• Ruff Ryders/Interscope

The first lady of the Ruff Ryders, the queen of Philadelphia, Eve's take-no-prisoners brand of tough talkin' rap has turned her into such a superstar that now she's crossing over to film roles.

Somewhere between laying down lines for her parts in two movies, XXX and “Barbershop,” Eve still found time to record her third solo album. While still holding on to her hard-hitting approach, she's also willing to smooth out the edges here, most effectively while teaming with hotshot newcomer Alicia Keys on one of the summer's biggest hit singles “Gangsta Lovin'.”

There are other big names on board as well. And though Eve's collaboration with Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg comes across as too self-serving—for that matter, so does the “Stop Hatin'” skit later on—she fares far better while blending hard-edged verses with the hook-filled chorus on “Double R What.” The latter track features Jadakiss and Styles of the Lox. Other standouts include the rhythm-scratchin' “Party in the Rain” and the groove-filled road song “Ryde Away.”

Kevin O'Hare