Album of the week
Lauryn Hill has gone acoustic, Lil' Kim has become a costumed caricature, and Missy Elliott is caught up in her own spacey brand of trip-hop. But Eve is still keeping it real for the ladies in hip hop. On her excellent third album she renews the street cred she earned as the only female rapper in the hardcore Ruff Ryders posse (DMX, the LOX et al), while continuing the artistic development that won her a Grammy this year for "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," her crossover collaboration with No Doubt's Gwen Stefani. Eve once again shows a knack for picking female duet partners on "Gangsta Lovin'," this disc's bumping first single, which features Alicia Keys singing the hook borrowed from Yarbrough & Peoples' 1981 R&B hit "Don't Stop the Music."
Eve also successfully teams up with Truth Hurts on "What," which boasts a sinister G-funk groove produced by Dr. Dre. When she goes it alone, though, Eve is equally effective—whether the former stripper is giving an empowered-woman spin on Prince's "Irresistible Bitch" or encouraging kids to stay on the right path on "As I Grow," a poignant plea that shows how much she has matured.
Bottom Line: It'll blow ya mind