What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's a lot of sexy stuff here -- including a track all about sex toys and some references to oral sex. The adult language and concepts definitely make this for a more mature listener. But the singer's fairly feminist perspective does provide a positive counterpoint to other hip-hop artists whose tracks are often drenched in misogyny.
What's the story?
Missy Elliot's got a sleeker look, and the album's packaging has a tough militant look, but from the first single "Pass That Dutch" to retro sounding "Let it Bump," THIS IS NOT A TEST is full of fun and clever lyrics and loops. Elliot's ballads are a little less interesting, having a similar tone that grows a little tired by album 's end. But all in all, there's plenty here to groove to, laugh at -- and even be inspired by. Get ready for some serious sex talk; references include oral sex and sex toys, plus a graphic appearance from R. Kelly. But the album's messages are overwhelmingly positive. From the anti-materialistic "Wake Up" ("if you ain't got a cellular phone, it's all right) to "Pump it Up", which praises big girls ("Love my gut, so f*** a tummy tuck"). Even silly "Toys" is about women satisfying their own sexual needs ("I don't need no help in pleasing me").
Is it any good?
Elliot proves she's well-versed in music history, and in league with current hip-hop stars; she makes references to Prince and LL Cool J and does a super sexy take on the Salt "N Pepa classic "Push It" -- plus listeners are treated to appearances from everyone from Nelly, Mary J. Blige, and Jay-Z. Ultimately, this is a mature album in lots of ways: adult in language and in themes. Best of all, though, it's still fun.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how women are typically portrayed in music, including how they represent themselves; you may also want to talk about how Elliot's own sexier appearance fits with our society's expectations of its divas.