Defiant, tenacious and fly to boot, Eve is a Philly-based rapper who burst onto the scene two years ago as the swaggering fem voice in the Ruff Ryders clan, playing the straight-up tough-girl to DMX”s spazzed-out pimp. Judging by her second record, her mettle has only grown tougher, and she busts through Scorpion”s 16 tracks with all the confidence of a young star who”s got everything she needs to make a great record. And that”s true, in a sense Dr. Dre drops beats, heavy-hitters like DMX and Da Brat turn in cameos, Ruff Ryders contribute hooks, and a whole slew of friends come along for the ride, giving props to the mistress of ceremonies where needed.

Paul Wong
Kyle Chandler and Joan Cusack are too cute for TV in ABC”s “”About Joan.”” Awwwww.<br><br>Courtesy of ABC

What she”s missing is the ability to keep all of the stalwart energy from congealing into a mass of cliches. There”s nothing wrong with thuggery and sass in theory, and Eve does well to prove that she”s sexy, that she doesn”t take shit from anyone and that everyone she knows thinks she”s tops. But after the 12th time she disses her ex or tells you how fortunate you are to be listening to her none-too-dexterous rhymes, it becomes apparent that a big part of what keeps Scorpion from recoiling is the strength of those groove-meisters including Teflon and Swizz Beatz as well as Dre she hired.

Lucky for Eve, those grooves indeed go a long way, as bouncy G-funk rhythms and buoyant synths bump up against sing-song hooks and blinged-out conceits. Tough though she no doubt is, Eve”s thug persona is too overblown for her own good and her hooks too gimmicky, but on Scorpion she keeps up the inyaface intensity for a full hour, and for that she deserves to be heard.

Grade: B

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