Hip-hop's Eve talks about her movie and album. We preview her breakthrough role in ''Barbershop'' and her guest-star-laden new ''Eve-Olution''
Eve, Teen Choice Awards
Credit: Eve: Jen Lowery/London Features

Not that there’s much competition, but dyed-blonde Philly native Eve is a shoo-in for the title of hip-hop’s most elegant female (well, despite recording such songs as ”Gangsta Bitches”). Now the 23-year-old rapper is on the verge of wider fame, with her third album dropping Aug. 27, and her first major movie performance (in the comedy ”Barbershop”) reaching theaters September 13. Characteristically, Eve, who also had a small role in ”XXX,” has plenty to say about her new projects:


After managing a move towards pop without damaging her street cred on 2001’s ”Scorpion,” Eve has packed ”Eve-Olution ” with even more ear-snagging R&B hooks, plus nods to electro, new wave, and other bygone genres. ”My ear for music is a little different that it was on the first and the second albums,” says Eve, explaining her increasingly melodic sound. ”I just love music. I get bored with just drums, you know? I listen to so many types of music, so I like to take what I hear and put it into my hip-hop.”

The album doesn’t have a rock-friendly collaboration like Eve’s ”Scorpion” duet with No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani. But it has more than its share of R&B and hip-hop guests, including Truth Hurts, Alicia Keys (who pops up on ”Gangsta Lovin,” already a top 10 hit), and Snoop Dogg. Truth Hurts, best known for her exotic recent hit ”Addictive,” lends her sultry, grown-woman moan to the chorus of the album’s opener, the Dr. Dre-produced ”What.” On the same track, Eve displays classic hip-hop bravado, spitting in a fierce staccato flow: ”You can love Eve, hate Eve — I don’t care… Tired of my voice? Plug your ears.”

Eve, who also worked with the formidable Dr. Dre on the slow-burning new track ”Satisfaction” (one of several songs where she ably sings the chorus herself), says that the producer is a fierce taskmaster — in fact, he once dropped her from his label. ”With Dre, it’s an experience in itself. You go in with him, you know you’re prepared to work, because that’s his life,” she explains. ”We have a love-hate relationship, but we make really good music, which is all that really matters anyway.”

The ever-mellow Snoop Dogg, meanwhile, unleashes his trademark pimped-out flow on ”Hey Y’all,” while the track’s crooned, P-Funk-style chorus comes courtesy of his cousin, Nate Dogg. A less famous rapper — Teflon, better known for his work as a producer — duets with Eve on the potential single ”Figure You Out,” giving the track the sexy male/female interplay of some of LL Cool J’s hits. Meanwhile, the breakup anthem ”Let This Go” includes a nod to Jay-Z’s ”Girls, Girls, Girls,” and finds Eve singing nearly as much as she raps.

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