She blazes into the opening [B]'She's A Bitch'[/B], but her wide smile concedes that the gender warrior stuff on [B]'Da Real World'[/B] doesn't have to be fully acted out tonight...
Respect is being shown. Missy‘s late, but the German rap fans kept waiting outside remain peaced up. Rap-soul-R&B supa momma Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott has never ‘done’ Europe before – too tangled in a zillion-dollar schedule of Whitneys, Gap adverts, Lilith Fairs and mixing pornographic ooh-aahs into her purringly brutal co-productions with Timbaland. So who would argue with the time-keeping?
In awe of what amounts to a state visit, the Euro B-boys and fly frauleins queue for hours, let gravity inch down their low-rider jeans and then grind reverentially to German girl trio Caramel. When da real deal finally trudges out plus heavyweight live band, MCs, dancers, jewellery polishers and hairdressers, it’s apparent what Missy‘s got that your midriff-winding bad girl ain’t: matriarchal authority (deep-fried).
“Y’all clear the way I’m gonna come down there and feel y’energy,” she commands in her Virginian drawl, setting off a wave of hysteria that’s both a tribute to her skills and a subconscious acknowledgement of mother figure power. Gang way. She is indeed the Puff Mommy.
Actually, she’s petite, but dressed in sequinned pyjamas the 27-year-old has the hypnotising presence of a Southern pulpit queen Gary Glitter. She blazes into the opening ‘She’s A Bitch’, but her wide smile concedes that the gender warrior stuff on ‘Da Real World’ doesn’t have to be fully acted out tonight.
The album’s robo-dark Wu-isms are eschewed in favour of the band’s soul revue approach (mucho appreciated by a gyrating Mick Hucknall in the balcony). MC Solaar is briefly hauled on for ‘Hot Boyz’ then forgotten about as Missy anoints the crowd with mineral water and then orders her minders to lift her into the jungle of baseball hats where she lays on hands, safe in the knowledge that security has her diamond bracelet stashed onstage.
A very wily ghetto queen, she extends matters for an hour, inviting rappers from the crowd up to the microphone and handing a $100 bill to the winner. With voice fading and eyes moistening, Melissa Elliott bequeaths her subjects a final “I love y’all” and reminds them to buy “the hottest shit on the planet” – her new album, [I]nat|rlich[/I].
When the grind of contemporary America pivots on your nailshop-manicured middle digit, you can be late and a tiny bit naff and still walk away with flight cases full of r-e-s-p-e-c-t. If only Public Enemy had been so touchy-feely.