Keyshia Cole feat. Missy Elliott & Lil Kim — “Let It Go”

Released: 6.19.07

Peak: #7

In its quiet way, “Let It Go” is among Missy’s most confident creations. Few producers would have risked sampling “Juicy Fruit” a decade after “Juicy” claimed those distinctive synth waves and skittering beat for all time, and fewer still would have pulled it off. Rather than banking on a younger generation’s possible ignorance, Missy explicitly cites her source, tackling a B.I.G. impression to predict, “They gon’ mix it with Biggie/ ‘It was all a dream’,” and inviting Lil’ Kim to grunt her own “uh uh uh” introduction.

If the hyperlinking to “Juicy” gives “Let It Go” a distinctive ’90s feel, so, I’m afraid, does the song’s message of female solidarity. When Missy and Keyshia boast, “I don’t want your man,” they aren’t just refusing “other woman” status–they’re warning the woman they address that her man is a dog. In an industry that likes to orchestrate catfights between strong women, Missy stands out as perhaps the most sisterly of female MCs, a spirit manifested in her post-Timbaland willingness to collaborate with other women.

As usual, Cole’s compensates for the insufficiently diva-esque pinch in her upper register with her relatable everydayness. I’m not sure how true to the lyrics she lives her real life — dating rappers and ballers is not the ideal path to true love. But I’m a sucker for this sort of sisterly advice song, and firmly believe there can never be too many songs about dumping emotionally inadequate chumps. Though I admit that Cole, by following this single up with “Shoulda Let You Go,” might have revealed she didn’t have as much to share about this topic as she might think.

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