Big ‘Scorpion,’ Little Sting

Meredith Kammerer

Eve rode in with the Ruff Riders crew (famous for rap heavyweight DMX’s edgy and angry lyrics) as a girl who wanted to play with the boys. “Eve:

Ruff Riders First Lady” proved that not only could she ride with them, but her raps were far superior.

They were dirty, but sassy and girly at the same time.

“Got A Man,” the first single on “First Lady” had a hook to it. It blended old school mixing with a “Stand By Your Man” theme for the ghetto girls. Following up “First Lady” with “Scorpion,” Eve has continued her tough girl raps, but the songs don’t carry the stinging barb the title suggests.

Just about every rap chick who is known for mingling with the boys makes a feature on “Scorpion.” Even Gwen Stafani, lead singer of the alt-rock band No Doubt, who knows a thing or two about being just a girl in a crew of boys, contributes background lyrics to “Let Me Blow Your Mind.” Unfortunately, her efforts are lost in the other tracks on the album.

Eve’s style has earned as much attention as her music since her last album release. The edgy, urban-chic style of the clothes she appears in makes her image unique- one that is just as gritty and unapologetic as her raps.

But “Scorpion” doesn’t fit into the image she has cultivated these last two years. “Gangsta Bitches,” featuring Da Brat and Trina is trivial and cheap. It’s like Eve is walking around in a 99-cent store with Chanel boots on. She has a distinct style and image, but this album is just not of the same high quality that Eve has cultivated for herself since the first album.

The one exception to the blandness of “Scorpion” is a cover of Dawn Penn’s classic “No, No, No.” Not only does she rap over the smooth reggae beats, but Eve’s singing is so unexpected. Her voice is as smooth as the guitar riffs. When she cuts in with her raps, they don’t assault or stick out from the rest of the song. Everything is woven together.

When did the “skit” tracks become necessary on every rap album? It must have started with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog, who throw in dialogue as exposition to their plot-driven CDs. Regardless of who started it, it must stop.

Eve has fallen into the skit pitfall with the dialogue in “Scorpion.” Not only are these interruptions annoying, but they are poorly written and just as poorly acted. Forget about introducing the plot of an album, just rap. It will explain itself (with good lyrics to back it up). Sure, old school jams kicked off with a shout out at the beginning, but this album would flow much more smoothly from track to track without the unnecessary skits.

“Scorpion” can be compared to the multicolored crayons kids play with. They have all the colors in just one tool and when put on paper, certain colors stand out, but there’s always too much yellow.

“Scorpion” had the promise to follow up Eve’s first album with just the same sassiness, but fell into repeating the same old beat. Like so many artists, Eve has fallen into the sophomore slump, producing an album with the potential to soar but that continually fails to meet the standards set by her first album.