Get Ur Freak On: The 21st Century’s Most Iconic Dance Anthem
“It’s hypnotic, balls, unbelievable… The crowd is… standing, screaming and stomping their approval.” – (VIBE magazine reports TV audience reaction to Missy Elliott’s Get Ur Freak On, June 2001)
Twenty years ago, Virginia-born rapper, singer-songwriter and producer Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott released what would prove to be one of modern music’s most iconic hymns: Get Ur Freak On. It wasn’t a start – Elliott had already made a daring impact with hits on two albums: Supa Dupa Fly (1997) and Da Real World (1999), as well as writing songs for R&B stars such as Aaliyah and SWV with her for a long time. friend, producer and collaborator, Timbaland – but it was a game changer. From its opening notes, the piece was incredibly irrepressible: the six-note melody played on a Punjabi one-string tumbi; the impulsive percussion of tabla; Elliott’s brisk south stream (“I know you dig like I sw-sw-change my style”). In 2001, it was an exciting shock to the system; countless plays, remixes (and multi-genre covers) later, Get Ur Freak On still sounds utterly electrifying.
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Changing things had definitely been Elliott’s intention. By then, in her late twenties, she was already a savvy businesswoman, had founded her own subsidiary (The Goldmind) of the big label Elektra, and was aware of the industry pressure surrounding her next move. . There was also the feeling that while Timbaland’s distinctive productions are proving to be largely influential, they were not yet receiving their due. In the VIBE feature above (written by Marc Weingarten), Elliott explained that, “I wanted to do what everyone is afraid to do.” She and Timbaland had actually created Get Ur Freak On as an impromptu late addition to what would be her third album Miss E… So Addictive; But first, she intended to let the track “marinate in the clubs for a while, rock the streets”. This hum would turn into a cross storm; Get Ur Freak We channeled some serious hip-hop stash, flavors of the world, and an instant, global pop appeal, as Elliott insisted, “It can be dancing, the bedroom, whatever. You clean your house. ? Get your monster at! “