Pop culture abhors a vacuum, and in the 10 long years since Missy Elliott’s last album, The Cookbook, there’s been no shortage of female rappers—Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Azealia Banks—trying to snatch the crown from hip-hop’s erstwhile queen. Aside from a string of under-performing singles from 2008, and a cameo appearance in Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime performance last year, Elliott has been largely absent from the public eye, reportedly battling Graves’ disease. But the rapper has begun setting the stage for a comeback in recent months, appearing on Janet Jackson’s new album, Unbreakable, teasing her new single, “WTF (Where They From),” during Monday Night Football in October, and premiering the Pharrell-assisted song and music video in full this morning. “WTF” pairs Pharrell’s paint-can beats with deep, sinuous 808s, and if the track lacks an obvious hook, it makes up for it with sheer swagger. Of course, Missy doesn’t miss a beat, spitting rhymes like it’s 2005. Directed by Elliott and longtime collaborator Dave Meyers, the video is initially less “out there” than much of the pair’s past work together, but there’s plenty of eye candy, from the MC’s mirrorball tracksuit and matching lipstick, to twerking and street-dancing marionettes. Watch the clip below:
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