Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott : Get Ur Freak On

As cutting-edge as pop gets.

While techno boffins strive to split the musical atom in bedroom studios across the globe, along comes a three-minute pop smash which eats them all for breakfast. Missy Elliott is a three-dimensional living cartoon who puts conceptual gimmicks like Gorillaz to shame, while this stuttering angular über-rap about her all-conquering greatness comes pre-lubricated with sassy affability rather than boastful rancour. Producer Timbaland has to take at least half the credit for matching Missy’s vocal tics and twirls with an audacious collage of twangs, tweaks, scuttlebeats, morse-code bleeps and softly descending doom-chords. These surgically arranged avant-pop sounds were once the preserve of progressive labels like Warp and Rephlex, but gradually the two genres have converged – compare the first Destiny’s Child album,

Aphex Twin’s ‘Windowlicker’

and Aaliyah’s ‘Try Again’

for points along the journey.

The Missy/Timbaland school

of future-funking is now about as cutting-edge

as pop gets – whether underground, overground or wombling free. To hear this record is to love it,

even when it sounds like a squadron of mechanical insects spitting diamonds into a bright blue sky.

Go freak yourself.

Stephen Dalton