The new album title may be Lip Lock, but Philly born rapper Eve is more open than ever. After a 10-year hiatus, the Philadelphia native is back on the music scene with a newfound independence. “I’ve been truly blessed in my life. This new album is coming out on my label,” she shared last night (April 30) at The XX Project’s “Salon Sessions” event in New York City. “I’m the boss. That to me is an accomplishment. To do this and to believe in myself enough to put a gamble on myself, is a huge accomplishment.”
Before sitting down with good friend Soledad O’Brien to talk about her diverse career, the former Ruff Ryder was an open book. During her chat with Vixen, she talked about why being a lyricist in a pop-centric era is still important. “My whole goal for this album was just to make a good feeling album and a good sounding album. Lyrically, I want people to listen to it and be like, ‘Damn, that’s my girl,’ but then be like, ‘Damn, the sound of that record is different.’
Plans for starting a family with boyfriend Maximillion Cooper? Undying devotion to Lauryn Hill? A possible return to her signature haircut? Eve unlocks her lips just for us. — Nicole Brown
VIBE Vixen: You’ve been fairly open about your relationship in recent interviews. How do you decide what to share and what to keep to yourself?
Eve: It’s pretty hard. You can get so comfortable with sharing that you don’t even realize it, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve been really good at being private. We might write tweets like, “I love you baby. Thank you,” but I don’t really put out much personal information about us or what we’re exactly doing. It’s or whatever, but never anything too personal.
Multi-ethnic families are common in Hollywood. Kim Kardashian recently talked about raising her biracial child to never see color. Also, Halle Berry said that she believes in the “one drop rule.” If you and Max have children, what will you teach them about race and their identity?
I don’t want them to see color. I never did. I grew up in the hood and my mother was very good at it not being a black thing, even though I grew up around all black people. I want them to want to know everything about all kinds of races. I’m a black woman and I love being a black woman. And I think my child should know that black part of themselves. But at the same time, their father would be white and I would want them to know that side of themselves. And British! That’s a whole other situation [Laughs].
As the only female in a rap crew, do you think that helped or hindered your confidence as a woman?
If anything, I probably overcompensated as a woman. With dudes, you have to snatch the respect. You earn it, gain it, snatch it. I also was adopted compared to everyone else. They’re from Harlem and Yonkers and here’s this girl from Philly, so I had to prove that I could write like them or better than them. I had to prove that I wasn’t a groupie. I did whatever I could to gain that respect and let them know I didn’t need them to carry me.
VV: You’ve also talked about getting back to acting. What kind of role would you like to tackle next?
E: For TV, I would love to one of those borderline comedies that’s so wrong but so funny. I want something like that. And then for movies, I want something where I have to strip myself down. Something I really have to study for, whether it’s learning a language or an accent or something. I want to challenge myself.
Your style is constantly evolving. Will you ever go back to the short cut we all know you for?
You know what? Honestly, to my friend today, this morning, I was like, “Girl, I think I’m about to cut my hair off.” Like, I’m feeling it! But I don’t want to go back to retro me [Laughs].
Maybe an updated version?
An updated version. I honestly have thought about it. I love hair.
Would you say that’s your favorite part about styling yourself?
Yes. It’s fun! It’s an accessory. It’s like putting on a bracelet or a ring. My boyfriend teases me. We’ve been together three years, and in every vacation picture, I have different hair. I can’t help it.
Would you say you’re a girly girl?
Oh, I’m a girly girl, but I’m like a schizophrenic because I love my sweatpants, too. That’s the first thing I do when I go to a hotel or when I come home. I put on something comfortable.
You’re in the hot seat for “Salon Sessions,” but if you were sitting in the audience, who is someone you would like to watch get interviewed?
Lauryn Hill. She’s such an inspiration still. I know she’s going through a lot, but I’m really happy that she’s signed a new deal with Sony. I’m happy to hear music from her. She’s one of the greatest, and it’s great that she’s like, fuck it, I am who I am and I’m not gonna be who you want me to be.
Lip Lock hits stores on May 14.