Don’t count Missy Elliott out. She may have been absent lately, but it’s the top of the ninth and she’s coming back. In this 85-second snippet from “Ninth Inning,” the female rapper declares, over an ominous horn droning that gives way to a bright, classical-sounding  piano melody, “Now i’m in the ninth inning/thought I fell off/I ain’t finished.”

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In the track, which came out Monday night, she also warns that in 2012, “there will be no games, real rap, real wars, I’m not playing.” This may have more substance if we couldn’t see the vast majority of 2012 already in our rear view window.

Timbaland comes in to remind us that Elliott is a groundbreaker and innovator, which she undeniably is. However, this track, as strong as it may be  only hints at her greatness so we're eager to see how the completed track sounds.

The full version of “Ninth Inning,” as well as a second track, “Triple Threat,” are expected to drop within coming weeks as previews of her seventh studio album, “Block Party.” Timbaland tweeted two weeks ago that the tracks were originally coming over Labor Day, but they were clearly delayed (although Elliott performed snippets of both when she joined Timbaland on stage on Sept. 1). "Block Party," which also features Busta Rhymes, M.I.A., and Demi Lovato, will be Elliott's first new album since 2005's "The Cookbook."