CD Review: Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes's 'Eye Legacy'

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Rapper Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes may be the most under-marketed deceased celebrity in hip-hop. Hard as it is to believe, "Eye-Legacy," a new mishmash of rare tracks, unreleased songs and celebrity cameos, is the onetime TLC member's first release since her death in a Honduran car crash in April 2002.

Lopes was firecracker-smart, controversy-prone and given to bouts of mysticism. "Eye-Legacy" is powered by the sheer force of her personality, for better or worse. It's a glass-jawed mix of swaggery, rough-edged hip-pop, cool come-ons, non-specific spiritual allusions and go-girl affirmations that can seem one-note and brittle without the ameliorating influence of Lopes's cooler-headed group mates.

Many of "Eye-Legacy's" tracks are reworked versions of songs from the ill-fated-in-every-sense-of-the-word "Supernova," Lopes's 2001 overseas-only solo debut. Songs are renamed, rewritten and sonically updated, with varying degrees of success.

Guest appearances are added: Missy Elliott shows up alongside the remaining members of TLC on "Let's Just Do It," one of many generically catchy tracks that can't entirely shake its early '00s origins. And guest appearances are also erased: Perhaps wisely, Lopes's rapping former fiance, pro football player Andre Rison, whose house she famously burned down in 1994, is replaced by Bobby Valentino on an even-better version of what's now called "In the Life"; and Tupac Shakur, who posthumously appeared on the "Supernova" track "Untouchable," is now absent from "Legendary," its renamed, now considerably duller successor, for reasons that are a lot less clear.

-- Allison Stewart

DOWNLOAD THESE: "Block Party," "Let's Just Do It"

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