Eve
Don’t Need Ya

eve-1.jpg

Damn. Eve is drop-dead gorgeous. Standing in the lights in front of photographer Marc Baptiste’s camera, wearing a deep-cut gold lamé top (effectively more like a fancy pair of suspenders than a blouse), the former first lady of the Ruff Ryders rap dynasty looks more like a supermodel than a supa MC. Glistening with a sheen of olive oil sprayed on by J.J., her trusty makeup artist of seven years, the woman who used to be known as a “pit bull in a skirt” stares straight into the camera’s lens and gives it a million dollar snarl.

“Set it off, girl!” Baptiste shouts, trying to loosen her up. Eve twists her body this way and that as the camera’s shutter clicks. The images pop up instantly on a high-powered digital monitor mounted high enough for the roomful of hired staff to assess each passing shot. A stylist is summoned to make some adjustments. When he steps away, the plunging garment is in an even more revealing position.

“Come on, girl!” Baptiste urges her on. Glancing at the screen, though, Eve isn’t happy with what she sees. She kindly asks him to erase the last five shots—the ones that captured not only her stunning profile but a healthy portion of bare breast as well—and readjusts herself.

“I don’t mind being sexy,” says Eve the following day, sitting at the bar at NYC’s posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel. (The famous paw-print tattoos, peeking just above the scoop neck of her black sweater, attest.) “There is a fine line between ‘hot’ and ‘hooch,’ and I’m not gonna do it… I never wanted to be the girls I saw when I was coming up. I never felt like I should do what other people already know. What’s the point of paying attention to me if I’m doing exactly what you see every day?”

You can’t fault her. But while she has always set herself apart from her female MC peers, the tough-spitting West Philadelphia chick has gotten herself so far away from her roots these past couple years she seems in danger of falling out of touch completely. After her last album, 2002’s Eve-olution, Eve decided to leave the East Coast for the sunny skies of L.A. Already a multiplatinum-selling rap star and a fashion icon, she parlayed her fame into an acting career. She landed her own UPN sitcom, Eve, and roles in a half-dozen films, including two installments of Ice Cube’s hugely successful Barbershop franchise, XXX with Vin Diesel and the critically acclaimed The Woodsman, in which she played a nosey co-worker of a child molester (Kevin Bacon) struggling to re-enter society after getting out of prison. While she concentrated the majority of her energy on screen time, Eve managed to pop up here and there on the radio, guest appearing on songs with Gwen Stefani, Mary J. Blige and Amerie.

“I chose another life for a second,” she says. “But I was never like, ‘I’m stopping music forever.’ Thank God for those features, ’cause it kept my face out there.”

Even so, her time away from hip-hop’s main stage could prove detrimental. This August, Eve is finally set to release Here I Am, her long-awaited collaboration with Dr. Dre. (Eve appeared on XXL’s cover in May 2004 to mark her return to Dre’s camp as a part of his new Aftermath Records roster.) But with record sales plummeting across the industry and hip-hop sounding like one big posthumous catalogue, it’s a dangerous time for anyone to be dropping any kind of project, no matter who’s behind it.

“I’m definitely rolling the dice with this album, because it’s different,” Eve says. “Dre hated it. He was like, ‘We need to throw some mud on it.’ He played me distinctive Dre joints, and I turned them down, because I was like, ‘I’m not 50. I’m not Game.’ That’s his shit, and I love it, but it’s not something that I wanted to do.”

Dre is credited as a co–executive producer on the album, but it will feature only one of his tracks. In the end, Eve went with beats from Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and Pharrell and a sound more closely identified with Top 40 radio than rap. Encompassing key elements of rap and pop music, along with a hearty infusion of reggae, to give it a summery, dancehall vibe, Here I Am belongs to the 21st century subgenre that might as well be called “urban crossover.”

eve-2.jpg“I feel like it’s not such a shock that this album is going that way,” says Eve. “Because the last time people saw me was with Gwen… People have seen me on TV now. I’m not gonna be like, ‘I’m in the street!’ ’Cause that’s not real… I still want my audience that loved me and supported me from the hood to come with me. And I think that they can. With Justin Timberlake playing on urban radio right now with T.I., five years ago, that was not happening. It took two White boys to bring R&B back: Justin and Robin Thicke. That’s crazy!”

