Lip Lock doesn’t feature much of the street smarts or sass Eve made her name with. The album feels scattered which makes for a disappointing comeback after more than a decade.

In the 11 years since Eve’s last album, a lot has changed in the hip hop world and the music industry. She was the ‘First Lady’ of the Ruff Ryders crew (DMX, Swizz Beatz, Jadakiss) and one of the first female rappers to have a chart-topping album. And the thing is, Eve still has a lot of interesting things to say, and she’s waited a long time and gone through a lot of label bullshit to do it on her own. But Lip Lock, Eve’s first album in over a decade, feels a bit flat.

‘Eve’ (feat. Miss Kitty) starts things off fairly strongly and ‘Wanna Be’, featuring Missy Elliott and Nacho is the closest to classic Eve that the album gets. ‘Grind or Die’ has a catchy Major Lazer-type beat but feels too short at two minutes.

‘Mama In The Kitchen’ which features Snoop in his Lion guise, is problematic in its title message – beyond that, the verses don’t gel in content or context. Single ‘Make It Out This Town’ features one of the guys from Cobra Starship and seems to be chasing the “success” of cross-genre collaborations between chart-successful dance and hip hop/pop artists with a rap verse tossed in for good measure (see Ludacris feat. Usher and David Guetta).

Eve has said this album was the first one she’d been able to work on herself, compared to the collaborative approach with Ruff Ryders. Unfortunately, it seems those collaborations pushed Eve to unleash some of her toughest verses while still creating fun, danceable hits; something which Lip Lock is largely lacking.

** out of five stars

BY NATALIE AMAT

Lip Lock is out now on From The Rib Music/Sony.

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