With her latest album Missy Elliott attempts to solidify her position as a sex symbol through her most sexually charged work to date. The Cookbook is driven by tales of infidelity and promiscuity that offer little substance and no replay value off the dance floor. Riddled with overused samples and tasteless lyrics, this volume of Miss Elliottâ€šÃ„Ã´s career is best left to the strip clubs and dancehalls.
The Cookbook begins with a promising list of guest appearances including legends like Slick Rick, Grand Puba, and Mary J. Blige. However, these collaborations are nothing more than remakes of hip hop classics that donâ€šÃ„Ã´t quite live up to their original counterparts. Missy borrows Slick Rickâ€šÃ„Ã´s British accent in an update of â€šÃ„ÃºLick the Ballsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ entitled â€šÃ„ÃºIrresistible Deliciousâ€šÃ„Ã¹ in which Missy proceeds to make sexual advances towards the old school legend. Rick counters with claims of being happily married, far removed from the days when his motto was â€šÃ„Ãºtreat â€šÃ„Ã²em like a prostitute.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Next Missy turns the classic Grand Puba and Mary J. Blige collaboration â€šÃ„ÃºWhatâ€šÃ„Ã´s the 411?â€šÃ„Ã¹ into a threesome called â€šÃ„ÃºMy Struggles.â€šÃ„Ã¹ While Puba and Mary J. shine bright as ever, Missyâ€šÃ„Ã´s gripes fail to add anything to justify this recreation.
Aside from the obvious remakes, The Cookbook often borrows elements from 80â€šÃ„Ã´s hits. Missyâ€šÃ„Ã´s hit single, â€šÃ„ÃºLose Controlâ€šÃ„Ã´ is reminiscent of Afrika Bambattaâ€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºPlanet Rockâ€šÃ„Ã¹ with the same intense energy and tempo, complete with the same synthesized bells, handclaps and electronically distorted hooks that established â€šÃ„ÃºPlanet Rockâ€šÃ„Ã¹ as a staple of old school hip hop.
While the efforts of The Cookbook are commendable, listeners are better off purchasing original works rather than average reproductions.