Review: Jack Foley
SELF-PROCLAIMED hip-hop queen Missy Elliott returns with her
sixth studio album amid a tidal wave of hype and enough self-confidence
to give Eminem a run for his money.
The self-assuredness is justified, however, given the overall
quality of the long-player.
The Cookbook boasts the perfect ingredients - sassy
beats, well-judged samples and a smattering of guest vocalists
who reflect the cutting edge of the current hip-hop movement.
Reigning supreme over proceedings, however, is Elliott herself
and her lust for embracing every musical form possible remains
insatiable as the album takes in everything from R&B, grime
and soul to diwaali rhythms and dancehall/ragga.
The formula for success is effectively mixed in the first single,
Lose Control, a sassy dance-floor booty-shaker that features
vocals from Elliott, Ciara and Fatman Scoop, as well as a sample
of Juan Atkin's cybotron electro classic, Clear.
If that doesn't loosen you up sufficiently, then tracks like
We Run This definitely will.
Featuring a delicious sample of the Sugar Hill Gang's version
of Apache, the track is an absolute monster - the main
course of a banquet that's well worth feeding upon.
Irresistable Delicious, featuring Slick Rick, is an
old-school fusion of breaks and scratches that goes down a treat.
While the Motown vibe surrounding My Struggles is given
added sass by the presence of Mary J Blige and her moody, oh-so
distinct vocals. Put together, the artists sound tailor made for
Missy even veers into Janet Jackson territory for the X-rated
Melt Down, an ode to her man's 'magic stick' that's designed
to make you blush.
Can't Stop is another groove-laden monster, an example
of Missy at her downright funkiest that compensates for some of
the more sentimental R&B moments, such as 4 My Man
and Remember When (rare moments when the album misfires).
Yet with Vybez Cartel and MIA cropping up on the final track,
Bad Man, Missy Elliott ensures that her dessert is served
with a strong chaser that's designed to leave you breathless.
So while you might not like everything on the menu, dining out
with Missy Elliott's Cookbook remains a five-star experience.