Friday, August 30th, 2019

Missy Elliott – Throw It Back

[4], my people?


Nortey Dowuona: EEEEEEEEE (but seriously, the low, humming bass and sliding, slinky drums that Missy slots on and walks to Durban over the Atlantic with are really guud.)

Julian Axelrod: Missy Elliott inspires such infectious joy in my dumb gerbil brain that she effectively parries any critiques my angry rat brain might lob at a new single. (YES I have two brains YES they’re both from rodents YES scientists are baffled and disgusted!!!) Is “Throw It Back” too simple and contemporary for such a forward-thinking artist? Or is this beat the sound of culture catching up with Missy, its woozy whine and low-flying drone a Pollock paint splash on the blueprint she created? Is this the coronation of Elliott’s 2010s nostalgia tour, more preoccupied with exalting her past then defining her future? Rejoinder: Haven’t the last few years taught us to celebrate our icons while they’re still present and vital and making videos that look like someone poured acid into Lemonade? (And even if her bars are self-referential, bragging about producing for Tweet in the 90s is an unbelievable flex.) And the question that kept gnawing at me: Doesn’t this feel like it could kinda be done by any other rapper? The irony is that plenty of artists will try to recreate it; the beauty is that none will succeed.

Kylo Nocom: Leikeli47 valiantly claimed her spot as the heir to Missy Elliott’s legacy a couple years back; Missy responds by stooping down to the former’s level of monotonous hooks, bafflingly basic club beats, and corniness that pervade the former’s catalog. A kind tribute that probably goes off outside of active listening, but not worth waiting until I’m 21 to figure that out.

Alfred Soto: Even for a genre that has thrived on callbacks to evanescent glories — a phenomenon in which Missy Elliott herself participated — “Throw It Back” casts itself as a nostalgia move of unexpected lethargy. Fourteen years on from the era of 50 Cent and The Game and Iraq, what aural signposts does Missy offer for a generation that may recognize nothing more than her moniker? The beat’s at best eh, and the languor of her delivery lacks charisma. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: Last week when Missy Elliott dropped her latest EP, I had to stop and reflect on the fact that it was close to three and a half years ago that her initial talks of a comeback began. Despite being Missy-agnostic for a lot of my life, I thought “Where They From” was complimentary to all of her strengths and the right sort of note to return on, but it revealed a greater issue for her: how does a woman approaching her 50s fit in the ever ageist, still relatively sexist, and incredibly disposable landscape of rap? Especially one whose specific lane of blurring R&B, rap and pop is now commonplace but also drastically shifted in tone from what the present day younger audience demands. In the same way a teenager now probably can’t inherently grasp what made Wu-Tang or Outkast appreciable, a time barrier exists for Missy. So what to do? “WTF” was a good burst of nostalgia but didn’t make any real radio traction, and nor did it impress newer listeners (the less said about follow-up attempts like “Pep Rally” the better). Becoming an adult-oriented “legacy artist” didn’t suit the perception of Missy and would also have made her rely on what aren’t her strengths (go back to “Pass The Dutch” and it’s easily her worst single of all time). All these issues come forth on “Throw It Back”, a song that has a video which literally begins with an innocent child being told she’s Supposed To Care about Missy Elliott when frankly, there’s dozens of rappers closer to her age borne from the battles that Missy won. Likewise her rapping, boasting about bearing multiple progeny, is relying on a recognition of how important she is based on history and status. This isn’t assailable based on truth, but it’s baffling to think this would be “cool” or “fun”, which are normally some of the easiest adjectives to throw at Missy Elliott. Even the beat itself doesn’t sound particularly energetic, instead a gross squelch of faux-trap that feels years dated. It’s a bitter pill to swallow that in order to impress upon listeners her value, Missy Elliott would make a song that’s so joyless and uninspiring that it ultimately betrays her iconoclasm. 

Edward Okulicz: My jaw dropped when Missy dropped “She’s a Bitch” all those years ago with its incredibly menacing, minimalist groove. It really did sound ahead of the game. “Throw It Back,” obviously, harkens back to that idea, and functions something like a low-key greatest hits package for her. Silly noises, braggadocio that’s fun and good cheer. Missy Elliott of 2019 sounding like the Missy Elliott of the past is okay by me.

Joshua Lu: A rare instance where, instead of trying to build on her legacy, it feels like Missy Elliott is cashing in on it instead, this time with a painfully inert single lacking in any takeaways other than it being attached to her first body of work in fourteen years. Ah well, she’s long since earned the right to be disposable.

Reader average: [6.33] (3 votes)

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8 Responses to “Missy Elliott – Throw It Back”

  1. I will not stand for this Pass That Dutch slander

  2. +1 those are fighting words

  3. Of course it’s Maxwell “King of the Edgelords” Cavaseno taking a dump on ‘Pass That Dutch’. I don’t have to take this kind of blasphemous BS from a fan of Young Thug.

  4. Would y’all rather I’d reminded you “Sock It To Me” is utterly unlistenable in 2019? Also for shape someone would go after one of the rappers who’d give Missy props just to lord over liking a rapper who’s prime was close to 20 years ago! Objectively!

  5. Young Thug is great though, and Maxwell has considerably cooled on him in the past few years. Anyways, I’d be curious to see what kids nowadays would prefer to hear… I have a feeling many would take Young Thug over Missy (which isn’t to speak of their music’s quality so much as how tastes skew nowadays).

  6. young thug, pass that dutch, and sock it to me are all great

  7. and this song is good too. to me the production doesn’t actually sound that old, at least not in a lazy or backwards-looking way. it sounds like older trap production mixed with bounce and old school electro influences to me. and not only pulls off the combination but draws interesting links between different styles.

  8. lmfao if you use ‘objectively’ to add flavour to your uneducated opinion that doesn’t make it right. keep missy’s name out of your mouth.

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