Old New Borrowed Blue #13: M.E.
Perhaps I should not assume that everyone is as obsessed with Missy Elliott’s return as I am, but considering her new video for WTF (WHERE THEY FROM) basically broke the internet yesterday, I know I’m not the only one. So, for those of you who cannot get enough of M.E., I’ve compiled a few of her outstanding tracks and videos for your enjoyment and consumption. You may also want to check out some of my archived Video Stars top 10 lists (that admittedly need some updating) in which Missy made a few appearances here, here, and here. And now for just a few more of M.E.’s memorable multimedia masterpieces.
At first I considered taking “old” as literally as possible, and sharing something from Missy’s girl group days. My own personal intro to Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s skill and style was on the Dangerous Minds OST, but since Sista never had a video for IT’S ALRIGHT, I’ll stick with the now iconic video from 1997, THE RAIN featuring Hype Williams’ favourite fish-eye lens.
If only Missy’s collaboration with Janet Jackson on BURNITUP! had a video. While we wait for that (and hopefully a new album!?) I am quite sure that WTF (WHERE THEY FROM) – with all of its personality and energy – will more than suffice (even if the whole thing would benefit from keeping Pharrell behind the soundboard and away from the microphone… ).
This was tricky. For one, the most obvious sample is the fabulous WE RUN THIS, borderline covering APACHE. Secondly the samples that make up WORK IT are subtle genius, not to mention the video is one of her all time greatest. Maybe I’ll bring it up here on another day. And then there’s everyone who ever covered GET UR FREAK ON, highlighting another one of Missy’s more brilliant and memorable videos. Instead I’ve picked the video for I’M REALLY HOT, which has some amazing dance-off style choreography. At around the 3:00 minute mark, the video version turns into a bit of a remix of itself, sampling this catchy jazzy piano line used in Soho’s HOT MUSIC (JAZZY MIX).
Although officially sampled from Soho’s mix, the bar of piano is originally lifted from a Marcus Roberts’ solo on Wynton Marsalis track, SKAIN’S DOMAIN from his 1986 album, J Mood. We’ve only heard about a bar’s worth so far, and these guys swing hard. The whole thing is definitely worth a listen if you’re up for a break from the visuals.
Generally Missy supplies us with party anthems, but there are a couple tracks where she slows it down. The woman has definitely mourned her fair share of friends and colleagues, which has been the inspiration for TAKE AWAY and even the video intro for PASS THAT DUTCH. But TEARY EYED is a breakup song that reminds us of Missy’s serious side and vocal abilities, even if it leaves you wanting to click another link for a bit more rap.
What are your favourite Missy videos?