Friday, February 10, 2023

Missy Elliott, Supa Dupa Fly (1997)

These beats are timestamped to 1997. The low-tech sounds make the inside of my ears itch. Shame for Missy Elliott and co, because I'm sure these drum machines cost a pretty penny.

Hip-hop was in such an awkward transitional period when Missy Elliot dropped this debut album. 2Pac's All Eyez on Me had come out in '96. Then in an effort to make a cash-grab off the man's death in September 1996, his last (?) intentionally-recorded album was released in November of the same year. (It was released under the pseudonym Makaveli, and it is often identified as such, rather than by its more memory-taxing title, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, whatever that means.) As retaliation for the death of Tupac, someone killed Notorious B.I.G. on March 9, 1997. B.I.G.'s second and final album, Life After Death, was released a couple weeks after. Hip-hop in transition indeed.

An examination of the notable hip-hop albums of 1997 reveals slim pickings. Some of the top-selling stuff did not withstand the test of time. No Limit Records, Master P's label, with its cheesy, glossy covers, was in its ascension. Apart from Tupac and Biggie, there wasn't much else to write home about. The exception was Jay-Z's second album. And of course some would hold up this debut album from Missy Elliott as one of the best albums of the year, but I wouldn't.

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