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Eve, ‘Lip Lock’ – Album Review

Eve Lip Lock
Amarpail Kaliari

It may seem that Eve has been out of the hip-hop game since the release of songs like ‘Tambourine’ and ‘Give It to You’ featuring Sean Paul, in 2007. However, the former lady Ruff Ryder has been trying to get her new material off the ground for the past few years. After running into issues with Interscope and then later EMI, she decided to do what every other artist does when they want things done their way — start their own label.

Now with From the Rib Records, Eve is finally releasing her fourth studio album, ‘Lip Lock,’ on May 14. Since her last album, ‘Eve-Olution,’ was released in 2002, it’s obvious that Eve has gone through a transformation or two. Gone are the red buzzed hair, streetwear and rock hard exterior. Now we see Eve as the couture, red-carpet ready artist who’s still not afraid to take an edgy risk. (Remember her outfit at the Met Gala last week?)

However, fashion isn’t the only thing that has evolved in Eve’s life. Since working with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Kelly Rowland and Alicia Keys, her sound on ‘Lip Lock’ has evolved from hard, straight-up hip-hop to something that can begin to cross genres — a direction that we see with so many artists. On this album in particular, we see a number of collaborations including ones with Snoop Dogg, Chrisette Michele and Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship.

But don’t think that she’s lost her rap credibility. Working with Jukebox and longtime collaborator Swizz Beatz, she makes sure that her rhymes are tight and proves she can spit on any beat thrown at her. She is a musical force to be reckoned with.

1. ‘EVE’ feat. Miss Kitty
Starting off the album strong, Eve sets the tone with this heavy track. Not only does she give props to her fans who’ve been by her side, she also tells anyone who doesn’t get her to step off. And to name a song after yourself takes some kind of confidence, which she obviously has. “Ain’t no guessin’ it’s E-V-E / I’m the chick that they wished they’d be / Know by now to not f– with me / Stay on top, no touchin’ me,” she delivers. [Watch Video]

2. ‘She Bad Bad’
The hook, “Oh she bad bad,” will lure you into the track while her signature rapid-fire rapping will keep you on it. There’s something about this Jukebox-produced track that will make you want play it over and over. [Watch Video]

3. ‘Make It Out This Town’ feat. Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship
Radio-friendly on all fronts. Not just because she gets on the mic with Saporta on this one, but the empowering message will resonate with all people. [Watch Video]

4. ‘All Night’ feat. Propain
Similar to the staccato beats in ‘Tambourine,’ Eve reveals some tips on how a man should kick it to her. And from the high level of energy on the beats, it will probably happen at a club or party. “So listen to me I’m not a regular girl / Gotta be special to see my world / What you do to get me grills / To get with E-V-E you gotta have skills,” she spits. As the track progresses, Houston rapper Propain is the man Eve seems to be chatting with. He delivers his own sense of confidence. “I swear the first time I hit it / You went and get addicted,” he spits.

5. ‘Keep Me From You’ feat. Dawn Richard
Another party song that takes some of the beats we’re used to hearing in the clubs. From the electro tracks to hints of the Major Lazer-esque sounds, this is a clear example of Eve’s music experimentation. While Dawn Richard sounds great on it, Eve is holding it down, but old school fans should skip it.

6. ‘Wanna Be’ feat. Missy Elliott and Nacho
Eve, with the help of Nacho and Missy Elliott, swallow you then spit you out with this heavy track. Each of the rappers spit so fast, but it makes sense since the song talks about how great they are on the mic. “Hey, hey I don’t care what bitches say / None of ya’ll can f— with me / I’m the bitch you wanna be,” Eve delivers on the chorus. It’s no surprise the Philly rapper is throwing yet another “I’m amazing and if you don’t think so, then f— off” kind of song. The album as a whole is showing the world who Eve is now no matter who likes it or not, and this is a clear example of that idea.

7. ‘Mama in the Kitchen’ feat. Snoop Dogg
If there’s a song where Eve throws down harder than any, it’s this one. With Snoop Dogg provides the hook, the lyrics showcase how she’s the one who’s carved out the rap game for rappers now and essentially no one can touch her. “I know you like it, like it I’m it / You might be in the building but I built this s— / You’re just a visitor / I picked it out, brick by brick / Call me the architect of you future and that’s sick,” she raps.

8. ‘Grind or Die’
Considering this is an Eve album, the first thing that comes to mind with the title is ‘Ryde or Die, Bitch,’ her collaboration with the LOX and Timbaland. However, it sounds nothing like it. It’s electrified dancehall rhythm will make you want to grab someone to grind with.

9. ‘Zero Below’
With its ‘Tron’-like beat, Eve continues her fighting spirit on the mic and sends a message out to any haters. She explains that despite the fact that she’s got the money, it doesn’t mean she’s lost her edge or her hospitality. But Eve says that they’re just jealous. “They said I turned cold / when I made my millions / I know your mad / My success really hurt your feelings / No sugarcoating anything around here,” she raps.

10. ‘Forgive Me’
A playful reggae tune where Eve shows off how fly she is and that the man she’s got never wants to leave her side. “I’m too sexy in the morning time / Knowin’ that he gotta go / But he want to stay at mine,” she sings on the hook.

11. ‘Never Gone’ feat. Chrisette Michele
Similar to ‘Make It Out This Town,’ this track delves into how hard life can be and how we just need to keep going to achieve our dreams. Michele is strong on the chorus and adds more of an anthemic quality to this track compared to Eve’s work with Saporta.

12. ‘She Bad Bad (Remix)’ feat. Pusha T & Juicy J
When it seemed like the original version was good, getting Pusha T and Juicy J on this song makes it even better. Like Propain did in ‘All Night,’ Pusha T and Juicy J both converse with Eve by showing the male perspective. “Hot as a backdraft / They know he on fire / Any n—- tonight / You call his mother a liar / Only hit him with spire / If she like it, I buy it,” Pusha T spits. Meanwhile Juicy J delivers his point of view on the third verse saying, “You say that’s your wife, not tonight n—- / I’m goin’ to spend and stick this pipe to her / When she leaves, she say my name / Juicy J, he did his thing.” Clearly there’s there a battle for Eve on the track, which makes it much more interesting.

Watch Eve’s ‘Eve’ Video Feat. Miss Kitty

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