I’m an idiot. A big fucking idiot. Missy Elliot‘s 2005 hit “Lose Control” is a timeless masterpiece. That much is self-evident. What wasn’t self evident, to me at least, was the fact that Missy didn’t say the word “fetus” in the chorus.
First, some background.
I was young in 2005 when the song was released. I probably first heard it on Rage on the ABC before the cartoons started at 7 AM.
In “Lose Control”, Missy speaks quickly and uses words above the comprehension of a 7 year old. In fact, most artists do. I can’t even begin to list all those childhood bangers whose lyrics have become a garbled mess in my young but feeble memory. And I accepted that fact at the time.
That’s why I didn’t raise an eyebrow (it’s now a monobrow btw) when I thought the chorus of the song went as such:
Get it outta control
Get yo backs off the wall
‘Cuz your fetus said so
Real Missy stans will note that Ciara actually sung those first three lines, but the fourth line – the one in which I thought Missy was ascribing both speech and agency to my future unborn child – is sung by the one and only.
Who could blame me? It’s not the first time her lyrics have caught listeners off guard, like in “Work It” where she literally put her own voice in reverse to the astonishment of fans many, many years later.
Anyway, back to “Lose Control”. Some might say fetuses have no place in rap at all, but Missy is known for pushing boundaries and being on the cutting edge. For my younger self, it was totally possible that namedropping fetuses was the way of the future. A future which apparently did not eventuate.
I even remember singing it to myself in public one time when a slightly older friend looked at me and laughed. She told me Missy was actually saying: “‘Cuz your feet said so.”
Her interpretation did make more sense, but it turned out to be no more accurate than my own. Look who’s laughing now.
There were no smartphones to Google the lyrics on at that time, and only a few lyric websites in the first place, as far as I can remember. Looking up the lyrics meant remembering this trivial disagreement after I had already come home, and then logging on to our ancient computer.
Children’s brains aren’t made to work like this.
So I quickly forgot about this hidden lyrical anxiety, but not about the song itself.
A whole 15 years later, it’s still the certified banger it was when it when it first came out.
Three big-name artists collabing on a track is fairly common nowadays, but rarely do they compliment each other as well as Missy, Ciara and Fatman Scoop do in “Lose Control”.
It just slaps.
And that’s why I decided to whack on the track on this blessed day, when I realised that perhaps, it isn’t my “fetus” which Missy supposedly refers to in the chorus.
Already sitting at a computer, I jumped on Genius to look up the lyrics, and there, to my amazement, was the confirmation that I had be so very, very wrong for the past 15 years of my life.
Missy did not – does not – say “‘Cuz your fetus said so.” The chorus actually goes:
Get it outta control
Get yo backs off tha wall
‘Cuz Misdemeanor said so
Misdemeanour. Misdemeanour. Her *other* rap name. Of fucking course!!!
It makes so much sense that Ciara would sing the chorus, only for
Missy Elliott Misdemeanour to jump in and say her own name.
This epiphany makes me feel like a real dingus. At least it’s a relief to know that Missy isn’t singing about my hypothetical future unborn child.
I will happily follow the instructions of multi award-winning rapper, songwriter, dancer, actor and philanthropist Misdemeanour any day. Not so, a fetus.