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Sunday, July 17, 2005


Missy Elliott: "The Cookbook"

The divine Miss E's sixth album of spicy hip-hop and juicy R&B is even more old school than her last joint, the criminally underrated "This Is Not a Test!" Dismissing her sous chef Timbaland after two excellent opening cuts, she takes sole charge of the kitchen and brings in the original irresponsible rapper, Slick Rick, who sets the messy mood with his libidinal sneer. "Let's go to the crib, get cozy in the nude, and treat me like a prostitute," Missy mugs, commandeering Rick's most famous line while advancing her own agenda, which is partly about sex but mostly about being on top.

Though she's keen on proving herself against 5-star guests like Ciara, Pharrell and M.I.A., she isn't desperate. It's a happy culinary competition, even when she's borrowing ingredients wholesale from their suppliers as she duets with them. "I'm like grease in the fryin' pan," she oozes provocatively, oiling up Mary J. Blige's classic "What's the 411?" while Mary herself stands by ready to add the sugar and mix it all together. It's a whole new recipe: tastes great and fills you up.

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