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Forever Eve

MusicFeature.inddForever Eve

Philly’s first lady grows up, matures.


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The last time PW talked to Eve was back in 1999 when the then-20-year-old first lady of Philly hip-hop released
her debut album Let There Be Eve, and she was the poster girl for Philly’s neo-rap sound and swagger.

Eight years, almost four solo albums
(her forthcoming Here I Am, set for release this week, was just pushed back to 2008), five movies and three seasons of her own sitcom later, Eve says she’s grown up and mellowed out. Once the West Philly girl known for getting into trouble on the block, or running up to the Bronx for a stint dancing in a strip club, the grownup Eve is mature, polished and glamorous. But don’t be fooled—this Hollywood honey remains a feisty Philly girl at heart.

Let’s hear about the new record—what’s it sound like, and why the delay?
“I love the stuff I did—it just made more sense to go back and do some new stuff. I want it to reflect the two singles [‘Tambourine’ and ‘Give It to You’ featuring Sean Paul] that already came out. I’m going back in with Pharrell and Swizz [Beatz]. I’m not doing 16 new songs—I’ll probably do only four new [singles] and take away some songs I already had. I think people will be surprised. I love this album. It’s definitely me, but it’s a more mature me. I do a lot more singing than I ever have, and a lot of the beats are more melodic than they probably ever were.”

When you first came out you represented everything Philly—the look, the sound, the swagger. How’s that’s changed?
“Without Philly I wouldn’t be me, period. I’ve definitely grown up, I’m definitely more mature, and I definitely don’t live the things I used to live on the block in Philly. So a lot has changed, but as far as me being a Philly girl, any city I go to, people are always like, ‘I can tell you’re from Philly—Philly girls are so feisty.’ I get that all the time. And it’s true. No matter where we move to, it never grows out of us. You’ll still always be Philly.”

Where in the city were you raised?
“I grew up down 46th Street, down that way in the projects. We called them Down Bottom. Then we moved to 52nd and Wyalusing. When I was about 14, we moved to Germantown and I stayed there until I was 18, and that’s when I moved to New York.”

What were you like as a kid growing up in Philly?
“I was one of those kids who got into everything—all kinds of shit. I was always the class clown, always getting in trouble. I got into a lot of stuff, but I never brought none of my rah-rah stuff in the house around my mother. I’m still scared of my mother.”

Do you have many friends left in Philly?
“Not a lot. I never kept a lot of friends, though. But I do have a few good friends [in Philly] from, like, seventh grade.”

Do you stay in touch with other Philly rappers?
“You know what’s funny? I don’t really talk to [other Philly artists], but when we see each other it’s all love. When you see somebody from Philly, you feel like you’re home. So I’ve seen Cassidy out, ?uestlove … from time to time we bump into each other, but I don’t talk to anybody on a regular basis.”

With all the violence in Philly right now, do you have warm thoughts about the city?
“It’s sad, really sad. And they’re so young it’s ridiculous. But like I said, Philly is me. I can’t imagine growing up in another city. I must admit, though, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and I knew staying in Philly was not going to help me accomplish that. But without living in Philly and being from Philly, I wouldn’t have had the drive to accomplish it. So Philly is my home. It made me.”

Party girl or homebody?
“I definitely go out but I do love my couch and my DVD players and my three dogs. If I’m traveling, I like to get to know the city or country, like, ‘What’s the hot shit here?’ But if I’m in L.A., I like to be in my house.”

How’s your clothing line Fetish coming along?
“We’re relaunching it. We’re keeping the name Fetish, but it’s gonna look more grownup and mature. The fabrics are 100 times better than they used to be. It did well the first time—our accessories did really well—but I think we missed the ball on the clothing aspect, the fabrication. The quality wasn’t up to par at all.”

What do you think your 30s will be like?
“I’ll be 29 in November. I really think 29 is an unfair age. I think you should go from 28 to 30; 29 is just prolonging the inevitable. Hopefully I’ll be in a relationship and if not on my first child then at least with somebody I’m talking about that kind of future with. As far as my business, I see my future being in movies or TV or acting—for more stability, especially at 30. But who knows? I’ve definitely had plans before and they’ve definitely become something else.”

Any plans while you’re in town?
“I always feel like I’m not in Philly if I don’t hit South Street. I have to hit South Street—even for five or 10 minutes—just to say I was home.”

Red-Carpet Party
Thurs., Oct. 18, 9pm. $35-$50. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. www.worldcafelive.com

Powerhouse 2007
Fri., Oct. 19, 6pm. $9.99-$69.99. With Kanye West, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Akon, Soulja Boy, Cassidy + more. Wachovia Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 215.336.3600. www.comcasttix.com