Missy Elliott - "Pep Rally" (Singles Going Steady)

Missy is still exhilarating, but "Pep Rally" doesn't quite hold up to "WTF".

Magdalen Jenne: At this point any Missy is still exhilarating, but "Pep Rally" doesn't quite hold up to "WTF", her tremendous comeback single. It's a little on-the-nose, feels a little like corporate mass-produced music, but it's still Missy bringing her best energy, which means it's still better than plenty of other stuff. [7/10]

Emmanuel Elone: This sounds like generic commercial rap music on the radio. There isn't much to distinguish it, and even less to make it memorable. The drumbeats are good, but they are worn out by the end of the song. Missy's lyrics are full of mindless repetition and metaphors about her butt. For a well-respected female rapper, she seems to be sacrificing her lyrical and musical abilities in exchange for a forgettable, Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim sounding radio hit. Unlike them, however, her music doesn't even sound decent on the first listen. [3/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: Missy has always made everything she does seem effortless and fun while still owning her space. In fact she is acutely aware of how to market herself, how to juggle numerous styles and how to almost casually do things people will still be trying to catch up to years from now. With the exception of some earlier beats kind of biting Mindless Self Indulgence during the Elektra days, everything she has ever done is fire. Really glad she is a heavy presence in the rap and pop forefront again. She is vital and so many people could learn a thing or two from her, regardless of gender. And she is sometimes the funnest to sing along with to this day. A friend agrees, adding,"Missy's ability to make me want to dance regardless of whatever situation I am in... unstoppable." [9/10]

Chad Miller: Not nearly as good as “WTF (Where They From)”. Missy Elliott does a good job rapping the verses, but the lyrics don’t measure up to the performance at all. And the “Biggity Bounce” section is pretty annoying. [5/10]

SCORE: 6.00

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Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of 2009. It turns out our selections were prescient as many of these artists have gone on to storied careers. Travel back to 2009 and see them again for the first time.


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PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed. Revisit 2009 through its best albums.

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