That next bitch

Basically, Eve's persona is the thug's moll. As guest rapper DMX puts it in "Dog Match," "behind every real dog there's that bitch behind him"— you'n'me­against-the-world, Bonnie & Clyde romanticism undercut somewhat by the chorus' marrowcurdling image of "paramedics on your chest/pushing and breathing." (The couple that slays together, stays together?) By far the best of First Lady's (th)ugly tracks is "Maniac." Driven by rowdy call-and-response and a TV sports­style triumphant synth-horn fanfare, the song thrillingly evokes the bristling alpha-male energy of a nightclub. It's a milieu through which Eve moves confidently, flirting with the scene's "top dog," getting "drunker than a muthafucker" and finally cutting in line for the ladies' room. The image of Eve gloating as she leaves a long line of "chicks hating" in her wake says something about the bitch-eat-bitch "reality" that rap in 1999 so doggedly represents. And it says something about Eve herself— in the contrast between the originality of the rhyme versus the petty triumph of incivility it celebrates.

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