Who is Eve? She is a Grammy Award, NAACP Image Award, and MTV Video Music Award winner who has garnered over 20 nominations for her music, acting, and work both within and outside of the entertainment industry. All of which was accomplished in a seven-year period.
We can never forget that she was and always will be the "first lady of Ruff Ryders." Yet her last album, EVE-Olution, was released 10 years ago, her last film role was in 2009, and other than a few guest verses here or appearances there, it is safe to say that she's been missing from the Hip-Hop world. Fast-forward to now, and things have changed. Eve is in the process of finishing her fourth studio album, she just wrapped a new film, still has her hand, or should we say, foot, in the fashion industry, and is preparing to release her first two books. All of this, and more, is on tap for 2012.
AllHipHop.com spent some time talking to the beautiful Philadelphia native as she vacations in London for the holidays about a number of things, including the long and bumpy road to her new album, her thoughts on Nicki Minaj, female rappers, and the state of the current musical landscape. Eve also gave us a sneak peek into some of her other ventures and endeavors. Read all about it below:
AllHipHop.com: Hey, Eve, how are you doing?
Eve: Good. I’m in London right now. How are you?
AllHipHop.com: Good, thanks. So, I have to ask about you and your music. Where is your musical state of mind at right now?
Eve: Listen, it’s been a long *ss process, just ‘cause I’ve made so many changes in my life as far as management and label stuff, and then the label I went to went through another transition, so it’s just taking forever. But I will definitely have an official single out by late spring, and we hope to have the album out by next fall. After the top of the year is my six-week countdown to finish the record. It’s definitely coming next year, for sure!
AllHipHop.com: Well, that’s great news. Is the title still Flirt or has that changed also?
Eve: No, it’s all changing. It went from Lip Lock to Flirt, and as of now, I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet. I’ve been working off of Lip Lock for a minute, just ‘cause there’s still that feeling, but I think I’m going to wind up changing. I just don’t want to say what it is right now.
AllHipHop.com: As long as you let us know first, then take your time with the title.
Eve: [Laughing] Yes, I will definitely let you know.
AllHipHop.com: So how has the actual music changed? Where is it at right now?
Eve: I think it’s still the same. I think that what I was trying to do with this record is kind of branch what people paid attention to me for in the beginning, being with Ruff Ryders, and as far as what I’ve done lyrically. I’m trying to branch that with my love of doing the radio-friendly music. I’m trying to figure it out, but I think it will be a very well rounded record. I think that there will be enough records on there that people will be like, “oh damn, this is lyrical Eve,” and then the fans that grew with me, that are still growing with me, will love the stuff that I’m into right now.
We’ll see, but I’m really excited about it, just 'cause I have so many different kinds of people so far on the record, as far as the production goes. I’m actually going to be going in and recording with The Cataracts at the end of January, and you know what kind of stuff they do, but I’m not going to be doing that crazy, extra-big, club stuff, just 'cause that’s not where I’m at. And I don’t want to just follow a trend unless I’m doing it my way. Then obviously, I’m still going to be getting records from Swizz. Salaam Remi is on the record as well, and I’m still looking for some people. Like I said, I have six weeks after the new year, so we’ll see who comes up to bat.
AllHipHop.com: Well, it sounds like you're cooking up something pretty special so far, so I’m looking forward to hearing some new Eve. How about your passion for singing? Will we get any of that on the new album?
Eve: You know, I might. I’ve always been okay with singing hooks. That has always been comfortable for me. I don’t know right now, but I don’t think I would do a whole song, unless it’s something fun. If I come up with a way to it very melodically and fun where it’s not me coming out of pocket, then I’ll definitely do it. I feel like music right now is so mixed up where you can do so many experimental things so I might try to jump out of the box a little, but we’ll see.
AllHipHop.com: Well we haven’t been totally deprived of Eve music. Last month a new Ruff Ryders compilation was released, and the “Hot Steppa” song that you and Swizz had done earlier in the year was on it. How did that project come together and was that an official Ruff Ryders release?
Eve: You know, if they call and they need something, I’m always there. So when Waah called me and asked if they could get a record for the compilation, I said “absolutely.” Thankfully me and Swizz had just done that “Hot Steppa” record, and it just kind of worked out perfectly and I told them to take it.
AllHipHop.com: What about you and DMX? Have you spoken to your man lately, and can the fans anticipate an Eve and X record on your new album?
