Missy Elliott This Is Not a Test
Published Dec 01, 2003During the old school days that Missy Misdemeanor is so fond of, rappers regularly released annual albums, so her prolific output is not unprecedented. But perhaps nailing all-time-classics three years in a row is asking too much. The first hint that her quality control might be slipping is Diwali-influenced lead-off single "Pass the Dutch. While Timbalands handclap-fuelled bass bomb is pretty good by most standards, it cant compare to the futuristic mind-fuck of "Get Yr Freak On or "Work It.
More often than not, Missy still wows with her soulful singing and freaky flow, but if we bear impossibly high expectations, its only because shes so rarely failed to meet them. Of course theres plenty to love here, too. Jay-Z may seem incongruous on "Wake Up, but it probably strengthens her message to the hip-hop masses that, well, its alright to be poor, unarmed and makin money legally. Testosterone takes hits throughout the album, most notably on "Toyz, a brilliant ode to her vibrator. "I gotta bag full of toys, she spits over a fantastic 1970s funk bass line, "so I dont need none of you boys.
Missy continues the feminist fun on the symphonic synth-fest "I'm Really Hot, swipes Salt N Pepas "Push It chorus and gleefully drops rhymes like "love my gut/so fuck a tummy tuck/skinny girls, yuck, on "Pump It Up, her should-have-been-better duet with Nelly. Sonically, Timbalands efforts rely on claustrophobic production, using dubby echoes, vibrating beats and mind-twisting synth squelches to anchor his partner's vocals.
Missy even takes a rewarding detour into dancehall, collaborating with Beanie Man and Elephant Man, but on too many occasions she also winds up in boring R&B land. She doesnt need to rap backwards every time, but since Missys proven that she "can write a song sicker than Jeffrey Dahm itd be nice have included a few more of them. (Elektra)