Released: 11th November 2002.
Missy returns with a new album, and a top 10 single to boot, but what is the album about? Missy states herself as a work "Under Construction", hence the title, and this is yet another of those post-September-11th albums, but even more so, this entire album is dedicated to Aaliyah. What has come out? Is it any good?
What is instantly noticeable is that this album is the perfect soundtrack to a hip-hop/R&B club. The first two tracks are perfectly okay, but nothing special. Then comes the new single, "Gossip Folks". It's a really obvious choice for a single, highlighting one of the themes of the album (how much Missy hates gossip about her) whilst also being a really fun track. I make no attempt to hide the fact that I do not like the first single, "Work It". It might be really good beatwise, but lyrics range between the disgusting and the stupid, such as "Call before you come, I need to shave my cocha" and "Ra-ta-ta-ta Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta", and whoever told her "Get your hair did" was good grammar needs to go back to school! That's before we get to the "Bomp-a-bomp-bomp" and "Domp-a-domp-don't". All in all, a plain daft track.
"Back In The Day" features the instantly recognisable rapping of Jay-Z, and you know what to expect. The two of them reminisce of the early days of hip-hop. This seems like an obvious choice for a single and that's not just because of the names involved. By "Funky Fresh Dressed" you're starting to get fed up all the talking. The track itself is largely forgettable, as is the follow up, giving a whole new meaning to the title "Pussycat", so much so that it is titled "P****cat" on the title. Really, do we need to have sexual images of Missy Elliott in our minds? Her guest appearance on "Oops! Oh My" was bad enough!
The other half of the Jay/Bee couple, Beyonce, crops up on "Nothing Out There For Me", and the quality suddenly takes a massive turn for the better. This is a pretty decent R&B track. "Slide" is boring, but "Play That Beat" isn't all that bad, certainly a good club track, even if it is slightly samey. "Ain't That Funny" has decent lyrics but a really tiresome bassline running through the whole thing. "Hot" contains undoubtedly the best lyrics on the whole album, and whilst it's not a commercial track at all, it's one that needs listening to. With "Can You Hear Me" it gets even better, and also somewhat eerie. The track is dedicated to Aaliyah, who tragically died so young in 2001 but features TLC, including Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes, who tragically died so young in 2002. The last track is a remix of "Work It" featuring Eminem's protégé 50 Cent. He's probably a really good choice, and does improve the single - but not massively.
Missy actually comments that she "don't give a s***" if reviewers don't like her album. That would be good, seeing as it hasn't changed my opinion of Missy Elliott. She is good - but massively over-rated. The same is true of this album really. It has it's high points ("Gossip Folks", "Back In The Day", "Can You Hear Me") and it's low points ("Slide", "Work It", "Pussycat") so I have to say all in all it's no better than average.