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Vanguard hip-hop artist Missy Elliott has broken new ground once again with the debut of her latest music video in glorious 3-D. Ironically, in taking this step into uncharted territory, the artistic innovation we have come to expect from Elliott actually suffered.
The video, directed by Dave Meyers, features “Ching-A-Ling” and “Shake Your Pom Pom” off the “Step Up 2 The Streets” soundtrack. To make the video, Elliott and Meyers teamed up with Walt Disney Studios, the same people behind the 3-D work in Hannah Montana’s Best of Both Worlds Tour. Now that’s gangsta.
Regardless of the eye-popping action, the video does uphold certain tropes of Elliott’s videography, such as song-to-video literalism, b-boying, and randomness like Missy whooping on an obese man in Dance Dance Revolution.
What we don’t find in the video is the vibrant aesthetic stimulation that has become a staple for Missy Elliott. In becoming three-dimensional, the video is actually less innovative, with a simple white background setting off most of the first half and a glorified Sean Paul style in the second half. In fact, Elliott’s past videos—with the extending necks of “Get Ur Freak On” and camera curvature of “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”—were better attempts at 3-D than the lackluster gestures rampant throughout.
The video’s true success is not the added dimension but the choreography. Borrowing from Bollywood and American dance styles of the ’20s and ’50s, the moves extend beyond the oft-impressive but expected break dancing in Elliott’s videos to a unique style that the average, rhythmically-capable person can imitate. With the “Soulja Boy” rapidly approaching obsolescence, the advent of a new dance that’s actually pleasing to watch as well as perform is innovation at its best.
So peep the video, with or without 3-D shades. Not because it’s visually amazing, but because if you don’t, you’ll be the only loser at the party that doesn’t know the hot new dance.
—Jessica O. Matthews
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