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Under Construction

Missy Elliot

Release Date: 11.12.02
Record label: MCA
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.

80 Music-Critic Score
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Another Missy Elliot Exclusive
by: bill aicher


Back in 1997 it was made fairly clear that Missy Elliot's place in hip-hop wasn't just to be another female face in a majorly-male-dominated genre. When "The Rain" hit airwaves (and TV with that sick video), people immediately took notice and have been craning their necks to see where she's going ever since. We've always known she had an un-f#$king-believable album in her; it was just taking some time for it to work its way out.


Under Construction is that disc. While not the hip-hop album of the year (see Blackalicious's Blazing Arrow), it's damned close. Like usual, Timbaland's the mastermind behind most beats and programming. Only this time around, Missy's put a hell of a lot more of her own input into setting things up for her vocals, incorporating a healthy dose of old-school beats and samples. Just give one listen to "Gossip Folks" (feat. Ludacris) - this is where "izzo" came from.


As Elliot announces on the intro track (and other spoken interludes throughout), Under Construction is a throwback to the "glory days" of when hip-hop was about nothing but having fun making music. Her "Back in the Day" collaboration with Jay-Z pretty much spells it straight out: "Remember when we used to battle / on the block / before the lights came on. Oh, Momma said we'd be / straight-A kids / if we did our homework / like we knew them songs."


And of course there's "Work It." Remember how I mentioned before that this was almost the hip-hop album of the year? Well "Work It," with it's funky-as-hell phrasing, lyrical play, inventive use of an elephant sound, and pretty much everything else in the damn song is hands down the single of the year. Damn.


In past outings, Missy's shown her flashes of brilliance, but there have always been the holes from missteps. Under Construction is built to survive an earthquake. 02-Dec-2002 11:30 PM