America Rediscovers Missy Elliott

Gossip Folks – Missy Elliott (featuring Ludacris) from Under Construction

Besides the Patriots and fans of morbid advertisements, the big winner from the Super Bowl was Missy Elliott. She performed a medley of three of her biggest hits and they sounded as good now as they did back in the early 2000s. Apparently the kids (and everyone else) liked it and sales of those three songs are getting a healthy bump.

There’s plenty of good stuff beyond those hits, and I’d recommend starting with another track from 2002’s Under Construction. Gossip Folks was the second single off the album after the medley-included Work It. It didn’t go quite as high on the charts (#8 versus a lengthy stay at #2), but it’s a damn good song. I think it exemplifies all the best that Missy brought to the table in her prime.

One, great beats (but not sick beats, definitely not sick beats) by Timbaland. Unlike the grime of much East Coast rap in the mid-to-late 90s, his beats are clean, crisp and bouncy. His basic beat here is simple but effective: a double bass bump, a snare hit, and the star of the show, a horn stab that gives the beat a foreign. He layers in more elements in the chorus including a wacky sample from Frankie Smith’s Double Dutch Bus (check out about the halfway point of the song) that creates a nonsensical wordplay for a chorus that would be a headscratcher for most artists but with Missy it just works.

Two, Missy’s flow and sense of humor.  The premise of the song is that people had been talking about Missy (her weight, her sexual preferences, etc.) and the song starts with several people gossiping and ends with those same people wowed by Missy’s performance, but instead of forgiving them, Missy rips them a new one with some funny putdowns and then ends with a request that they buy her new album.  In between, she rides that Timbaland beat with such ease even though she opts for a throaty, raspy delivery and delivers funny and biting verses.  Ludacris joins in for a guest verse and the beat is right in his wheelhouse.

Here’s the video for the song:

Enjoy, hopefully we’ll be seeing some new music from Missy and Timbaland soon.


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