In what may be one of rap’s biggest comebacks of the year, Philly femcee Eve released Lip Lock today (May 14), her first album since 2002’s Eve-Ovlution. During her time away from the mic, she’s kept busy acting on her self-titled sitcom Eve, making guest appearances on numerous television shows, including the primetime sensation Glee, and even big-screen roles like the hip hop comedy Barbershop and 2009’s Whip It! Clearly not wanting to make a clean break from music, she also did a number of features for other artists.
Now, after overcoming many delays, Eve is officially back in the game with the video for her first single released on 106 & Park earlier this month. The Ruff Ryders first lady has a lot to prove but she is definitely up to the challenge. Check out the full story behind all the buzz surrounding her latest project.
So everyone wants to know where you've been? What’s been holding up the release of Lip Lock?
I was supposed to do an album actually after “Tambourine” came out and so it took a minute for me to get out of that deal. Then, I got an EMI (Music Publishing) deal and that took a minute for me to get out of that. And now I have my own label, From The Rib Music. I’m distributed through Sony/Red and the states of Sony worldwide. So it’s finally the perfect time.
A lot has changed in music since your last album. How have you been able to adapt?
I think music changes period. I think people change. I never thought about really trying to adapt. I think I don’t ever really try to fit in, ever. Like, that’s just not my thing, so it was more about just making good music. It was about making music I can feel, that I feel is right for me to put out. Like this album is exactly the album I’m supposed to put out. It wasn’t about adapting. Like I said, it was just about making good music.
Did the ever-changing music climate delay the album?
No, not at all. I honestly didn’t even think about it. For me it’s my process. Music is music, but I’m never the type of person to make music that sounds like anything else. Me — I try to do what I know that I’m supposed to or what feels right for me to do.
Has your music evolved?
Yeah, I’ve definitely evolved musically. Like, my ear is different. Probably like the way I pick tracks because I travel so much. But as far as me lyrically, I think people can definitely recognize me and I think people will hear me and be like, “Damn, that’s my girl!” You know, especially for people who maybe fell in love with me from the Ruff Ryders days. I still feel like, you know, there’s still enough on this album for them.
What has influenced your sound on this new album?
I think me traveling, you know, I go back and forth from here to the UK. I stay in the UK a lot, so I think just being there I’m sure has influenced the way that I listen to tracks, or sounds that I hear on tracks, and beats.
What producers did you work with? Who are some of the features?
I worked with Claude Kelly, Salaam Remi, Swizz Beatz, Black Elvis, Jukebox, Radio and a new kid named Felix Snow. He’s an up-and-coming guy. The features include Missy Elliott and there’s a girl named Nacho. She’s a new female emcee who is so dope. Snoop is on the album; Juicy J and Pusha T are on the “She Bad Bad” remix; Chrisette Michelle, Dawn Richard and a new kid named Propane.
Do you have a favorite track?
I have three. One is “E.V.E.” I love that record because I feel like just the energy of that record is exactly how I feel right now. Like it’s aggressive. It’s in your face. It’s a strong record, that’s how I feel. Then “Keep Me from You” has Dawn Richard on it and it’s about love. It’s a happy record. It’s kinda more pop and dance but it’s a fun record for the summer. And then “Mama in the Kitchen” is a dope record. That’s the one with Snoop on it and that’s another gritty, raw record but the beat is so bananas.
Recently, there have been a lot of rising female emcees in the industry such as Azealia Banks, Angel Haze and even Nicki Minaj. Any advice or insight that you can share with young female emcees trying to make it?
First of all, we need more females. So if you’re out there and you grinding, please keep doing you’re thing 'cause we definitely need more females. And just, you know, do you. I think the best thing right now, you know, it really is great that you don’t need a label as much as when I came out. Like, do your thing, go do shows, make sure you're putting your music out, find your own community. You know you can build your own community now. I don’t know, just keep doing you. I know it can get frustrating, but keep going.
You’ve had your own sitcom and appeared in quite a few movies. Can we expect you to get back into acting anytime soon?
Not right now. It is something I think about all the time because I do love acting. I did two independent movies last year. One called Wifed Out, one called Bounty Killer. And you know, I think those will be out this year, but I read scripts all the time and stuff. But right now, not at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll get back into it.
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(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for DSquared2)