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And of course there was Lauryn Hill, who had managed to escape the tyranny of Wyclef and the Fugees to release an album that set records still standing today.

Like Eve, many of these women were more charismatic and skilled than their male counterparts, but often had less creative control of their own projects.

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The album’s primary singles were expressions of loyalty to both.

The plucky, buoyant “Gotta Man,” is a ride-or-die anthem, featuring bail money happily paid and secrets kept.

But in 1999, she appeared (although uncredited) alongside Erykah Badu on the Roots’ breakout “You Got Me” and joined Blackstreet, Janet Jackson, and Ja Rule on the pastel “Girlfriend/Boyfriend.” She employed a different style on all of them: sly, seductive incense-rap here, no-nonsense wit there.

Eve’s first proper release, the vaguely salsa-inspired “What Ya Want,” featuring Nokio of Dru Hill, was built around a rudimentary Latin preset on an E-MU synth, but it soon cracked the Top 40.

“That night, he drove me around and we rapped all night until the sun came up,” she recalled recently.

“And I never went back in the club.” After another fortuitous meeting, this one with an executive at Dr.

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible.

Today, we revisit Eve’s 1999 debut, a hard-bodied and self-determined showcase.

Dre’s Aftermath records, Eve delivered an audition, flew to Los Angeles, and was signed pretty much on the spot.

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