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Missy Misdemeanor Elliott - Hits Of Miss E ...The Videos
Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 25 mins . PG . NTSC

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As most people who follow the highs and lows of popular music know all too well, the hip hop and R&B genres are at an all time high in the popularity stakes, especially in the USA. But to the “outsider” the music that’s been coming out of those two genres over the past few years has been getting increasingly tedious and derivative - very few artists (at least those on major labels) seem willing to try anything new, preferring to distil their favourite elements of others’ records into their own concoction. The result often seems like an interminable queue of carbon-copied marketing fodder that’s about as challenging or exciting as having porridge for breakfast every day for five years. But there are, of course, exceptions.

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott has divided her time as an artist between songwriting and record production as well as performance; in demand for many years as one of new music’s most innovative and exciting producers, she became a star in her own right with her 1997 debut album Supa Dupa Fly. That record and the two that have followed it to date have shown off Elliott’s unique, exciting arrangement and production style to perfection - but have also shown her to be a hugely inventive, fascinating artist.

This short compilation of Missy’s music videos provides a handy and quick overview of four of the singles from her first three albums, along with around ten minutes of record company-produced, EPK-style behind-the-scenes footage from the making of two of the clips. Along with the wonderfully out-there Get Ur Freak On (currently also doing the rounds in a reworked version on the Tomb Raider soundtrack) there’s The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly), which makes extensive use of the lyrics and melody from the much-covered I Can’t Stand The Rain, which was a huge hit for disco outfit Eruption back in the ‘70s; She’s A Bitch, which has had its title mysteriously censored on the back cover of this DVD; and finally Hit ‘Em With Da Hee.

All four clips are terrific - like the songs themselves, they’re superb examples of modern creativity, the futuristic imagery that Elliott is fond of giving the clip directors a chance to do some really unconventional things both visually and in terms of editing. Anyone disillusioned with the tedium of dull music videos will feel revitalised after watching these clips.

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For some unexplained reason, this disc is presented in NTSC, though it’s region-coded for all except region 1 (and indeed, the disc’s volume label tags it as a “UK” version). While this could cause some big problems for those without NTSC playback equipment, this reviewer is delighted to see the disc in this format. Because all the material here, while shot on film, was post-produced and edited on NTSC video; what we get on this disc are the clips the way they were intended to be seen, with none of the loss of visual quality that comes from NTSC-to-PAL conversion.

And the visual quality here is first-rate - all four clips look wonderfully vibrant, clear and artefact-free, easily surpassing broadcast quality. The behind-the-scenes material is of slightly lesser quality, but still perfectly acceptable. All material on this disc is presented in its original 4:3 full frame format.

Audio-wise, there’s a choice between the original stereo mixes and new Dolby Digital 5.1 remixes; this reviewer’s strong preference is for the stereo versions, simply because that’s the way these songs were intended to be heard at the time they were recorded. The 5.1 mixes are good, though, making use of the surround stage without resorting to tacky gimmickry. Sound quality is excellent, though the stereo track (a Dolby Digital 2.0 stream) is mastered at a lower level than we’d like to see.

A well-produced DVD with excellent, exciting content throughout, Hits Of Miss E will appeal not only to Missy Elliott’s legion of fans, but also to anyone who likes to hear and see boundaries being pushed in modern commercial music.


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  •   And I quote...
    "All four clips are terrific... superb examples of modern creativity. "
    - Anthony Horan
      Review Equipment
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          Sony DVP-NS300
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    • Speakers:
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