Germantown’s hip-hop and style superstar drops her fourth album, Here I Am
Lest anyone suspect our favorite gritty and well-inked rapper, Eve Jeffers, is caught up in her newfound status as an actress and style icon, consider this: When Exit Interview asked about the New York Times proclaiming, “Not since Diana Ross has a soul sister had such a supreme effect on mainstream fashion,” it was the first she’d heard about it. Eve checked in to hype her new album, and took on everything from her recent legal problems to James Bond and Osama bin Laden. And the boob tattoos, of course.
You used to call yourself the “pit bull in a skirt.” Now it’s more like “Labradoodle in Gucci pumps.”
What happened to the old badass Eve? She’s still there. I’m 29 years old, though. You have to grow up, evolve. But without the foundation of living in Philly, being that girl, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am.
It’s like Eve-olution.
[pause; crickets chirping] Basically, yeah. I’m just happy I’m not from anywhere else. When I go to different places, the first thing I get is, “Oh my God, you can tell you’re from Philly. You’re so feisty.” Philly girls just don’t like to take shit.
Did you see some rag called us the ugliest city in the country?
Yeah, I heard about that! I think it’s horrible, number one, and number two, a lie. C’mon, I’ve been to some cities on the road and didn’t see one pretty girl. I’m not going to name names. [laughs]
I respect that you still show off those paw-print tattoos on your chest. Has anyone tried to change your image or push you to laser those bad boys off?
My tattoos are an accessory. I wouldn’t be me without them. I’ve had conversations with people who don’t like them — my mother would like me to stop. [laughs] I just got a new tattoo on my lower abdomen, a Sanskrit symbol that says “love,” and “tria,” three, my favorite number. I’m not done. But they’re gonna go on places where if you’re not special, you won’t see it.
You’re best known for rap, but on the new album, you sing for the first time on “All Night Long.”
I went back and put a rap on it because I couldn’t take it. [laughs] But I love it. It’s not like Alicia Keys or Mary J. Blige singing, but I’m having fun with it.
Was it intimidating to take on a Lionel Richie classic?
“All Night Long”?
No, that’s not Lionel Richie, it’s just the name of the song. [laughs] No, no, no.
You’ve also done some acting, including a role in The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon. Did you two trade hometown stories?
No, but he’s great. I was definitely star-struck. It’s like, “Shit, get in the scene!” I did a movie with Daniel Craig [the latest 007] last year, and I was like, “Goddamn, this is Daniel Craig!” He’s the quintessential sexy man. I told him, “I’m so happy you’re not an asshole.”
You made news with a DUI conviction last year. What lessons did you learn from that experience?
It was a dumb thing I did. I drank, I drove, it was stupid. People get pulled over for that kind of thing all the time. Of course, my name got people talking, because I’m a celebrity or whatever.
You also had an ankle monitor for 45 days. Did you ice it out?
[laughs] I actually did think about putting Swarovski crystals on it, trust me. But I didn’t want to glorify it. In some ways, I’m happy I had that time to reflect. To have something restricting you from being free, that’s something to think about. You call yourself a grown-up, but you have to be responsible. I learned a lot.
A brief time-out for a serious question. What do you say to those who think that hip-hop contributes to the culture of violence in this city?
Is there a lot of hip-hop that’s ridiculous? Yes. Is there some that if I had children, I wouldn’t let them listen to it? Yes. But I was just having this conversation with my mom — they say it starts at home, but some of these homes are so messed up. Some parents try to be their child’s best friend instead of teaching them right from wrong. That’s not hip-hop’s fault.
So what else do you have planned for 2008?
My clothing line, Fetish, is relaunching in the spring.
The Philadelphia Daily News said the line was originally called Bombshell, but you changed it to avoid any Iraq connotations.
Hell no! [laughs] A company had the name, and they were charging me too much to buy it from them. [laughs] Wow! I am so not that girl, in a politically correct way.
It’s not like it was Osama by Eve.
Right! A lot of the designs actually came out of my closet. It’s sexy, grown-up. I’m excited.
Do you need paw-print tats to pull it off?
No. But you can buy a t-shirt with the paw prints on it. [laughs]