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Missy Elliott 

The Cookbook

Wednesday, Jul 13 2005
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Up until 2003's lackluster This Is Not a Test, Missy Elliott was like the student body president of hip hop, getting her yearbook signed by everyone via cameos and showing up in the picture for each important moment in recent school history. The Cookbook finds her rallying her way back to the head of the class. There's no knock-you-out, viral hit like "Get Ur Freak On" here, and she indulges in a few not-so-flattering moments of following the crowd, as in the crunky, cough syrupy "Click Clack." But the Elliott-produced (usual suspect Timbaland helms only two tracks) "Lose Control" features, along with Ciara and an '80s retro sheen, a resurgence of some of the MC's patented turbocharged energy. "We Run This" is a hip party jam regulated by beats from a marching band quad tom (those four-by-toms that hang from your neck) that shows off Missy's ability to snatch up and own trends on the cusp of domination (if you haven't noticed, the quad tom beat is the new bhangra tablas or Lil' John cameo). On the final track, Elliott proves herself a born leader once again, proclaiming, "In 2005, the industry will be pussy-whipped," before usurping the hypermasculine, gunshot wound-tallying brand of hip hop braggadocio with a powerful, self-sufficient, Hummer-driving "Mommy." Class dismissed.

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Rachel Devitt

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