You know she’s hardcore

Missy Elliott’s new album innovates and incapacitates.

Keri Carlson

The rhythm of two twirled jump ropes hitting the pavement while a muffled bass booms from a passing car make up beat-mastermind Timbaland’s latest so-far-ahead-of-the-curve jam.

The crowd yells “Hootie Hoo!” and a crazed-eyed Missy Elliott clenching a butcher’s knife announces, “I can write a song sicker than Jeffrey Dahm” and then entices in a mad scientist yelp, “Come on pass the dutch baby Ö shake shake shake your stuff!”

On her latest album, “This is Not a Test,” Elliott immediately reclaims her rightful place on the hip-hop throne. “Pass That Dutch” proves she is indeed the queen and she’s ready to take charge.

As her first order of duty, Elliott gives fake emcees a good slap in the head and warns hip-hop it better “Wake Up!” After a chorus of “If you ain’t got a cellular phone / It’s alright / If you gotta wear them jeans again / It’s alright.” Jay-Z steps in and cries out in frustration, “I can hear myself but I can’t feel myself.”

Jay-Z definitely makes the most spectacular guest appearance on the album, though none of the guests wear out their welcome. Too often hip-hop artists overload their albums with other rappers, making them seem weak and unable to carry a track alone. Elliott, however, is always in charge. And just in case you might have thought otherwise, “Toyz” proves it without a doubt. With a heavy bass disco vibe that would make the Basement Jaxx proud, Elliott describes her need for AA batteries as greater than her need for a man. “Let Me Fix My Weave” is a sassy club number where Elliott flips through a series of men and asserts herself as a sexual dominatrix. Now that “Sex and the City” approaches its final episodes, “This is Not a Test” could be just the remedy for single women in need of a new heroine who reflects the same independent spirit and sexual prowess as the series’ Samantha.

The only weak track on the album is when Elliott abandons her hard exterior in favor of a mushy love ballad, “It’s Real.” Elliott has a decent voice that can do more than just rap but the trite lyrics only make stomachs queasy. On other tracks when typical lines appeared she decorated them with amusing vocal effects like sirens.

For the most part, though, Elliott remains strong and commanding and best of all edgy. She always pushes hip-hop to the next level. It makes her by far one of the most interesting and important figures in music to be embraced by Rolling Stone and MTV. Long live the queen!