Release Date: May 14, 2013
Record label: From the Rib Music
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
Go ahead and call it a comeback, since Eve's previous effort was promised, and then shelved, back in 2007, but this quite worthwhile 2013 album is certainly no throwback or return to form. Instead, Lip Lock is thoroughly modern Eve as "Keep Me from You" goes for the David Guetta sound with some club-aimed EDM production from Sander Van Der Waal and DJ Surge, while "Grind or Die" is some effective robotic dubstep ground out by producer Felix Snow. "She Bad Bad" is some post-Major Lazer dancehall madness with a syrup-sipped loop for its love-it-or-hate-it hook, while "Make It Out of This Town" with Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta on the assist is a sincere, empowering pop-rap ballad that works.
Eve’s been out of the album game for a while, and she’s been storing up various forms of fiery energy during her time off. A full-length entitled Here I Am was going to come out in 2007, but a couple singles didn’t do well, and like too many albums, Eve’s got repeatedly delayed by her label (and also renamed). Lip Lock marks her first official long-player since 2002, and she feels that she’s got something to prove, some territory to (re)stake out—she practically explodes in a dizzying series of boasts and warnings.
While it wasn’t an absolute hiatus given Eve’s 2007 attempt at releasing Here I Am, an 11-year gap between albums is nothing to discount considering the ever-changing climate where relevancy arguably plays as big a part as the music itself. Eve was unquestionably a presence in the early aughts, constructing a tenacious yet magnetic identity that came out in her lyrics and performance. With that as a reference point, Lip Lock should be classified as a trial and error project that reaches beyond its means.
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.