I came into today’s album with some advance expectations. “Missy Elliott has to be on your list, right?” asked Christie, several weeks ago. And last night, my son said. “I bet you are going to love that album, her beats are amazing”. They both were spot-on, her debut album, “Supa Dupa Fly” is great from beginning to end. And to be fair, as great as she is on this record, she is helped by many guest appearances, and most importantly, the phenomenal production work of Timbaland, her childhood friend from Virginia Beach.
As noted above, the drum and bass beats of this record shape, define, and raise the quality well above much of the music of its day. The record opens with a semi-bizarre hype track from the semi-bizarre Busta Rhymes, but then it kicks right into high gear with “Hit ‘Em wit da Hee”, featuring Lil’ Kim. As much as I like that track, the next song, “Sock It 2 Me”, featuring Da Brat, has an even dirtier beat and some great harmony vocals in the chorus.
The excellence continues on “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”. The bass opening on this song is ridiculous; I just don’t know how anyone couldn’t love this. Almost every song on this album is a home run; there really isn’t a weak link, but there is one song that stands out above the rest. Surprisingly, it wasn’t one of the four singles released, and yet it is absolutely infectious and so enjoyable. “Pass Da Blunt”, featuring Timbaland, is a reconfigured version of “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth, released in 1982. The blend of funk, hip-hop, soul and island flavor is just too good to be true. I somewhat expected her big hit “Get Ur Freak On” to be on this record, although that didn’t come out until 2001. With or without that track, this album is an absolute keeper.
“Supa Dupa Fly” closes out with another hype farewell from Mr. Rhymes, preceding a spoken-word thank you and acknowledgment from Missy herself. As she duly noted earlier, “Me and Timbaland, we make you want to Bite Our Style.” Yes Missy, you certainly do…