The rapper who provided the “blueprint” for Eve
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The rapper who provided the “blueprint” for Eve

Several female rappers have etched themselves into the hip-hop history books, and Eve is undoubtedly an emcee who profoundly impacted the culture. As part of the Ruff Ryders collective alongside DMX and The LOX, Eve first exploded onto the scene in 1999 when she released her debut project, Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady.

The debut project spawned various hits such as ‘What Ya Want,’ ‘Love Is Blind’ and ‘Gotta Man’ and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and by 2000 was certified double-platinum by the RIAA.

However, most know Eve for her sophomore effort Scorpion, which boasted the Dr Dre-produced anthem ‘Let Me Blow Your Mind’. The single earned the Jersey lyricist a Grammy for ‘Best Rap/Sung Collaboration,’ and also landed the rapper and singer a VMA.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, last year, Eve took part in the BBC documentary First Ladies of Hip-Hop to acknowledge the impact of her female peers in the genre. While it recognises lyricists such as MC Lyte, Rah Digga and Lil Kim, it also celebrates the new generation of artists such as Ice Spice, Little Simz, and Doja Cat.

Speaking about Lauryn Hill, Eve (real name Eve Jones) exclaimed, “I love her to death. The Fugees as a whole were amazing, but having Lauryn there took them to higher heights, for sure. She rapped about things outside the normal, [subjects like] heartbreak and resisting peer pressure, and for a lot of us coming up with Lauryn, we felt like she was a big sister, pulling us to one side and going ‘Hey, girl, watch out, you shouldn’t be doing this!”

However, Eve also praised one of her predecessors, Queen Latifah, explaining, “Words have always been something that I’ve loved. From the time I was eight years old, I would always write poems. And that obviously turned into rapping. Rhythm and poetry – that’s what rap is.”

She continued, “Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Salt-N-Pepa – those were the women who showed me I can do this. Any time I saw them, I felt, ‘Yeah, that could be me.’ But I always felt a particular closeness to Queen Latifah, maybe because she’s from Jersey and I’m from Philly, but also because I was a tomboy when I was young. She had such a presence. Her career has been a blueprint for me in terms of longevity and versatility.”

You can listen to Queen Latifah’s most well-known hit ‘U.N.I.T.Y’ in the video below.