Mixtapes for Hookers

2002. Don’t Songs #1 Look Like A Halle Berry Poster?
October 8, 2009, 4:45 pm
Filed under: design of a decade, lists, music | Tags: , , ,

[Yay! We’re finally at the end of my wrap-up of my 10 favorite songs from 2002.]

1.  Missy Elliott, Work It, and Outkast, The Whole World

Missy Elliott’s fourth album, Under Construction, is a tribute to her old-school hip-hop heroes.  It’s also the Virginia rapper’s poppiest record, and her best-selling effort to date.  And needless to say, because it’s Missy Elliott, it’s also completely nuts.

Work It, the album’s first (and craziest) single, kicks off with a sample from Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three’s 1984 classic Request Line.  Then the song quickly moves into a snaky synth pattern appropriated from the intro to Blondie’s Heart Of Glass. Over Timbaland’s simmering production, Missy raps at length about her chocha, her weight loss, and all the different ways that she’s horny.  But there’s also an elephant trumpeting in the chorus, and some lines played backwards, and twenty-five seconds before it’s over it turns into a completely different song, just for the hell of it.

Timbaland’s production might sound a little stale and gimmicky these days, but that’s only because he’s spent recent years whoring himself out to everyone from Chris Cornell to Russia’s 2008 Eurovision entry.  Seven years ago, Missy got all his best beats, and she in turn used them to tell the whole world about what a big horndog she is.  Even now it’s odd to hear female rappers being so frank; sexed-up ladies out there, sure, but they’re not the ones on the radio.  And When was the last time you heard someone on the top 40 tell somebody to call first so she can shave her nether areas?  It doesn’t happen.

But Work It was, somehow, a pop hit.  It became Missy’s most successful single on the Hot 100, getting as high as #2 and staying there for a record-tying ten weeks.  (All ten of those weeks were spent behind Eminem’s Lose Yourself.)  The album went double platinum and got an Album of the Year Grammy nomination.  And both Rolling Stone and Village Voice critics called Work It the best single of the year.

But time has left Work It a little worse for year, and I’m not just talking about that one fake Chinese line.  The whole world is probably suffering from Timbaland overload at this point, and probably it doesn’t help that Missy’s been so quiet lately, too.  Sure, she’s put out singles and guest-rapped quite a bit, but she hasn’t had an album since 2005.  And hip-hop radio’s stiflingly short attention span sadly leaves most any song over three months old in the dust.

That’s also a shame for Outkast, the duo with several of the greatest singles of the decade.  While The Whole World isn’t as critically beloved as 2000’s zippy B.O.B., it was actually a pretty big hit (which B.O.B. wasn’t), reaching #19 on the Hot 100.  The Organized Noize-produced track appeared on the duo’s greatest hits compilation, which was released at the end of 2001.

Featuring a guest turn by Killer Mike, the track sounds like a playground melody you could skip rope to, but each of the three rappers has something sinister to say.  In his verse, Andre 3000 gives a shout out to all the airport employees laid-off after 9/11 stopped everyone from flying; Killer Mike throws a reference to the late Aaliyah in his, and Big Boi slips in a mention of a black boxes.  it brings the rhymes together in a way that most songs with three rappers would never bother to do.

1 Comment so far
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I assumed Halle Berry was in such a caring relationship with views of a really long marriage. Seems like there aren’t any joyful marriages similar to mine any longer – twenty years together and even now happy.

Comment by Leana Luangrath

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