Lizzo And Missy Elliott Trade Off On The Scorching-Hot 'Tempo' With a nod to Prince and starring two of music's most charismatic women, "Tempo" fully delivers on its dreamed-of collaboration.
NPR logo Lizzo And Missy Elliott Trade Off On The Scorching-Hot 'Tempo'

Lizzo And Missy Elliott Trade Off On The Scorching-Hot 'Tempo'

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Truly, a Lizzo and Missy Elliott collaboration is a real-life fable; a cherished rap icon and a soon-to-be-coronated, years-in-wait talent coming in hot with a track that flows freely with their combined confidence and mic skills.

"Tempo" is that track, a fiery twerk-team anthem full of guitar prowess, a lurching, bass-heavy underbelly, Missy Elliott's trademark tongue rolls and Lizzo coining the word "accessorary." It sounds utterly ripe for a Hype Williams visual.

"Tempo" begins with a power riff that'd make Prince proud, a siren that leads to Lizzo sounding the alarm herself: "I been waitin' for this one," she yells, before launching into a series of blush-worthy come-ons.

If "Juice" was full of day-drunk flirtations, "Tempo" is the scorching late-night message that comes in just before you go home for the night. "He look like he could gain a little weight / Lick the icing off / Put the rest in your face," she sings. Lizzo and Missy trade the mic, talking heat and smack on the dancefloor, an incantation summoning an inclusive, all-are-welcome cool girls' club.

Some might take issue with the suggestion that the song targets skinny people with the line that they only listen to slow songs, or, worse that they lack tempo. But Lizzo disagrees. "EVERYONE IS A THICK B**** WHEN MY SONG COMES ON," she tweeted back to a concerned listener resolutely. Everyone has tempo; all it takes is just a little bit of work to channel it for yourself.