Monday, March 12, 2007

Rap Song Mondays- Missy Elliott "Work It"

For my inaugural edition of Rap Song Monday, I decided to choose what I rightly consider my favorite rap/hip-hop song (as of this very second anyways- there are two others that are right at top with this song): Missy Elliott’s electric club-banger “Work It” which continues to impress me five years after I first heard it.

Missy Elliott is probably my favorite rapper, male or female. She really makes an effort to be original in everything that she does from her beats and lyrics to her fashion and stunning music videos. I mean, who else could deliver a line like “I’m a bad mamma jamma goddammit motherfucker, you ain’t gotta like me” and have it seem like something revelatory (I personally live by that phrase)? And she doesn’t try to be political like Kanye, deeply personal like Eminem or overly sexual like Lil’ Kim (and most female rappers for that matter). Missy sticks to her hot club bangers that are totally different and great to move to.

Out of all of Missy’s impressive tracks, “Work It,” for me, stands above all. Maybe it’s the memories of all the discussions my friend Kayla and I had when the song came out and how we marveled at its ingeniousness and hilarity (The whole getting your “hair did” was a favorite of ours). Or maybe it’s the 11th grade English paper I wrote about its use of poetry techniques (“I’ll make you hot as Las Vegas weather” is a simile) and the B+ I got on it (Reading the paper again, I don’t know how I wasn’t sent to the principal because the thing is pretty distasteful and somewhat vulgar).

Perhaps the ultimate reason why I love “Work It” is Missy’s inventive rhymes and lines. Whether she’s rapping about Kunta Kinte (“Kunta Kinte, enslave a game, no suh/Picture black saying oh yessa massa”), getting a date drunk (“Let’s get drunk, it’s gonna bring us closer/Don’t I look like a Halle Berry poster?”) or shaving “down there” (“Call before you come, I need to shave my cho-cha”), Missy is clearly having fun and not taking herself too seriously. Like Groucho Marx’s character in Duck Soup, every line works and offers something hilarious, insightful or, at the very least, is integral to the song.

It also doesn’t hurt that Timbaland is producing the track and he turns out one of his hottest beats EVER. Holy shit, plus there’s that music video? It is one of the few music videos I have seen that have actually enhanced the song and made it even greater (Who would think that was possible?).

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