Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Missy Elliott: This Is Not a Test! [Elektra, 2003]
"I've got the Martin Luther King fever," she declares injudiciously, only soon she's burning up, delivering the old-school album she claimed last time. Beats-first like Run-D.M.C. if Jam Master Jay had been hooked up like Timbaland, it's clinched by Elliott's innocent belief in her mission, which boils down to world conquest. For hooks she calls in more platinum guests than the entire genre supported in 1990 and cites aphorisms that embody history if you know your Salt-N-Pepa and embody fresh if you don't. Like MLK, she preaches--against crack dealers and all their unholy bling-bling. And when she reaches out to her people, she grabs the sisters first. A