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Missy Elliott – Under Construction (2002)

January 12, 2015

[Album 366/1001]220px-Under_Construction_Cover

I’m glad that by 2002, Missy had dropped the ‘misdemeanor’ nickname from her album cover.

I hear misdemeanor, I think insignificant, petty.  And petty, insignificant complaints are all I can muster regarding criticism of Under Construction.

With a few tweaks (like dropping the superfluous Work It remix and taking out the constant track-opening reminders that “this is a Missy Elliott exclusive”), this is close to a perfect record.

Oh and thank goodness it’s winter as I can’t envision a situation where I’d be comfortable listening to Pussycat with the windows down.

But apart from that, even if Missy thinks of Under Construction as a work in progress, it’s among the strongest finished hip hop products I’ve heard.

There’s not exactly a shortage of star power, with cameos by the likes of Method Man, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, TLC, and 50 Cent.

I often find guest spots distracting but here each adds value.  Ludacris provides my personal favourite line of the album, referencing the immortal Detective John Kimble on Gossip Folks, “I’ve got a headache and it’s not a tumor.”

Despite the supporting cast and renowned producer (Timbaland), Missy is spot on (and only slightly immodest) when she says she’s “the star of the show.”

I was hooked by her spoken intro, talking about the need for a different tone in hip hop.  There’s still some self-aggrandizing in the lyrics but for the most part, she has something to say and as co-writer, co-producer and lead performer, she packages her message effectively.

Under Construction couldn’t be further from my wheelhouse, a comfort zone likely best described as ’80s/90s sad bastard guitar rock.’  For others who might feel similarly out of their element with a 2002 Missy Elliott CD, it’s a trip outside the comfort zone well worth taking.

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From → 2000s

8 Comments
  1. Under Construction was a very popular record when I was in high school! Great review.

    • My thanks Ms. Coolsville – admittedly I only knew Work It at the time, glad I finally gave the full record a chance 13 years later!

  2. Nicely done. I only know the singles but I do really like them.

  3. I reviewed The Cookbook on the KMA ages ago (my goodness, in 2007!) and I know we have this one here in the house somewhere. My lovely wife like Elliott’s work, so I may have to go dig it out and give it a spin!

    • It’s worth diggin’ out!
      She’s got another one on the 1001 list (from ’97 or so, I don’t think it’s the cookbook, can’t recall the name) but I’ve been converted after Under Construction

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kate Bush – The Dreaming (1982) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott – Supa Dupa Fly (1997) | 1001albumsin10years

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