Album Reviews

Missy Elliott – The Cookbook

(Atlantic) UK release date: 4 July 2005

Missy Elliott - The Cookbook

Missy Elliott has had some timely publicity in the UK with her own Pop Idol style show Road To Stardom and her pivotal role in launching the success of Ciara. Although it seems like an eternity since the largely disappointing Under Construction was released, and with a few pounds shed she’s back with The Cookbook.

The album kicks off with a relatively humorous skit taking the first minute and a half of Joy before the low end bass line courtesy of the Timbaland hit factory kicks in, thumping and shaking behind the gritty signature rap of Missy. The track then breaks into Mike Jones‘ flow although the similarities between him and Ludacris make things slightly confusing.

The jumbled start continues with Party Time, unsurprisingly an upbeat number but it’s thrown into disarray with the rap. There’s nothing technically wrong with it, although it feels like a freestyle, questioning how much thought was actually put into it.

Irresistible Delicious is better, but only marginally and largely thanks to the retro feel to it, although the random shouts of “holler” have has much merit and necessity as Lil’ Jon’s trademark “yeah”. At least it’s not as annoying as that demented frog, although it is not far off. Fortunately the uplifting first single from The Cookbook Lose Control regains your interest.

As disjointed as My Struggles is, it’s a classic track with heartfelt lyrics blended with Grand Puba’s lyrical wizadry all before the beat breaks into Mary J Blige‘s The 414. It is masterful in concept and delivery, although is something that probably only real hip-hop fans would appreciate fully.

On And On is another speaker thumper with a high end techno beat but that’s about all there is to the track as Missy Elliot’s rapping feels as if it’s been thrown on as a real afterthought to the beat. It all seems a little too uneasy, as if some one’s being trying a jigsaw of a lion but ending up with something resembling a dog.

The sample of Sugarhill Gang‘s Apache makes We Run This, a filthy track in the best sense of the word with Missy admitting “this chick is a sick individual”. It’s lively and vibrant, really being based about being drunk and strutting her stuff. It’s a nice slice of fun. Remember When chills things out but is over reliant on a hazy but strong beat and is on an R&B tip. However two minutes in you realise it simply doesn’t work.

Can’t Stop wakes things up with another lively and crushing start and maintaining an upbeat vibe throughout. However other than Click Clack the tail end of The Cookbook crumbles like a handful of sand, which is the story of the entire album. This is very much a fans only album, much like Missy’s other efforts. For non-fans stick to buying the singles you like – otherwise you’ll be left rather disappointed.

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More on Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott – Respect M.E.
Missy Elliott – The Cookbook
Missy Elliott – This Is Not A Test