Eve

Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryder's First Lady

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The full title of Eve's full-length debut is Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders' First Lady for a reason. The Philadelphia rapper sets out to prove she's earned her place in the Ruff Ryders crew, matching rhymes, raunch, and rounds with the hardest hardass. Minimal beats laced with synthesized strings and keyboards back traditional hip-hop brag fests like "Let's Talk About." Eve shows up guests Drag-on, DMX, and others with boasts of sexual prowess, withering insults to inadequately endowed brothers, and violent sister-centered anthems like "My Bitches." A few short skits offer snapshots of Eve's beloved hometown. The irresistible party anthem "We on That Shit!," reminiscent of Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage," chronicles a night of clubbing and rounds out the street picture. "Ain't Got No Dough," a fabulous collaboration with Missy Elliott, is a fiery bridge between street-centered raps and the more interesting tracks. Purring and pissed, it's an edgier alternative to TLC's hit "No Scrubs." Eve's conviction and passion make her noticeable no matter what the subject, but she truly stands out when the stories become personal, examining the cost of the hard life she champions in other songs. "Love Is Blind" is a painful look at domestic violence. Self-respect and positivity are the moral of "Heaven Only Knows." Both tracks are backed by beautiful arrangements with acoustic guitar and lush vocals. Eve maintains her hardcore image in these tracks, but with a subtle vulnerability that promise lots of interesting things to come from this Philly prodigy.

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