Under Construction

Missy Elliott

Elektra, 2002


REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs


M - i - crooked letter, crooked letter - y. Packaged as dirty South rap, this little egomaniac rides the thin line between being confident and making a fool of herself. And I don't mean that in a derogatory sense. She never crosses the line, but if she did, it just wouldn't matter. She's just that confident. Under Construction made Missy Elliott the best-selling female hip-hop star of all time in 2002. Fighting still for recognition, she likes to show off her rapster abilities, and as a minority female, she must show equanimity in a male-dominated genre.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

From Portsmouth, Virginia, she is a survivor of childhood domestic violence. She has become an influential writer/producer/artist in the music world. Therapeutically she often uses her music to confront her continued nightmares. She writes all her own music and is a true show(wo)man. She's fun to watch and to listen to. She comes off tough, but there's a shy, resolute person underneath.

Rap is known for its attitude, and Missy is no exception. She's funky, hard-hitting and packs a whomp. "Work It" is definitely my favorite pick of this album. I like this pretty lady because she's bold and naughty; a dangerous combination. I absolutely love the beat to this one -- it rocks -- and the lyrics are nasty and sexy too.

Her powerful style is strongest on "P***ycat." The lyrics are infectious, "Koochie don't fail me now, I gotta turn this brother out, so he don't want nobody else." Adding juicy lips and sultry eyes to an already provocative nature, she draws you into her distinctive style of music.

"Slide" is a great dance tune for today's two-step type moves. She encourages you to slide, dip and move it all around. I think she's talking about dancing, or maybe not. This is another strong number and by now you start to comprehend that it's an album full of such songs. Each outdoes the last, producing a forceful impact.

I dislike self-glorification, but recognize the need to fight for what you want, and that may often include self-promotion. As a whole, I'm not into the bling-bling, self-indulgent, frequent over-compensating style of rap, but I like Missy Elliott. Perhaps it's just the woman in me (the need to help promote another female), but this lady has what it takes in a dog-eat-dog business. Without a doubt, she's worth a listen.

Rating: A

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