Sunday, August 7, 2011

That Time Katy Perry Tried To Take Missy Elliott Down With Her

by ALEX NAGORSKI

When Jewel released “Intuition” back in 2003, I remember thinking to myself “that’s it. This is the end of pop. Nobody will ever come out with music worse than this.” The joke was of course on me when Katy Perry hit the scene a few years later.

To date, Katy has spawned five #1 singles from her sophomore album, last summer’s “Teenage Dream.” Why? Because America is tone deaf and apparently undergoing a nation-wide labotomy.

Sidenote: The last time an artist had five consecutive #1 singles off of one album was Michael Jackson with his record, “Bad.” The fact that now Katy Perry ties this record makes me wonder: maybe the Rapture is still coming after all?

Truthfully, the lyrics of this song make last Friday night sound pretty terrible. I mean think about how much debt she must be in after it. She maxed her credit card, got her car towed, ripped her dress, will definitely need a few STD tests (she “sings” about sleeping with three different people throughout the song) and probably will need to bail herself out of jail if any cops follow through with that looming arrest warrant.

So what’s Katy’s brilliant solution? “Do it all again.” Oh. Okay. Glad you have the ability to learn from your actions. You’re not an addict or anything.

"My husband, who's been clean and sober for almost nine years, you know, I -- I see him working a program and working on himself every single day,” Katy recently said to ABC News. “And I see how much work it takes to be clean and sober when you have, you know, addiction on your hands.”

Being the supportive and understanding wife that she is, Katy is doing everything in her power to make as much money as possible off of her song promoting binge-drinking. Therefore, the official remix of this moving and inspirational piece of art has just hit iTunes. And speaking of 2003, it features Missy Elliott.

I’ve been a Missy Elliott fan since the glory days of popping my booty on the middle school dancefloor to “One Minute Man” and “Gossip Folks” (I had a lot of friends back then). News of her alleged comeback genuinely excited me.

But when I heard that Missy would be returning to the scene via an appearance on a remix to a Katy Perry song, it became clear to me that her management team has still not learned how to say “no” (like, c’mon – did ANYONE really think that “Car Wash” would do well?).


The same way that Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jaggar” did not know how to properly feature Christina Aguilera, the remix for “Last Friday Night” does not nearly utilize Missy enough. She only appears briefly to spit some opening rhymes and returns for a hot second on the song’s bridge. But maybe that’s actually a blessing in disguise considering production auto-tuned her to death until all that was left was a Ke$ha-esque robot in the shell of where a hip hop icon once stood.

It’s almost as though throwing Missy Elliott onto this song is a cruel joke. Why tarnish her reputation like that? It’s not like Da Brat was too busy to put down the box of Entemann’s and knock out a verse in the studio.

Lyrically, the song’s content feels very juvenile for Missy to be attaching herself to. Its thesis is basically that if you’re famous, it’s okay to break the law because you won’t actually get into trouble and why bother wasting your brain cells on memories when there’s the internet to remind you how much fun you had?

"It's a Friday night now here we go/ I ain't no stripper but I work the pole/ Bartender can you pour some more/ And I'm so tipsy coming out the club,” Missy raps as the song begins, adding her own blacked out antics to Katy’s. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem like a 40-year-old musician’s choice subject matter.

There is a serious lack of mainstream female hip hop artists right now. Sure Nicki Minaj is guest-featured doing her Sybil impressions on every other person’s songs and Lil’ Kim is releasing mix tapes from prison, but there hasn’t been a woman to really resonate culturally at large in that genre since Missy went on hiatus. The door was literally wide open for her to come back and dominate again.

The fact that Missy is belittling herself to overly auto-tuned rent-a-rapper status is insulting to her legacy. This is after all, the same woman who brought us generational classics like “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It” and “Lose Control.” Why risk throwing that away just to make some extra coin for chanting “T.G.I.F.” over and over again?

When Mariah Carey discovered hip hop, it was all downhill from there. I believe that it is our civic duty to make sure Missy Elliott’s newfound fascination for contemporary club-pop doesn’t lead her down this same path of self-destruction. Therefore, I believe we would all benefit from thinking of the “Last Friday Night” remix as a cry for help and call to arms. Kill the beast!