By Josh Schonfeld
It’s been ten years since Missy Elliott’s last major hit, “Lose Control,” was released. Now, after poorly-received buzz singles, health issues, and a surprise appearance at Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, Missy is finally back where she belongs: at the top of the charts. Her latest single, “WTF (Where They From)” is produced by mastermind Pharrell Williams, who also provides a verse on the track himself. Mixing a menagerie of differing dance beats with spit-fire rap verses, “WTF” falls right into place in Missy’s dance-rap discography.
As if trying to start an old car, the track begins with a heavy stomp that skips into a downward spiral of a journey into the heart of the bassline. Missy makes her arrival with the longwinded syllables that make up the chorus. While not the catchiest chorus and even a little annoying, it allows a proper setup to the meat of the song: Missy Elliott’s over-the-top rap verses. The constant slamming of the cymbals provides the perfect backing to Missy’s comeback as she throws down the gauntlet to her plebeian colleagues. Who knew the world needed another big butt song, and by a 44 year-old no less?
The track begins to sour with Pharrell’s sloppy verse. While his production is top-notch quality, his rapping is not. The melody twists into some schoolyard chant as he calls himself “Optimus Prime.” The saving grace of it all is that it only makes us yearn for Missy’s final verse even more. She returns with her classic line of gibberish that has been so sorely missed in all our lives.
With the charts dominated by slower break-up songs such as “Hello” and “What Do You Mean?” lately, it’s refreshing to have a heart-pounding dance-rap party anthem rising to the top again. “WTF” silences the haters who thought Missy was done and proves to the world that no one works it like Missy can. While nothing can touch the masterpieces of “Work It” and “Ger Ur Freak On,” it is still a nice addition to her collection and shows that even at age 44, you can still be supa dupa fly.