Under Construction

Under Construction

4.6 8
by Missy Elliott
     
 

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Any doubts about Missy Elliott's hip-hop bona fides are bulldozed by her fourth disc, Under Construction. Although she made her name with playful, pop rap-R&B successes -- particularly 2001's Miss E... So Addictive -- Missy flips the script with quirky, sex kittenish rhymes complemented by a healthy dose ofSee more details below

Overview

Any doubts about Missy Elliott's hip-hop bona fides are bulldozed by her fourth disc, Under Construction. Although she made her name with playful, pop rap-R&B successes -- particularly 2001's Miss E... So Addictive -- Missy flips the script with quirky, sex kittenish rhymes complemented by a healthy dose of Timbaland's nostalgic b-boy bounce and futuristic funk. On "Bring the Pain," Elliott and Method Man trade sexually charged raps over the haunting atmospherics of that eponymous 1995 Wu-Tang classic. It's not her only nod to the past, as she reworks UTFO's "Roxanne, Roxanne," reminisces about rap's golden era with Jay-Z on "Back in the Day," and prominently features a Beastie Boys sample on the tongue-twisting "Funky Fresh Dressed." But the throwback masterwork is "Work It," a simmering stew of breakbeats, inverted hooks, and Missy's triple entendre-filled raps. Missy and Tim may have looked to the Middle East for inspiration on 2001's "Get Ur Freak On," but here they keep it right in the 'hood, mainlining the hip-hop of their adolescence. And while the beats are fun, there's no mistaking the disc for a kiddie-rap jam session. Throughout, the newly svelte Missy reminds us that she's an evolved woman with feelings -- both sexual (the self-gratifying "Pussycat") and sensitive (the heartfelt "Can You Hear Me" with TLC, which mourns the loss of her homies Aaliyah, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Biggie Smalls, and 2Pac). It's that blend of party and profundity that propels Under Construction, letting us know that although Missy's a work in progress, her music's gazing toward the future.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
The fact that Missy Elliott still considers her work to be "under construction" should, justifiably, send everyone else in the rap world scurrying back to the drawing board. No other commercial rapper sounded more in command of her production and flow than Elliott during 2002, and it's no surprise that Under Construction ranks as one of the best rap LPs of the year (granted, it came against relatively weak competition). While Timbaland's stark digital soul girds these tracks, Missy herself continues her artistic progression, trying to push hip-hop forward with an almost pleading intro and neatly emphasizing her differences from other rappers by writing tracks for nearly every facet of the female side of relationships. The hit single "Work It" turns the tables on male rappers, taking charge of the sex game, matching their lewdest, rudest rhymes, and also featuring the most notorious backmasked vocal of the year. Elliott more than keeps up with a dirty-minded Method Man as well on "Bring the Pain," strikes back at haters on the self-explanatory "Gossip Folks," and produced her own duet with Beyoncé Knowles, "Nothing Out There for Me," a track that finds her trying to lure Knowles out to a party (using her best Timbaland impression) over the wishes of the diva's home-bound man. She also recognizes the constantly changing aspects of sexuality, admitting how dependent she is on a man during "Play That Beat" but ruminating on the curious power of the female persuasion on "P***ycat." Elliott goes on a refreshing old-school tear with "Back in the Day," featuring Jay-Z having more fun than he's had in a while and Missy crooning, "What happened to those good old days, when hip-hop was so much fun/those parties in the summer y'all, and no one came through with a gun." The disc closes with the TLC duet "Can You Hear Me," a tribute to Aaliyah and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Missy Elliott obviously understands how important hip-hop can be when rappers concentrate on the music instead of the violent lifestyle; fortunately, her talents are just as strong as her vision.
Rolling Stone - Gavin Edwards
Her fourth album Under Construction, uninhibited and unpredictable, is her best yet.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
Hip-hop divas have a way of weirding out after early success -- see Lauryn Hill or Mary J. Blige -- but Elliott's doing it in the best way. (B+)

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/12/2002
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0075596281324
catalogNumber:
62813
Rank:
78671

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Missy Elliott   Primary Artist
Tweet   Vocals
Lisa Crawford   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

TLC   Contributor
Guru   Engineer
Herb Powers   Mastering
Mike "Hitman" Wilson   Engineer
Method Man   Contributor
Craig Brockman   Producer
Jay-Z   Contributor
Missy Elliott   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Timbaland   Producer,Executive Producer
Lili Picou   Art Direction
Josh Butler   Engineer
Alex Harris   Contributor
Beyoncé   Contributor
Tim Mosley   Composer
Senator Jimmy D   Engineer
Ludacris   Contributor
Errol "Poppi" McCalla   Producer
Ms. Jade   Contributor
Anita Marisa Boriboon   Art Direction
Roberto Fantauzzi   Photo Production
Carlos "El Loco" Bedoya   Engineer
Jeff Allen   Engineer
Christopher Bridges   Composer

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