Growing up in the same apartment with her mother, uncles, grandma and grandpa, Eve Jihan Jeffers had an independent streak from a young age. “Since I was little,” she says, “I never wanted to ask my mother for money.” She started rapping as a young teen, and, by the time she graduated high school in 1996, she knew she wanted to make a career of it. Figuring it would be the quickest way to get out of her mother’s house and into her own apartment, she took a job at a New York strip club.

Her heart wasn’t in it, though. And she wasn’t very good. “I was the lazy dancer,” she says. “I wasn’t like the other girls that danced. I was really like the girl that sat down. I used to tell dudes, ‘Yo, you know I rhyme.’ That was my whole shit. I really don’t know how I survived it. I used to watch those girls and be like, ‘This ain’t for me.’”

In 1996, Eve auditioned for a member of Dr. Dre’s camp, who was so impressed that, two days later, she was out in L.A. signing with Aftermath. “At 18, I was Eve of Destruction,” she says, noting her first rap moniker and an attitude that matched. “I was a young girl from Philly who was like, ‘Whatever, let’s make it happen. I need an album out! Come on, Dre!’” She rolls her eyes. “I was so rowdy.”

——- Read the rest of our Eve feature in XXL’s June 2007 issue (#92)
  • stonecold 6000

    Do you E V E and stay in it to win it. PHILLIES First Lady in the building looking hood,sexy,fly and classy.

  • Real Hip-Hop

    im finally 1st

  • http://xxl q-buro

    i’d eat anything out of her ass…..i couldnt care less if she raps…i would hit it!!!!!!

  • B Dub

    eve can get it

  • stoneyisland

    Eve, 1st lady of Philly? aint no fucking way! Bahamadia and Leschea have much more street cred abd ability. Eve should stick to making bad tv sitcoms and semi porno’s. Eve baby get your paper but dont sell your soul.

  • Big Tony

    E-V-E, you’s sexy as hell, no doubt! whatever u decide to do is straight wit me as long as you do 1 thing for me: STAY SEXY!!!

  • FUCK~:~WACKWALL~:~U~:~CAN~:~LICK~:~DEEZ~:~BROWNBALLZ

    eve still fyne as hell. weather shes on aftermath or anywhere else.

  • Galil ( g-unit is DYING) WARNING!!!! Tony Gayo is coming after children look out!!!!

    It’s a shame that she ain’t on Aftermath but hey it’s not easy over there.
    Can’t wait 2 hear if she still got it like we all know only Eve can do it. Eve bring the sexy and raw shit in her music.

  • Mpho

    Does every young african american lady from the hood have to screw niggas b’fo they can get a deal??.. Got damn stippin’ ass.. tell me a big rapper chick that ain’t strip or juggle some nuts to get into this rap shit and i’ll show u BOL’s Girlfriend **Never Happen**..

  • Mpho

    u know i’m right bout this shit …

  • Mpho

    why won’t this shit post my effin comments.. man this some bullshit

  • BlkGenius

    She need to stick to acting and puttin out clothes that’s where the real money is at for her.

  • Real Talk

    Maan, she lookin THICK in them shots.

    I FUCKS with Eve yo… “lietrally” Haha.

  • the G.O.D

    Peace, I love Eve but c’mon that statement it two white boys to bring R&B back, back from where? what have R. Kelly, Akon, Marie J. Blige et al been doing? The aforementioned Timbaflake has been try to channel Al Green for the longest and can keep on trying.
    one

  • young jopey

    she looks so good…… I would eat that goldmine in her pants

  • http://xxlmag.com anthony

    she’s done, she maybe fine as hell, but music wise, she’s done, first she turns down dre beats cause she dont want to sound like 50?!!, she wants radio joints, not music that gonna have heads reciting her lyrics, her album is gonna flop big time, did you hear that tamberine joint?!!, garbarge and dont be surprised to see eve on the arms of a white dude either (nothing wrong with that), do this chick believe that robin and justin brung back r&b?!!, she better stop smoking and drinkin’ that shit, then her ass wont pull a paris hilton and crash up her ride, as far as anything, she’s not in the streets no more and her music aint either..

