Miss E...So Addictive
Missy Elliott had already given the world a preview of the 21st century with 1999’s Da Real World—though her high-gloss futurism, including alien-sounding beats and music-video theatrics, proved to be far cooler than reality. And so, two years later, having established herself and her right-hand man, Timbaland, as two of hip-hop’s most distinctive new talents, the Virginia innovator unleashed an all-out sensory assault with Miss E… So Addictive, Elliott’s third album, and the one that established the rapper as a seriously formidable hitmaker. “I know some of y’all sick of songs y’all be hearing on the radio,” Elliott purrs gently on the album’s unassuming intro, “So me and Timbaland gonna give you some sh*t you never heard before.” With that, Miss E… explodes into a run of funky, filthy bangers that trace the ecstatic arc of a wild night of debauchery, through which Elliott sings just as often as she raps. “One Minute Man” is hypnotic in its minimalism, Elliott’s breathy melodies floating over Timbo’s swaggering bassline; by the time the drunken bhangra loop of “Get Ur Freak On” hits, the intro’s promise has officially been upheld before the album is even a third of the way through. But there’s more to Miss E… than freaky club smashes (though they’re pretty easily the high point): see the high-stepping disco of “Old School Joint” and slinky soul of Ginuwine collaboration “Take Away.” “Yo, I’m on fiiiire!” Elliott hollers over Timbaland’s pounding club beat on “4 My People,” and it’s impossible to disagree—this is Missy at the peak of her dynamism.