We’ve been waiting for Missy Elliott‘s new album for so long that her Block Party has become hip-hop’s Chinese Democracy. While Guns ‘N Roses’ infamously delayed follow-up to 1993′s The Spaghetti Incident? took 15 years to arrive, it’s been seven years since Elliott’s last studio set, 2005′s The Cookbook.
Block Party was first scheduled for release in 2008 — incidentally the same year that Chinese Democracy hit shelves at Best Buy — but the album has been subjected to numerous delays. Still, Elliott hasn’t been musically silent all this time, writing and producing for other artists (including two of Monica’s albums) and guesting on others’ singles, including Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ posthumous “Let’s Just Do It,” and Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” contributing a front-loaded rap that helped Perry land her fifth #1 single from Teenage Dream.
Buzz about Elliott’s own tracks grew in recent weeks, with reports that two new songs would be released over Labor Day Weekend. To the surprise of no one, nothing new came over those three days. But yesterday, Elliott and longtime partner-in-crime Timbaland logged onto the Interweb to debut “9th Inning” and “Triple Threat” via Ustream. Today, both tracks were made available for digital download.
“We basically coming to switch music again,” Elliott said during the pair’s Ustream chat. “People are wondering what took us so long? We had to refresh our brains, come correct or don’t come at all. We had to give 110 percent and not just 50.”
Listen to “9th Inning” (a boast track in which both Elliott and Timbaland take turns on the mic, namechecking Lady Gaga, Left Eye, and Netflix) and “Triple Threat” below. Dark and menacing, these aren’t party-starters, much less freak-getting-on-ers. Elliott says she’s deciding whether Block Party or Class Dismissed is the best title for her new album — now tipped for a fourth-quarter release — but based on what she and Timbaland have delivered to our ears first, the second seems much more appropriate.