  • i’ll shit bag u

    mpho hahahaa u a funny mother fucker co sign that shit though!!!!

  • Mr.Yayo

    Eve is a beautiful girl. She is a real lady and isnt a slut. Maybe this is the lost female mc that hip-hop is looking for. Actually Eve can freestyle better than most males in the rap shit right now. I wish she would get Dr. Dre beats though cause than the album would be better than its sounding.

  • http://www.myspace.com/blankversitility Y2KCEO- B.V.N Reppin

    Fuck eve. You should have stuck with Hip Hop ma. Got bit by the POP bug. No Love!!!

    Real Heads dig this….
    http://www.myspace.com/blankversitility
    http://www.myspace.com/tecstashsounds

  • http://cameuprecords.com Firre

    Eve can get it…

  • BlakSteel

    Eve looks real tight on those flicks and lil ma has been doing her thing the last few years in hollyhood.I don’t know how her sells will do but shawty is one of the few female emcees who got skills and sex appeal.

  • OmNiPoTeNt

    i love eve cant wait to pick up Here I Am. Tambourine is fire.

  • http://aylar.no Aylar

    She looks hot

  • JAMAL

    STONEYISLAND, KEEP THE HATE TO YOURSELF BITCH ASS NIGGA!!!!!!

  • Understand this

    Hit Up MUsicIburn.com download Your Favortite Hit. Forget ITunes this a Site for the People By the People.

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  • Duro

    q-buro Says:

    May 7th, 2007 at 10:47 am
    i’d eat anything out of her ass…..i couldnt care less if she raps…i would hit it!!!!!!

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    that comment was homo on so many levels!

  • http://seantucker15yahoo.com V-MAN

    She’s got a buncha bangin producer on her shit but just 1 Dre jawn aint gonna be enough.I agree some mud here & ther would be a good thing! Her & Jadakiss over a Dre beat would be money in the bank, even HOOD BITCHES LIKE HARD SHIT! Fuck her white boys brough R&B back. Justin aint got no soul wit his snitchin ass, if he could get them hits on black radio wit out black producers I’d give him more credit!

  • http://www.myspace.com/mc585 M.C

    Y2KCEO- B.V.N Reppin is garbs””lmao your out here dissing EVE but your flow is pure trash homie..Cmon with that gay sht–show love–your the same mofo’z that’s killing the game…i would advised every head on here to listen to go isten to your joints but i’m not impress i’ll save them the headdache…garbz 4 real

  • jaja

    I will cum all in her pussy

  • http://youtube.com/videos2see phurdrick

    she’s done, she maybe fine as hell, but music wise, she’s done, first she turns down dre beats cause she dont want to sound like 50?!!, she wants radio joints, not music that gonna have heads reciting her lyrics, her album is gonna flop big time, did you hear that tamberine joint?!!, garbarge and dont be surprised to see eve on the arms of a white dude either (nothing wrong with that), do this chick believe that robin and justin brung back r&b?!!, she better stop smoking and drinkin’ that shit, then her ass wont pull a paris hilton and crash up her ride, as far as anything, she’s not in the streets no more and her music aint either..

  • http://XXL retta23

    EVE I HAVE WATCHED YOU GROW FROM DAY ONE MUCH LOVE N RESPECT DO YOUR THING YOUVE GROWN INTO A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG LADY YOUR MOM SHOULD BE PROUD NEED A MASSAGE THERAPIST HIT ME UP ON retta23@comcast.net im trying to come up to

  • http://cccccc ahmed_asd1987@yahoo.xcom

    i ljjkhj

  • jon longway

    if anybody knows about albums its dre. and if dre dont like your shit it aint shit!!! plain and simple!!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/pakmanrap Pakman
  • hmmm na!

    akon???????????doin rnb???
    bitch please