born eve jihan jeffers in 1979, the future first lady of the ruff ryders spent her childhood as a philladelphia tomboya fact that would prepare her for her eventual role as the only female member of one of rap music's hottest outfits. teenage parents, eve's mother and father separated when she was only twelve, leaving her to be raised by her mother and grandmother; though eve had contact with her father after the separation, the two have not communicated since she turned eighteen. two years after their separation, eve's mother remarried and gave birth to eve's brother, farrod.
throughout her childhood, eve was a performer, earning recognition at school for writing short stories, plays and poems. she began rapping under the moniker gangstaas part of the dancing/singing/rapping trio edgpas a teenager. when the fickle group of teens split up after only a few performances, eve began the pursuit of a solo career, adopting the name eve of destruction. on her own, eve pursued her dreams with practicality and determination; through performances at local clubs, parties and talent competitions she earned recognition. eve had vowed that she would give up her pursuit of music if her dreams were not realized by the early age of twenty-one and a troubled youth threatened to keep her from ever reaching that goal. "i was a goddamn delinquent," a reflective eve explains, "i didn't even think i was going to graduate from high school." rather than allow poor grades, drug trafficking and the occasional relationship with a certified "gang-sta" halt her career, eve channeled her experiences into her work and only grew stronger.
eve's bad girl behavior, however, did not come to an end with her graduation from high school. her mother having recently remarried, eve was bitter and disappointed, and feeling the need to get away. accompanied by her friends, eve would make a nightly trek from her philadelphia neighborhood to the golden lady strip club in new york's bronx borough. eve managed to keep her month-long career a secret from her mother, sometimes earning as much as four hundred dollars a night. eventually, evewho used the pseudonyms mystique, cinnamon and ginger when dancing became disillusioned with the seediness of stripping and gave it up. she explains, "it was so depressing. i knew i didn't have to be there. i had a house that i could always go to. i had my mother. i didn't have no kids." in fact, eve's disgust for her short-lived occupation got so bad that she often found it necessary to consume as many as six long island iced teas prior to going on stage. fortunately for eve, a conversation with retired rap superstar mase gave her the encouragement she needed to give up stripping and establish a career based upon her less prurient talents. "he talked to me for like two hours," she explains, "he said, 'you are too smart to be doing this. you wanna rap, you want a career, you need to get away from this'". eve took that advice to heart, allowing her career as a dancer to serve as nothing more than inspiration for her lyrics, today.
eve was also able to capitalize upon her delinquent adolescence by infiltrating the offices of michael lynnpresident of dr. dre's aftermath entertainmentby posing as a narcotics runner. "i went there and he thought i was the weed girl," eve recalls, "out of nowhere they put the tape on and i stood up and started rapping and he was looking at me like, 'why is this girl rapping?'". eve's freestyle rhyme impressed lynn enough for him to fly her to los angeles to cut a demo to present to dr. dre, himself. while one of the cuts from that demo, "eve of destruction", was sufficient to land eve a recording contract with aftermath&151;not to mention a spot on the bulworth soundtracktheir professional relationship would end eight months later without a completed project and shrouded in mystery. though neither party speaks badly of the other, it is rumored that the company simply spread itself too thinly, leaving them unable to fulfill its commitments to eve.
as it turned out, however, eve's severed relation with aftermath records did not mark the artist's own "eve of destruction", but rather a new opportunity in the form of a professional liaison with rapper dmx. having long admired dmx's work, eve jumped at the opportunity to work with ruff ryders producer dame grease, after meeting dmx at a los angeles record signing. once again, her freestyle skills earned her a recording contract as she held her own against drag-on and infra red in a cipher. "i thought i couldn't hold my own with these guys. i felt like i was nowhere near their level," eve explains but, in spite of any reservations she or her would-be co-workers may have had about her abilities, ruff ryders ceos dee and waah dean were sufficiently impressed to welcome her aboard.
since signing on with the ruff ryders, eve has appeared not only on the label's own ryde or die vol. 1, but also on the hit singles "baby, you got me" and "girlfriend/boyfriend", by the roots and blackstreet, respectively. more recently, she has appeared with r. kelly in concert and makes a guest appearance on former swv member, coko's, debut release, hot coko. eve received further national exposure as part of sprite soft drink's recent kung-fu themed promotional campaignalongside fellow rap divas roxanne shanté, amil, mia x, angie martinez and millie jacksonwhich aired heavily throughout the source and soul train lady of soul awards ceremonies. her debut single, "want ya want", is receiving heavy rotation on popular video networks and displays eve's mambo (as well as her rapping) talents.
having recently released her first solo album, first lady of ruff ryders, eve is easily one of the most important rap artists of 1999. a stylish album by a female artist who writes her own material and which spans genres from hip-hop to latin, eve is nobody's woman but her own. her persona is a comfortableand long overdueblend of mc lyte/queen latifah/da brat roughneck flava and salt-n-pepa/solé/amil sensuality, which is likely to appeal to straight male rap fans, while speaking to the sensibilities of a female and gay male public. though barely out of her teens, her presence reveals that she is as comfortable on the stage as she is in her own skin. by redefining what it means to be a woman in hip-hop, eve has also defined herself as a diva.