Review: Missy Elliot – WTF (Where They From) (feat. Pharrell)
The hip-hop legend has come out of hiding...
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That is the term to describe Missy Elliot’s notable absence from music for a decade now.
Finally, after years of silence the hip hop force is back to business with long-term collaborator/friend Pharrell Williams. Missy just released “WTF (Where They From)” via iHeartRadio... but does Missy still have the heat?
A percussion heavy introduction initiates the song as anticipation is built through Missy’s critique of everyone else’s moves. “The dance you doing is dumb, how they do where you from” Missy announces as the Pharrell production gets louder and inclusive in more drum beats.
“Shawty what?” Pharrell asks before Missy again comment’s on the dumb movements of her competitors. Before the audience think the hip-hop pioneer has lost it, Missy initiates her run. The signature fast flow and light hearted spirit are echoed through her premier verse.
Missy’s entrance is littered with imperatives, commanding the audience to dance, but embedded in verse one also is the confidence that Missy in her prime possessed. “Hot new dance for the hood to make it” she raps mid-way through. The video embodies the fresh moves that Missy promises she has too, dancers everywhere are moving in sync with the entertainer, giving us the futuristic feel that Missy Elliot’s brand is classically comprised of.
The chorus then takes the lead and the same “The dance you doing is dumb” line is repeated with some more comedic lines from Missy and the drums maintain the same fun and engaging environment through out, making Missy’s comeback even more exciting. In the video Missy is seen changing outfit’s at least twice each minute, the dance moves are maintained also and the different back drops remind us how creative Team Missy really are and also show us why she’s been so highly anticipated over her absent years.
Pharrell takes the mic in verse two and launches as a puppet. Bass is also added to the mix on his entrance. “I come into this b**** like liquid” the heavy-weight musician spits. In his verse are onomatopoeia's, more imperatives and some sentimental metaphor’s, which help to keep up the momentum of “WTF”. “Lyrically, I’m optimus prime” he states towards the end of the verse, however true or not that is, it was one of the more funny segments in his verse and helped engage the listener, in a humorous way of course.
The puppets in the music video also extended the diversity of the video and kept it original and not just a generic big budget, dance routine number - not that WTF was generic without it as Missy’s outfits, dancing and art in the video kept it distinctive already, but it firmly solidified its variation from other videos presented in a similar format.
Missy shakes us up one more time before the visual/song reaches its climax.
The multifaceted act takes the final verse to sum up why she is who she is and how she got to being so big in the Hip-hop world. “Man I’m so futuristic” Missy self-evaluates, before the drum led beat abandons her for a couple of seconds and she re-affirms her worth once more.
Beyond this, the expected and oh so satisfying dance break we knew Missy would provide was there, following this verse serving as a final warning that she’s back to business.
She claws back with her comeback track and reminds hip-hop veterans that they need to stay on their toes sooner rather than later. However, a slight downer on this track was the Pharrell production, it felt that Missy’s flow deserved something slightly edgier in bounce and pace.
In the following singles to come, Missy should diversify her collaborative pallet and mix things up. She is the most futuristic hip-hop talent that the world has ever seen in the mainstream, so she needs to up the ante and truly be a force of nature in the follow ups.
Ultimately, anything she touches she brings to life so this was by no means terrible, just too mellow.