Last updated: 06/07/2011 12:00:00 PM
Philadelphia's Eve Jihan Jeffers got her first break in the record business the way many rappers go platinum -- she walked right through the front door. The story goes something like this: Some of her friends (who now serve as her managers) hooked up with producer extraordinaire Dr. Dre and arranged an impromptu audition for Eve -- well, kinda,...they never told him that she was coming. "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?'," recalls Eve. Liking what he saw after only a few bars, the executive cut the audition short and promised to bring Eve to California to work with the good Dr. -- Eve was not impressed.
"I had been through a lot of auditions," she admits, "so I thought, 'If he calls, he calls; if he don't, he don't.' But he called the next day - I had auditioned for him on a Saturday and that Sunday he called and told me I had to be out there by Friday."
Eve moved out to L.A. Dr. Dre put her in the studio, where she completed a three songs demo tape. "Eve of Destruction," one of the songs from those sessions, wound up on the Bulworth Soundtrack. Unfortunately, Dr. Dre was still overseeing the growth of his fledgling label, and Eve's one-year contract with Aftermath expired before she could get to work on her album.
"I believe that everything happens for a reason," says a pragmatic Eve. "The music that I really wanted to write at the time wasn't coming through me."
While still in L.A., Eve forged a bond with a rising star named DMX, who she met through producer Mail Man, while X was in town promoting his debut album, It's Dark And Hell Is Hot. When she moved back to Philly, Eve would come to New York and hang out with the rest of the Ruff Ryder's camp. Soon enough, Eve was invited to join Ruff Ryders Records through a trial by fire. "The way I was signed was in a cipher," Eve remembers. "I had to go up against [Ruff Ryders emcees] Drag-On and Infa Red - I was shook. If I was wack, Ruff Ryders wouldn't have signed me."
The fact that you're reading this let's you know she wasn't wack. If you're still not convinced, check her sexy yet hardcore appearances on the Roots' "You Got Me," the remix to "Ruff Ryders Anthem" from DJ Clue?'s The Professional and BLACKstreet's "Girlfriend/Boyfriend" - not to mention her work on Ryde Or Die, the Ruff Ryders' compilation album. Her verses are affirmations of self, recognition, and braggadocio rhyme skills. "I know who I am now and where I wanna take myself and what I wanna show the world," she says.
As early as third grade, Eve was winning school merit awards for her short stories, plays and poems. "I had a real good imagination," she assesses. In her early teens she was part of a 5-girl singing group, covering tunes by En Vogue and Color Me Badd. Around the time Michael Bivin's ABC came out, the group's manager suggested they start rapping.
Known as Eve of Destruction, she excelled at rhyming, graduating from cafeteria battles to "stomping all over" Philly's talent show scene and serving as opening act for local rap concerts as part of a female emcee duo named EDJP (pronounced "Egypt") -- all this is before the prominence of the female emcee. "Now, it's more like rapping is the thing right now," Eve observes. "Before, when I was in high school, it really wasn't big -- especially for girls to be rapping."
"I would really like my stage name to be just Eve," she says noting that many people refer to her by the moniker she carried while laying her hip-hop foundation. "Certain people still call me Eve of Destruction. I don't mind it 'cause I'm still her -- I'm still destroying emcees."