Missy Elliott’s fourth studio album, Under Construction rocks from first to last tracks, proving yet again that her magical flow is still as tight as ever. By now, she is the 800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to hip hop, because she concentrates of music rather than violence and she is undeniably the best female rapper out there. Her compelling messages of female control, power and sexuality continue to ring true and throughout Under Construction.
Ellliot’s partner in crime Timbaland’s presence is as usual omnipresent, and their synergy is kicking on tracks like the smash “Work It” with its amazing kazoo type high hat and freaky radio tuner effects.
She and Method Man run neck to neck on “Bring The Pain” and on “Gossip Folks” she and Ludacris deal with ‘hatas’. JayZ galavants through a bent tribute to the days when “hip-hop was so much fun/those parties in the summer y’all, and no one came through with a gun” on “Back In the Day” (expect to see ‘Day’ as a single before all the shouting is done).
Brace yourself for the hook of “Pussycat”, I am not going into details, but just brace yaself. Red-hot Beyoncé Knowles plays a lady in love with her homebound man and being persuaded out into the wilds of the night by Missy and resisting on “Ain’t Nothing Out There” (another single alert on this one!).
MC Lyte’s “Slave To The Rhythm” is slickly sampled for “Funky Fresh Dressed” featuring a raunchy contribution from Ms. Jade. “Can You Hear Me”, a duet with TLC and a tribute to Aaliyah and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes is the album’s most touching track. Throughout the album, Missy Elliot’s ‘represents for my ladies’, and engages the listener on several interlude conversations, and comes off in a rebellious yet pleading way.
On the Intro/Go To The Floor, when she says, “…follow me”, it’s hard not to. Her flow is effortless and her lyrics both raunchy and witty; Sistagal can rock the joint like no one, and she has easily produced the best hip hop album of the year. (It has been reported elsewhere that competition this year was weak, and I am inclined to agree.) I wish I could report that there was at least one track that was not innovative and interesting on multiple levels, but I can’t. All in all, this album in packed with flava, and sista proves that her lyrical chops and beat skills still leave her the top ranking female rapper on the scene. It is a scene she has ruled since Supa Dupa Fly hit the shelves, and she has maintained with Da Real World and ..So Addictive it will take someone and something extraordinary to dethrone her as queen.
I don’t need to tell you to buy this CD. If ya like joints that become necessary, then this is worth it. Work it, babies.
BTW: On “Work It”, Missy’s backmasked vocals are “I put my thing down, flip and reverse it” in the chorus and “watch the way Missy like to take it backwards” in the second verse. I know, inquiring minds want to know. Amaze your friends!