Make It Hot

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The debut album from Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott disciple Nicole is virtually a textbook primer on Elliott's stylistic touch and influence on end-of-the-millennium hip-hop (she raps on, writes songs for, produces, and executive produces Make It Hot -- and it's on her custom label). Along with pal Timbaland, Elliott transforms young Nicole's somewhat standard bow into a stuttering slab of post-rap R&B that's as sleekly modern as it is customarily cold. Little of Nicole actually peeks through on Make It Hot, however, essentially making the album, and Nicole herself, an Elliott pet project. Some of it does work -- the title tune featuring Elliott and Mocha is slippery sexy, as is the solid "I Can't See" -- but too often the artist herself gets buried beneath the overwhelming splendor of her ubiquitous mentor.

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