Album Review | HIP-HOP

Eve, ‘Lip Lock’

Eve’s first record in 11 years ­— a lifetime in the pop world — is a fierce step to reclaim her place in hip-hop and school those who think Nicki Minaj invented style, swag, and tricky rhymes. A number of tracks, including “Grind or Die” and the self-affirming “Eve,” with reggae’s Miss Kitty, evoke her Ruff Ryder attitude and showcase much improved skills. On “Mama in the Kitchen,” “the lioness killing competition” raps “You might be in the building / but I built this [expletive] / you just a visitor.” Not every track finds her putting peers in their places, so she reflects on her personal legacy with “Never Gone” (Chrisette Michele adds a terrific vocal) and plays the sexual goddess on the Neptunes-produced “All Night.” The crossover “Make It Out This Town” is too obvious a stab at pop psychology and chart topping but that’s a rare misfire. The set is filled with quotable lines and tough but inviting beats. The truth is Eve didn’t sound this fine before her recording hiatus. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Grind or Die”

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