photographer / Jason Rodgers
story / Logan Brendt
stylist / Michael Fisher
hair / Michael Moreno @ LVA Reps
makeup / Tia Hebron for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
It’s lunchtime in New York City and the streets are gridlocked, keeping rap icon Eve at the mercy of the beautiful concrete jungle. One thing that can really irritate her is being late, because Eve is first and foremost a businesswoman. This is a necessity since she’s the one in charge, calling the shots as an independent artist, the owner of her own label, all while primarily trying to maintain the creative side of things as the artist. Eve remarks, “Now that the album is out, I’m focusing more on the business side.” With that said, she begins her afternoon moving swiftly through numerous interviews.
The Philly born Eve Jeffers, directly known as Eve, shot to fame as part of the legendary Ruff Ryders era and became one of the largest rappers in the game, going on to attain multi-platinum success. But regardless of that, ten years came and went in-between her last album despite the prospect of a new one in 2007 after her Swizz Beatz produced chart topping track, “Tambourine”. This plan unfortunately crumbled because of the issues she was having with the label, and the powerful light she always brought to rap stayed dim for many more years.
Of course she’s always maintained the pursuit, including the deviation into other creative endeavors which developed into quite a large acting resume. As an actress, she’s been best known for starring in her own television sitcom on UPN, simply titled Eve, and most recently had roles in films like Bounty Killer and Wifed Out, and after all this time, it’s still been fulfilling to her. “I love acting and I definitely want to get back into it now that the album is out.”
Obviously having had a lot of time to conceptualize her return to music on a lengthy road that included leaving a major label, the independence she now has found has provided an abundance of creativity and also the control to state what she wants. This is evident on her new album Lip Lock. “Being in charge of just saying yes and no to whatever is right or wrong for me is a good position to be in,” she admits. “I’d be lying though if I said I wasn’t anxious about being away for so long and coming back right now, but at the same time I knew it was time for me to make music,” she says. “If it wasn’t for the Ruff Ryders, I wouldn’t be able to even be bold enough to do something like this on my own. They definitely taught me about myself as an artist and as a person.”
In the late-90s when the Ruff Ryders ruled, they experienced a lavish lifestyle to be envious of. Eve smirks, “It was always crazy and decadent like every damn day.” Speaking of their closeness and time spent together, she mentions, “There were no less than 20 or 30 of us at one time doing everything together. It was a party. Even when we traveled, it was crazy.” But sometimes the best of relationships have their seasons, and they eventually all parted ways. “I do still speak to Swizz [Beatz] though. He’s the one I talk to the most, and we don’t even talk all the time.” As far as everyone else? “We don’t really keep in touch.” But she knows that they all still consider each other a family, despite growing apart. “If I got a phone call from any one of them, I would drop whatever I was doing. There will always be love.”
Part of Eve’s extended musical family also includes Gwen Stefani. The significant chemistry between these two powerful female artists was demonstrated on two colossal hits. “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” from Eve’s second album Scorpion was released in 2001 and featured Stefani, and Eve later returned the favor and guested on “Rich Girl”, the second single from Stefani’s debut solo album. This isn’t something you see everyday since women in the industry are often competing with each other rather than supporting each other. Therefore, it goes to show how powerful Eve is; there’s no need for rivalry with anyone. “I actually just saw Gwen a few nights ago for the first time in years,” she says. “She’s one of my favorite people that I’ve ever collaborated with.” Not knowing if the stars will align for another collaboration with Stefani anytime soon, they have mentioned it to each other in passing. “Nothing concrete yet,” Eve comments. However, she’s currently setting her sights on collaborating with Lauryn Hill. Will it happen? “Anything is possible.”
The musical climate of hip hop and rap has transformed considerably since Eve was last on the scene. Taking other styles of music into consideration in evolving her sound, she communicates that a lot of the album is drum heavy. “I love drums and I listen to a lot of dancehall and a lot of reggae,” she mentions. “I think I’ve always been influenced by that.” Also having listened to a lot of South African dance and Brazillian music, it has all come together to influence how she wanted the tracks on Lip Lock to sound.
From the beginning, Eve’s music appealed to fanatics of many different genres of music, but it wasn’t something she originally set out to do from the beginning. “It’s not something that I thought about. It definitely happened naturally.” It’s likely that this has happened, not only because of her past crossover into pop, but because of the passionate energy that she conveys, especially in her live performances which is such an integral part of success in music. Understanding this aspect greatly, Eve remarks, “For me, performing is about having fun. I want to make sure when people leave, that they have had fun and couldn’t stop moving, or stop smiling. It’s like a party for me to be on stage.”
Currently living in London now, Eve knows that it has unquestionably influenced her personal style and a little bit of her sound, but she’s still becoming acquainted with the pulsating city since she’s been nothing but consumed with the writing, recording, production, and promotion of Lip Lock. “I’ve been working crazy on this album for over the last year,” she confirms. But overall, she’s enjoyed every moment of it. “When the album was finally mastered, I had listened to it to make sure that everything sounded right, and that’s when it kind of hit me like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it’s been years of trying to get this album out.'” Knowing it was worth all of the aggravation, she emphasizes, “I went through a lot of shit trying to do it and even questioned myself as to why I was even fucking doing this.” But the reward has been the final product and also how supportive her fans have been after all of this time. “I’ve been getting nothing but love from my fans and it’s been inspiring,” Eve gleams.
White leather moto jacket, BLK DNM. Dress, Cheap Monday. Chocker Necklace, Laruicci. Ring, Meredith Kahn 14k yellow gold large ‘Chevron Love Twist’ ring, $1400.00 available at Love Adorned www.loveadorned.com. Ring – Meredith Kahn 14k yellow gold small ‘Chevron Love Twist’ ring, $1150.00 available at Love Adorned www.loveadorned.com. Shirt – BLK DNM white sheer topSkirt; BLK DNM. Shoes, Kurt Geiger. Earrings, Valentina Kova. Rings, Katrina Lapenne ‘Cleopatra’ 14k gold ring available at Love Adorned
More pictures of EVE here!