Throwback Thursday-Back In The Day by Missy Elliott featuring Jay-z
We all know now that Missy was a creative freak, mastermind of both music video and lose your mind dancefloor hip hop. When we go back to those hits we shouldn’t lose track of what she was overcoming. She wasn’t hailed as a genius while she was going double platinum on Under Construction. The counter narrative of the time (I was regrettably one of these dudes) was that Missy wasn’t hip hop at all but some gimmicky hybrid who neither rapped impressively or sang impressively but did enough of both over the right beats.
What I really enjoy about listening to Under Construction now is that it was made as a direct response to that narrative. 2002 Missy was staring down 2002 Dan and saying “I am hip hop. This genre was created by people to have fun which is what I’m creating.” Beyond that, her bars hold up like crazy. Jay brings TOP shelf energy namedropping and chuckling, loose and dangerous. Missy namechecks just as many great artists as Jay (the way she says Big Daddy Kane is full of the perfect amount of wistful longing for the past). Near the end of the song she busts out of her singing and drops a few bars at a fast pace and it’s quick but impressive. The song is full of so much joy and instead of making the case that “this is the old school hip hop and you don’t know” it has an air of inclusivity to it. Missy wishes the old school was the new school and the kids would know the joyful freedom of doing the cabbage patch and not worrying if you look silly. A lot of the younger generation did learn that hip hop has that joy nestled in its center, from Missy’s gleeful albums and blisteringly catchy singles. That’s an amazing legacy, especially since as good as Timbalands career has been front to back….nothing he was ever involved in sounded better than Missy’s albums. That’s not a coincidence.