Missy Elliott embarks on another journey with This Is Not A Test!, her fifth studio release since her magnificent debut in 1996. And little has changed since the pivotal debut record as Missy graces us with another mix of bump and grind, hip-hop, and R&B songs, reminiscent of old school griminess and new school freakiness.
The flow and magnetism of This Is Not A Test! is established immediately with the second track, titled “Pass That Dutch," warning listeners that they have “5 seconds to catch their breath" as the bass thumps and the drum claps. This assault and attack has always been Missy's formula and is unmistakable throughout the entire record. Some will agree that this record should have been called “Under Construction 2.01439," but the fact remains that Missy Elliott has always been able to surpass each of her records by specifically focusing on what made her previous efforts so successful. This time around, This Is Not A Test's intent was to place her abstract sexual innuendos directly at the forefront of the record. And like the success of “Get Ur Freak On" and “Work it" from previous albums, Missy has shed sixty pounds of modern day modesty and traded it for a dripping dose of sexual fascination and allure.
The beats and production remain another solid and versatile functionality of the record. Like previous offerings, the beats are fresh and inviting, creating an aura of toe tapping and booty shaking. Even if the record is similar to previous Missy releases, the beats continue to improve and maintain their originality. From the hardcore minimalism of “Wake Up" to the old school funk vibe of “I'm Really Hot," This Is Not A Test! triumphs at recreating and improving the music of Missy Elliott. Bump this record in your ride, and you will catch yourself bopping your head like a 1970s pimp. And that's all right, because Missy has always been the queen bee to turn the party out. But what is evident is that her confidence is blooming and her approach and style has definitely hit a plateau. Yet, Missy has not altered her musical approach since 2001, with Miss E... So Addictive. She established her sound at the beginning of her successful career and has remained at the top of her game ever
since. So has there been any progression or distinctive improvement in Missy Elliott's work lately? Perhaps not, but then again, a plateau is exactly where Missy Elliott wants to be; another flat surface where people can get loose, dance, and be entertained.
1. Baby Girl (Interlude/Intro) feat. Mary J Blige
2. Bomb Intro / Pass That Dutch
3. Wake Up feat. Jay-Z
4. Keep It Movin' feat. Elephant Man
5. Is This Our Last Time feat. Fabolous
6. Ragtime Interlude / I'm Really Hot
7. Dat's What I'm Talking About
8. Don't Be Cruel feat. Monica & Beenie Man
9. Toyz Interlude / Toyz
10. Let It Bump
11. Pump It Up feat. Nelly
12. It's Real
13. Let Me Fix My Weave
14. Spelling Bee Interlude / Spelling Bee
15. I'm Not Perfect feat. Clark Sisters
16. Outro feat. Mary J Blige