Missy Elliott’s new LP arrives shrouded in secrecy amid tales of last-minute re-jigs and reduced input from Timbaland. But there’s no need to fret – ‘The Cookbook’ is all good. As executive producer, Missy has taken the helm to make sure the efforts of guest helpers Scott Storch, The Neptunes, Slick Rick and Grand Puba gel properly. And they do. Equal parts old-school East Coast hip-hop, electro, dancehall, R&B and the occasional rock riff coalesce into a juicy whole. Even if Timbaland is missed for his ability to throw previously-unheard-of production curve balls, some of the beats are so sick they require an isolation ward.
As far as tunes go, this is one helluva party LP: ‘Lose Control’’s ’80s electro update; ‘On And On’’s twisted Neptunes squelch-scratch fiesta; and ‘Partytime’’s patois-laced grooves all throw serious dancefloor dynamite. Of course, no Missy Elliott album would be complete without some man-baiting ( ‘Teary Eyed’, ‘Time And Time Again’), and while she might be a bit trigger-happy on occasion ( ‘Bad Man’), she remains one of a defiant kind. Touch her, if you dare.