singer too) but colour me surprised (and pleasantly).
I am not really into this kind of hip hop production but I must admit that Timbaland knows what he’s doing. There’s a reason he was everywhere for a while, he really figured out how to do the smoother, leaner style super accessible to the general public. There’s no denying how effective it is, even if I prefer my hip production dense and weird.
There’s a fair amount of variety here, some of which comes from Elliot’s ability and interest to both sing and rap, some of which comes from the guests and some of which is guess is just Elliot’s innate interest in not just making the same track 17 times.
It’s still too long for me but that’s probably because it’s not my thing.
On the whole, I’m pretty impressed. It feels fairly “hard” for pop rap and is electric enough I mostly wasn’t bored. I think it’s too slick and lean to be considered “southern hip hop (based on what I’ve heard anyway) but I could be completely wrong about that. You could do a lot worse.