Say what you want about Missy Elliott. Call her nothing more than a R&B singer. Say her lyrics are wack. Point out that Timbaland and his dope production is her crutch.
Hate all you want, but the fact is that Missy Elliott consistently pushes the boundaries of conventional, mainstream hip-hop music, releasing singles that seem to be sent from 10 years further in time. She has continued the trend with her latest album, "Under Construction," easily her best effort to date.
If you haven't heard the lead-single, "Work It," by now, you've either been under a rock or six-feet under ground. Timbaland lays down yet another batch of gold, and Missy rhymes loopy all over it. While she might not be the female Rakim on the mic, her goofiness works very well with the song. The heat continues from there with what was the second single; "Gossip Folks," featuring Ludacris. While Missy's scream-style of singing gets annoying as the track goes on, the beat, the unintelligible vocal sample and the Ludacris guest-shot make the song a winner.
There are plenty of bangers left to be heard, starting with "Bring the Pain," featuring Method Man. Basically a remake of the original Method Man breakout hit, the track pays homage to the original without exploiting it. Having Method on the track further shows the respect paid. "Funky Fresh Dressed," "Slide," and "Hot" showcase Missy herself, where she sounds at ease over each Timbaland beat. That doesn't end the guest spots though, as Jay-Z drops fire on "Back in the Day."
For all the good songs on this album, there are a few stumbling blocks. When Missy decides to lay down her own production, the result is more slow R&B and less hot hip-hop. "Pussycat," an ode to her sex organ, comes off as lame, as does "Nothing Out There For Me," featuring Beyonce'. Meanwhile, a tribute to Aaliyah and Left Eye, "Can You Hear Me," is extremely sappy and doesn't work well, even though the attempt comes from the right place.
An added bonus is the "Work It (Remix)," featuring 50 Cent. While the original has grown pretty tired from radio overkill, 50's intro verse is really a nice addition to the track.
Overall, this album really pays tribute to the old-school, while still breaking new ground. If you like the finished product of hip-hop, and aren't too into the lyrics, this is a great album. If lyrics are what you really pay attention to, though, there isn't too much here to get into.