Monica feat. Missy Elliott – “So Gone”

Released: 4.8.03

Peak: #10

Monica raps! Not quite “Garbo laughs,” granted, but nonetheless a clever stylistic knuckleball from an R&B worthy whose repertoire was in desperate need of a new pitch. Brandy’s nemesis had weathered a fallow decade thus far, as Rodney Jerkins and Jermaine Dupri, who had served her well on earlier hits, faltered in an effort to toughen up her image. Jerkins’ “All Eyez on Me” was a pro forma jacking of “P.Y.T.” and Dupri’s “Too Hood” was more so-so than def.

Sensing career crisis, as is his wont, Clive Davis commissioned production work from Missy, who, with Spike & Jamahl in tow, once more proved herself so clearly the greatest of the Timbaland imitators that it’s questionable whether she’s an imitator after all. The ear-tugger is the orchestration (sampled from the Whispers’ “You Are Number One”) that sneaks up on tiptoes, then slides backwards, lending the tune a cagey, seductive mood. The vocal treatments are also ace, from Monica’s a capella intro to the choruses, where she’s layered into pillows of Lauryn Hill-type harmonies.

Even more than her production ideas, Missy contributes her sass and sensibility. What could have been a lovelorn song of moony obsession blossoms into a genuine boast. Slowly, Monica reveals herself as vengeful stalker, eventually breaking into a simple rap  where she threatens to “kick down your door and smack your chick.” “Just to show you Monica ain’t havin’ it,” she adds. Straight gangsta, as they say.

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  • Matos W.K.  On May 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    How can Missy be a Timbaland imitator? She co-created the sound with him.

  • usefulnoise  On May 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    That was kind of the point I was going for there, if maybe phrased a little muddily.

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