Taking Flight

Tweet has been around since Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott first stepped out on the scene.

The two met “back in the day” as aspiring performers. The path on which Missy traveled obviously led to great fame. Tweet wasn’t so lucky. Discouraged by the business and not able to achieve stardom, she ended up back home with her parents in Florida trying to hide the pain.

The only way out of a life of dead ends was suicide. Or so Tweet thought. In “So Much To Say,” Southern Hummingbird’s intro, Tweet says, “My life was in shambles/ So much commotion/ And no place to mend it/ (What to say!)/ A hand full of pills/ And a plan B (So much to say!)/ I wanted nothing to do with life.”

Had not Missy called with an invitation to sing background vocals on So Addictive, Tweet has said she would have gone through with her plan.

That one call changed everything for the Rochester, New York native.

And Southern Hummingbird seems to be her way of saying all those things that she wanted to, but never had the audience.The album has been described as the “diary of the young vocalist’s torrid life.” And like any diary, this one needs undivided attention to understand its messages.

“Oops (Oh My),” featuring Missy and produced by Timbaland, has gotten quite a few parties started as the first single released from Tweet’s debut album.

As the middle track on the album, No. 7 of 16, there’s definitely more to the story that led to “Ooops there goes my shirt up over my head Oh my/ Ooops there goes my skirt dropping to my feet Oh my.”

Take Track 6, “Boogie 2Nite,” which tells what might have happened before Tweet ended up at home “around a quarter to three, still so high, hypnotized.” It’s one of those songs you put on while you’re ironing whatever it is you plan to wear before heading out to the club. “Let me wet my throat, get 2 or 3/ Then it’s off to the dance floor/ Follow me/ Stand if you want to, stare if you want to/ But I gotta party, I’m up to the party.”

Don’t be deceived by the party joints on Southern Hummingbird. This album is mostly laid back. The early songs have a hint of Angie Stone flare and the poetic harmony of Jill Scott, while those featuring the acoustic guitar, such as “Motel,” have an India.Arie style. And possibly destined to be another song played as the bride and groom enjoy their first slow dance together is “Beautiful.” The four-minute song chronicles what it’s like to discover true love.

The album has been deemed by BET.com as “actually more confessional soul than Black pop.”

The hidden treasure on Southern Hummingbird, for Missy Elliott fans anyway, is “Big Spender” (Track 17), Missy’s newest song. Trust it, Missy continues raising the bar every time she comes out with something new. “Big Spender” pushes the competition even farther back.

This album isn’t for the fast-tempo music lover. The only songs with booty-shaking beats may just be “Boogie 2Nite” and “Oops (Oh My).” But if you have time to kick back and slow things down a bit, this album can help you do just that. Afterall, hummingbirds have delicate sounds. And this Tweet is no different.

Contact Kevin Grahamat oracleeditor@yahoo.com