Missy Elliott Returns with Two New Singles, Produced by Timbaland

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 18 2012 12:05 PM

Missy Elliott Returns with Two New Singles

104676075
Missy Elliott performs on stage during the Parklife Music Festival at Moore Park on October 3, 2010 in Sydney, Australia.

Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images

After four years without a single and seven years without a proper album, one-time queen of hip-hop Missy Elliott returned with two new singles last night. Both tracks, “Triple Threat” and “9th Inning,” are produced by longtime Missy collaborator Timbaland, who brings to each one of his usual, dense, eclectic club beats.

After so many years out of the game, can Missy still get her freak on? Neither track strikes me as a monster hit right off the bat, but they more than serve their stated purpose: to reestablish her as a hip-hop heavy hitter. “9th Inning,” the better of the pair, plays with an extended comeback metaphor about the best being back in the game, while “Triple Threat” reminds listeners that she can “Rap, dance, and I’m a singer.” She doesn’t bother reminding the listener that she’s also a producer and a songwriter—but then, on her next track, she won’t have to bother reminding us that she can rap either.
 
Elliott’s return comes amidst a wave of women tearing up hip-hop, with the new queen Nicki Minaj followed by up-and-comers like Azealia Banks. It’s been suggested that, prior to this new wave, there was only ever one commercially successful female rapper at a given time, but that idea was outdated even during Missy’s peak, when Lil Kim and others were also throwing albums toward the top of the charts. It’s even more outdated now. As long as they can stay current—the reference to collect calls doesn’t exactly help Missy here—there’s always room for unique voices.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.