Eve: No, actually. I haven’t gotten to speak to X yet, but I’m sure we’ll see each other soon. I know that since he’s been out, he’s been doing his thing and I know from other people that he’s doing really well which I’m really happy about. But no I haven’t talked to him yet and sh*t you never know. It’d be dope to work with him again, and I love X, you know? He’s the sh*t.
AllHipHop.com: As someone who has been a part of the industry for over a decade, what do you think about the current musical landscape?
Eve: I mean I go back and forth. There’s some music out there that when I’m listening to the radio, I’m like “are you serious! This sh*t is getting played and people are buying this?” But at the same time, I do hear some stuff that I’m like “oh damn, this is fun, this is cool. I think it’s definitely never been like this; music has changed so much. Everything has just changed so much. Like I said before, for me it is kind of exciting because it is so mixed up now that I feel like I can do a lot more and come out of my box some more. But what does annoy me is that there are some people out there just making sh*tty *ss music and it’s not cute. It’s just not cute; so I don’t know man but it’s always a cycle. I feel like the bullsh*t has to happen for the good sh*t to come. And I think that all the real artists and real lyricists will come back, at least I’m hoping they will.
AllHipHop.com: So then I have to ask, what are your thoughts on someone like Nicki Minaj who has crossed over to multiple genres and had tons of success in the past year?
Eve: I think it’s great. I think what she’s doing is great. I think she found a lane and she’s living in it, and doing her thing. You know, I get asked about her a lot, and I have nothing but good things to say. I don’t think anyone should wish bad things on a person and I think her success just makes it better for everyone in the game. I’ve got to be honest, I don’t sit and listen to Nicki Minaj records. I do like some songs that I’ve heard from her, but at the same time, like I said, I think she’s found a lane but there’s enough space for everybody to do their own thing.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think it’s a little unfortunate that no matter how many dope female rappers there are, like Trina, Jean Grae, you, Diamond, it seems everyone is always going to make some comparison to Nicki and what she’s done?
Eve: I mean, it is unfortunate ‘cause there are a lot of dope *ss female MCs out there as well, they just don’t come out as often. If you have that machine, then you’re winning, that’s what I think, period. Nicki has the machine behind her right now, and it’s just the perfect moment for her. The stars have all aligned ‘cause right now, she is that girl.
What bothers me about it though, more than anything, is that people think there always only has to be one female or two at the most who are doing their thing. There’s so much testosterone out there and it seems like the females can never break through that and I think that annoys me more than anything.
AllHipHop.com: I definitely agree, and it’s unfortunate that we don’t always get to dictate what is and isn’t out there as much as we like to think that we do.
Eve: Right. People believe whatever they see at the forefront. It is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: Well aside from music, what can you tell me about the other ventures that you’re involved with? Are there any acting or fashion projects in the works?
Eve: Well, I just finished an independent film right before I came here to London called Wifed Out. It was with this guy Jason, it’s his first major film and the movie is like one of those Judd Apatow kind of humorous things. It’s pretty out there [laughter], but it’s fun. So I just finished that and I’m sure that will be out some time next year. I’m reading stuff all the time ‘cause I love acting so hopefully I’ll be getting into a lot more of it next year.
As far as fashion goes, I’m working on a shoe line, but it’s in the baby stages. I walked from my other line Fetish so I don’t have that anymore, I gave it up. So yeah, I’m starting on a shoe line and you’ll definitely hear more about that once the album is out and I’m working on two books actually.
AllHipHop.com: Oh nice. What are the books about?
Eve: One is a beauty book and then the other is kind of like my story, but more of a positive, ‘you can do anything,’ kind of book.
AllHipHop.com: So an autobiography with a twist?
Eve: Kind of but I don’t want to make it where people are like “oh and then this happened, and then this year this happened.” I want it to be more conversational and I am actually going to partner up with someone to help structure it with me ‘cause I’m not good with that kind of stuff.
AllHipHop.com: Well it was a pleasure talking to you. Just to recap, you’ve got the album dropping in fall, the shoe line coming around the same time, the movie, and the two books you’re working on. Is there anything else you want the fans to know about what Eve has in store for 2012?
Eve: Nothing other than I’m coming, and 2012 is the year of E-V-E.
AllHipHop.com: Thanks again, Eve. Enjoy the holidays.
Eve: Thanks. You, too.
Follow Eve on Twitter: @TheRealEve