Missy Elliott – Get Ur Freak On

5th February 2024 · 2000s, 2001, Hip-Hop, Music

This song came out when my kids were at primary school and we used to sing it every day as they were about to leave the house, with one minor lyrical change – “Get your fleece on.”

I say “we” but it was just me and yes, it’s a bit of a dad joke. But it’s a good one; at least I think so. I’ll have to ask the children – “children” – if they remember.

Anyway, it was Missy’s first big hit after dropping the ‘Misdemeanour’ from her name back in 2001, and it’s a classic and characteristic Timbaland production, with its bhangra-meets-jungle six-note Punjabi melody and ’50s sci-fi B-movie synths.

The whole thing has a deliberately tinny sound with no drums and the bassline played on an Indian tabla and there are some weird samples, like the Japanese guy speaking at the start, as well as guest appearances in the video by a host of rappers – Ludacris, LL Cool J, Timbaland, Ja Rule, Busta Rhymes, Master P, Spliff Star, Lil’ Romeo, Eve, Nate Dogg.

What makes it, as ever with Timbaland, is the space in the production and the clever vocal touches, from the percussive ch-ch-ch, to those inimitable… pauses… and the funny voices that fill the gap: “Helloooo!”

It’s had all kinds of remixes too, from one with Nelly Furtado to another blending it with a Black Keys song. But the original, as so often, is the best.

Eighty million YouTube viewers can’t be wrong.