What's not to love about the pitbull in a skirt? Eve Jihan Jeffers is Philadelphia's own home girl who's translated her rhymes and edgy style into Hollywood cache. Grabbing her own self-titled television show and getting the opportunity to make out with Michael Ealy when she played Terri in Ice Cube's "Barbershop," Eve's had it pretty good. As we gear up to see Eve-y Eve at the ESSENCE Music Festival on July 6-8, let's take a look back at her journey.
Eve of Destruction
Eve Jihan Jeffers was born in Philadelphia to Julia Wilch-Jeffers and Jerry Jeffers. Originally interested in singing, Eve joined a few different groups growing up, including EGDP and Dope Girl Posse. She also spent a bit of time as a stripper in her hometown before realizing that dancing wasn’t the path for her and she soon began a rap career as Eve of Destruction.
After moving to Los Angeles to pursue her MC career, she joined Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and participated in the Bulworth film soundtrack as well as rhymed on The Roots’ “You Got Me” track from their “Things Fall Apart” LP. Unfortunately, the then-fledgling rapper wasn’t receiving the attention she craved from Dre so she began to explore other avenues for her music.
After recording with DMX and the Ruff Ryders crew for a DJ Clue song, she realized this was the group for her. And in 1999, her debut album “Let There Be Eve … Ruff Ryders’ First Lady” hit shelves boasting the hit single “What Ya Want,” featuring Nokio of Dru Hill. Bursting onto the Billboard 200 Albums chart, Eve became the first female rap artist to enter at number one.
Who's That Girl?
In 2001 Eve’s sophomore album “Scorpion” debuted, touting the single “Who’s That Girl,” produced by Ruff Ryders beat miner Swizz Beatz. The second single re-connected Eve with her former label head, Dr. Dre, and the pair worked together to record “Let Me Blow Your Mind,” which was co-written by Eve’s then-boyfriend Stevie J and featured No Doubt’s lead singer, Gwen Stefani.
Grammy Award Winner
Eve won the first Grammy for a Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” featuring Gwen Stefani in 2002 during the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Early on in Eve’s career, she dated Stevie J. and almost married him according to VH1’s “Behind The Music.”
“He turned out to be my first love. We did think about getting married. He actually called my mother at like, 2:30 in the morning, and said, ’I’m gonna marry your daughter tomorrow morning’ and I was like, ‘I love him!’” Eve recalled.
Though the couple eventually split, a regrettable sex tape emerged online in 2005, depicting the pair during an intimate moment. For Eve, the word embarrassment didn’t begin to cover her feelings.
Here is the couple at the Luca Luca Fall/Winter fashion show in 2000 in New York City.
Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison
In 2002, the pitbull in a skirt released her third album “Eve-Olution,” containing the hit “Gansta Lovin’” featuring a braid-sporting Alicia Keys on the chorus. The single shot to no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the album peaked at no. 6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
Here are Eve and Alicia Keys performing during the Countdown to Kickoff: The NFL Times Square Concert in 2002.
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images
In 2003, Eve scored a UPN television series built around her as a clothing boutique owner named Shelly. The “Eve” show lasted three years and was cancelled in 2006. Here is Eve with her fellow cast members from L-R: Jason George, Eve, Ali Landry, Natalie Desselle-Reid, Sean Maguire and Brian Hooks.
Photo by Arnold Turner/WireImage
Joining the Queen of Hip Hop Soul for a duet on her sixth album “Love & Life,” Eve contributes a few angry bars on “Not Today.” Here are the pair in 2004 on the “Not Today” video set.
Following the release of “Eve-Olution,” the Philadelphia native’s fans had to be content with featured bars and film and television guest roles as Eve worked through label drama after returning to Interscope Records and beginning work on her fourth album.
Making Out with Michael Ealy
Playing Terri in Ice Cube’s 2002 film Barbershop and 2004’s Barbershop 2: Back In Business" which co-starred Cedric The Entertainer and Michael Ealy, this series was also Eve’s first on-screen kiss as an actor. And it was with Michael Ealy. Don’t you feel bad her? Neither do we.
“I was so nervous. I told him, I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s my first onscreen kiss!’ He said, ‘What are you nervous for?’,” Eve told About.com. “I’m like, ‘Because it’s my first. It has to look good.’ I was very nervous.”
In 2009, Eve returned to the big screen in the Drew Barrymore-led niche film, Whip It. As the roller derby athlete Rosa Sparks, Eve jumped over and roughed up competitors with the best of her cast, which included “SNL” alum Kristen Wiig and Juno star Ellen Page.
Sharp Dressed Driver
In 2007, Eve was charged with driving under the influence and arrested after smashing her Maserati into a cement divider on Hollywood Boulevard. Since then the MC/actress has stayed out of trouble and is working on a new album to follow her singles, like 2007’s “Tambourine.”
Here is Eve posing in London’s Covent Garden neighborhood in 2011.