Da Real World

[a]Missy Elliott[/a] roolz, muthafucka....

Da Real World

7 / 10 Missy Elliott roolz, muthafucka. In '97, her debut 'Supa Dupa Fly' single-handedly saved US hip-hop-R&B from meandering down mimsy swing-beat boulevard and reinvented it as a colossus in creativity: all staccato-beat grooves and hair-coiling tunes of peerless class.

In her videos, she made hip-hop funny again. And she had, and retains, the best female voice hip-hop has known. Bee-itch. For the last 18 months, the ubiquitous magpies of black American hip-hop-pop loved her so much they nicked, entirely, her and producer Timbaland's boilingly-revered 'beat' and in 1999 the pair are hopping mad.

); 'All In My Grill', a delicious R&B smoother which guffaws at loser blokes with no "dough".

Much of the rest, however, is the sound of Timbaland trying desperately not to sound like Timbaland, his beat-replacement based on the sound of wrathful violas, again and again, like a man with his once-limitless talents tied into a severe knot in the middle of his eyebrows. This is a tragedy. As is its length; by the 66th minute you'll yearn for 'Supa Dupa...''s soul-melting whistlability. Still, the pair's huge creative giftage towers above the tired saps of black US pop and hollers, "Come up witcha own creativity". Just like they have, once again.

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