Track of the Day: 'WTF'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Spencer rejoices over the latest release from the inimitable Missy Elliott, her first new single in three years (her last album came out in 2005):

The lyrics aren’t quite as meaningless as the title would first suggest—the WTF here is not what the fuck, but “Where they from?” She’s rapping about dancing as sex as performance as rap, of course, as always. My favorite line on first spin: “Body be thick like a bisque.” The big question, for each listener, is how do they do it where you’re from?

Jamieson Cox catches us up on Missy’s whereabouts:

At her creative zenith, Missy made some of the funniest, most visually absorbing videos in the medium’s history — my favorite is probably “Work It,” [CB note: Here’s a collection of ten]. She’s returned to musical prominence in 2015 after almost a decade underground, time she spent struggling with Graves' disease and recording sporadic features and buzz singles. She stole the Super Bowl halftime show from ostensible headliner Katy Perry with a set that included “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” and “Lose Control,” and she appeared on another artist’s comeback effort when she guested on Janet Jackson’s single “BURNITUP!” in September.

Jon Blistein adds:

A snippet of “WTF” has been floating around since late October, when ESPN started using it in commercials and other facets of its NBA coverage. In the weeks since, the rapper has regularly teased the track with emoji-laden missives on her twitter, and on Wednesday, she posted a still from the video on her new Instagram.