Here is an example of how Missy Elliott can evolve with musical trends she didn’t necessarily invent and still sound like she did. Of course, without Missy there would be no Migos, but on “I’m Better”—surprise-released last night at midnight, a gift she knew we needed—she warpspeeds minimalist rap into her surreal future and pares it down even more. The message? What is it ever: that Missy Elliott is far fucking cooler than anyone else in this popsicle stand. “He watches my body like he watching Scandal, but I’m just here with my girls.”
It is truly astonishing, and remarkable, that Missy can continue to throw down such thrilling, visionary visual clips again and again; the lighting and hyper-shiny sheen is consistent with her repertoire (and I feel those feathers are a shout to her best friend Aaliyah’s, too, RIP), but the innovation is constant. Try not to be transfixed by the choreography by Sean Bankhead and Missy herself, which at times approaches performance art reminiscent of Donna Uchizono’s Butterflies from My Hand and also the illest butt workout at your gym; the exercise ball is suddenly new again.
Missy Elliott co-directed this with Dave Meyers, who’s also done some of her most iconic post-millennium work (“Get Ur Freak On,” “Pass That Dutch” etc). It’s not been announced whether this will be followed by that long-promised, long-awaited new album, but at least it’s something!