This Week in Hip-Hop: Missy Elliott’s The Cookbook

Any time I see a comment, post or editorial written about the Queen of female emcees, I find myself shaking my head at the masses. I don’t think that my opinion holds any more weight than the next, but I give credit when credit is due. Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim seem to be all I ever read about. But what about Eve, Trina, Lil’ Mo, and Missy Elliott?  After dropping a half dozen albums with raw lyrics, prestigious features and master engineering, she needs to be included in these conversations.

The Cookbook was Missy Elliott’s sixth and final album. Released on July 4, 2005, this was my favorite Missy joint. As a 9-year-old kid, I didn’t understand the importance of the album until much later. Still, I became the funkiest, baddest and phreshest kid on the block once I introduced it to my friends.

Now, at age 20, I have found a newfound appreciation for her empowerment of gender, race and culture. Although released more than 10 years ago, The Cookbook could be renamed “The Feminist Guide to being Dope,” in 2017. Missy and her music is a manifestation of the core values of feminism, but over 808s and Timbaland beats, like Mommy, which is her personal flex on the album.

She often refers to herself as a boss, a shot-caller and hustler. She’s proud of her sexual prowess and has no problem letting the world know what she wants. Tracks like Meltdown and Irresistible Delicious show the freak-side of Missy, while 4 My Man is an ode to her lover that focuses on the emotional aspects of a relationship.

Missy Elliott may not be the most appreciated femcee, but she’s my queen of the turnup. Every album she’s ever dropped has been laced with bangers: party bangers, club bangers, barbecue bangers and just straight up BANGERS. Missy also helped Ciara’s career take off, after being featured in the Lose Control video.

Add a teaspoon of Mary J and Ciara to the mix. A dash of Slick Rick. A pinch of Fantasia. A cup of Timbaland and The Neptunes. Smother it with Scott Storch. Cook it up, and you’ve got one of the most influential artists in hip hop.