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The rapstress returns

SHE’S BACK: Eve recently released her new album Lip Lock

WITH THE music industry churning out new artists at the speed of light, it will always be challenging for an artist making a comeback after a period of absence.

Eve knows this all too well – but she’s ready for the challenge. The US rapper, famed for hits including Who’s That Girl and Let Me Blow Ya Mind is back with the new album Lip Lock, her first studio release since 2002’s Eve-Olution. And though she’s been busy recording and performing since her last album release, the lyricist who shot to fame as the first lady of hip-hop collective Ruff Ryders, knows that a lot of new rappers have emerged in the past decade. And as such, she says her return to the limelight won’t see her trying to compete with any of her rapstress contemporaries.

“I don’t get into all that,” she confirms. “I’m very conscious and real about the state of music right now, and I know there have been many artists that have come out since I put out my last album, so I’m not coming back to compete with anybody. I just wanna make music.”

Reflecting on the attempts that have been made throughout the years to create rivalry between female artists, Eve says: “It’s annoying. I’ve seen things where people have tried to create a Nicki [Minaj] and Eve kinda situation, and I’m like ‘me and her are completely different!’ I think it sucks that people do that kind of thing to female artists because it doesn’t really happen to guys.

“I think a lot of the time it’s men in the industry who want to see a cat fight or want to gossip about females in the industry – guys are sometimes more girly than we are!”

Another observation Eve has made is the evolution of hip-hop and R&B, which has seen many an artist from both genres incorporating more commercial sounds – particularly dance music – in their output.

Herself keen to embrace a variety of music styles, the Philadelphia-born star says she expects some backlash from those who want her to stay true to her hip-hop roots.

“People always want to say something, but I know that if I went backwards and tried to recreate anything I did in my Ruff Ryder days, people would laugh at me! They’d be like, ‘Why’s she going backwards and pretending to be that person?’ That was over 10 years ago and everybody grows in life, no matter what they do. I know there’ll be people who might not understand my growth, but I’m confident that I’ll gain new fans from where I am now.”

She adds: “I do understand [that way of thinking] from a fan perspective, because there are artists that I like and I probably wouldn’t want them to change their style. But as an artist, it’s like Jay-Z said: ‘N*****s want my old s**t, buy my old album!’ That line is so real to me, because I think every artist has the right to express themselves the way they want.”

An accomplished rapper and actress, having starred in films including Barbershop and xXx, is Eve happy with her achievements so far?

“I am. I’m happy but I want more! As a person, I wanna help people and really make a difference. As a woman, I wanna get married and have children. As an artist, I wanna continue in music but in a different way… I think there’s a ton of s**t I still need to do!”

Well, the marriage aspiration might not be unrealistic. The rapper has been in a relationship with English businessman and founder of the Gumball 3000 brand, Max Cooper for three years – and she hints that wedding bells may ring for the couple one day.

LOVE SEES NO COLOUR: Eve with her English boyfriend Max Cooper

“Umm… we’ve talked about it,” she laughs. “We’ve been together for three years, but it’s [marriage] not something we stress about at all. For me, when that happens, I want to be more stable – I don’t wanna be travelling as much. So I don’t think I’m completely ready for that yet.”

Though Eve says life is now good for the couple, she admits that she received a lot of stick from some when the news emerged that she was dating a white man.

“Friends and family were fine, but when people found out I was with a white dude, some people really came at me on Twitter. I got a lot of hate. People were like, ‘I can’t believe you’re with a white guy, what the f*** are you doing?’ People went in. But now, it’s totally fine.”

She admits that dating a white man was a bit of a culture shock for her in the beginning.

“I’ve gotta say, even for me, it took me a little bit of time to be comfortable being out with him in my music situation, because it’s different – it’s not considered the norm. But now, everything is cool and I’m very happy.

“It’s definitely been a different experience for me, because it’s all white on his side [of family] and all black on mine,” she says with a huge laugh. “So it’s been an adjustment! I’m from Philly, I’m from the hood – and he’s from the [English] countryside. He told me that when he went to school, there was like one black kid! So it was a bit different, but it’s cool. It’s love and I’m happy.”

Lip Lock is out now on From The Rib Music

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