Four years ago, Eve dropped the mic in favor of a successful acting and fashion career. Now the pitbull in a skirt” is back with a more mature pop sound. She’s ready to blow your mind again…
“I’m such a fucking girl,” Eve says with a laugh as she slips on her earrings and slides a gang of gold bangles onto her left wrist. It’s just after 11 o’clock on a frigid Thursday night in February, and one of hip-hop’s best female MCs is stationed in Studio B at Los Angeles’ Chalice Studios. She’s about ready to add her signature ad-libs to “Give It To Me,” a duet with Sean Paul from her forthcoming album, Here I Am, but damned if she didn’t leave the music in the car. Sure, she could make a quick dash out to the parking lot to grab it, but no…she has to put her jewelry on first.
It’s a far cry from the blond slick-talking tomboy who released her debut single, “What Ya Want,” in 1999. As the only female in DMX’s Ruff Ryders camp, Eve Jihan Jeffers was “one of the guys,” but not anymore. Now, she’s a triple threat: film, TV and fashion star—all power woman for sure.
Inside the secluded studio, Eve sits at the mixing board dressed casually in black jeans, a fitted three-button gray sweater and tall black boots. With a blue pen in hand and a hyperactive BlackBerry by her side, she’s scribbling her verse for Natasha Bedingfield’s upcoming single, “What If’s.” Eleven white seven-day candles burn, as does some incense, and Eve takes a quick bite of Mexican food while the track blasts from the speakers. She salves the slight tickle in her throat with a cup of tea then heads to the booth to lay down her 16 bars. Aside from a few frustration-fueled, profanity-laden outtakes (“I’m sorry—I curse a lot”), she effortlessly gets through the verse. I guess there are some hints of the old Eve still in her.
“OK, punch that,” she instructs the engineer.
It’s been five years since the Philly native really worked on music. In 2002 her third album, Eve-Olution, debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and tapped out at 630,000 units. Since then, she’s pumped the brakes on a clothing line (Fetish), acted in five movies (XXX, The Cookout, The Woodsman and both installments of the Barbershop series, in which she played the loud-mouthed, hot-headed Terri Jones) and starred in and co-produced a self-titled UPN sitcom about a beautiful but romantically challenged South Beach fashion designer. And she’s done some growing up. “I like 28,” she beams, referring to her age. “I’ve learned that I’d rather put all my cards on the table than worry about coming off as rude. It’s just about being honest and realizing that all I have is this moment, right now.”