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Missy Elliott releasing two new tracks over Labor Day weekend

August 27, 2012|By Randall Roberts | Times Pop Music Critic
  • Missy Elliott, shown in 2003, is returning from a seven-year hiatus after coping with the onset of Graves' disease, a thyroid condition.
Missy Elliott, shown in 2003, is returning from a seven-year hiatus after… (Jeff J. Mitchell )

This post has been updated. See below for details.

Missy Elliott, the trendsetting rapper whose string of hits with compadre Timbaland helped propel her onto the hip-hop charts with some of the weirdest commercial tracks of the late '90s an early '00s, will be releasing two new singles over Labor Day weekend. The tracks reportedly will be from a forthcoming album, her first since 2005's "The Cookbook." 

"Watch it world we backk!!!" wrote Timbaland on Twitter. "My sista @MissyElliott is droppin her singles #9thinning and #triplethreat labor day weekend."

Elliott's return has been buzzed about for the past half-year, when she started teasing her avid fan base with tidbits and returned to the mike for verses with Busta Rhymes, MIA, Demi Lovato and others.

Before this year, her presence was more spectral, as a host of young female rappers harnessed the power Elliott conveyed at the peak of her powers, when "Work It," "Get Ur Freak On," "Pass That Dutch," "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" and others hit the radio waves with the surprise joy of water balloons to the eardrums.

Elliott rose to fame alongside fellow Timbaland prodigy Aaliyah, all out of Virginia Beach, Va., and over the course of five amazing years pushed at the edges of hip-hop and pop. She's returning from a seven-year hiatus after coping with the onset of Graves' disease, a thyroid condition that sidelined her for much of the latter half of the '00s.

But though she'll be returning to a new music landscape, she and Timbaland's sound predicted pop's recent convergence with techno and house-heavy sounds and rhythms. One could argue that "Lose Control," her robotic fast-paced 2005 dance jam that sampled Juan Atkins' classic Detroit techno track "Control," foretold pop's direction.

For his part, Timbaland hasn't been able to hit as he did at his mid-'00s peak, though he's been teasing the third installment of his "Shock Value" series for the past year with a few songs. Most notably, "Pass at Me," a banging club track featuring Pitbull, was released about a year ago but failed to make much of a dent, and certainly wasn't the producer's most innovative release. "Shock Value III" doesn't have a release date.

Nor does Elliott's upcoming full-length, but two new tracks are better than nothing. When she performed "9th Inning" at an April club gig in New York, video cameras captured a clip that references Run D.M.C.'s song "Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse)." What else is in store will have wait.

No word on when, specifically, over Labor Day weekend the singles will hit, but we'll keep you posted.

Correction: The original version of this post wrongly identified the writer of the techno track "Clear." The song was written by Juan Atkins, not, as originally written, Kevin Saunderson. The text has been corrected.


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