If you want a spot on the Ruff Ryders team, you better be prepared to battle for it.
Eve is a legend in the game, and though her career has since carried her elsewhere (she's got new music on the way), her story is lined with fascinating anecdotes and milestones. She made sure to share many with Luc Belaire CEO Brett Berish, detailing some of her experiences with Dr. Dre, the Ruff Ryders, and more.
"My first ever deal was with Dr. Dre," reveals Eve, reflecting on the beginning of her iconic career. "His right-hand man came to Philly, and my managers at the time were the local drug dealers. My homies. They called me and was like, 'we got Dre's right-hand man' coming in town, we just taking him around. But, you gonna act like the weed girl, cause he want some weed.' I was like, alright cool. But what the hell I do when I ain't got no weed. He was like 'we just gon' put on some music, you start rapping.' And that's what happened."
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"We got to this house," she continues. "I stood up. They put a tape in, and I started rapping. He was like 'the fuck is happening.' He thought I was selling weed, he was like 'where's the weed?' Then he finished listening to me, letting me rap, and he called Dre right there. He was like 'yo, I think we found our girl.' That next weekend, I was in LA doing a demo for Dr. Dre. It was nuts. But then I got dropped, eight months later, and was back in Philly." She laughs. "It felt like shit, it felt crazy. I had this big going away party, I was in this condo, I had all this money, I was eighteen...And then they dropped me."
Luckily, Eve's buzz could not be ignored, and it didn't take long for the emcee to bounce back. "I got another call, like 'yo, you need to go up to Yonkers. Tonight. Ruff Ryders, they might want to sign you, but you gotta go battle for it. So I went up to Yonkers, and they put me in a cypher. I basically battled for my life." Upon emerging victorious, she went on to ink a deal with Ruff Ryders afterward. "If you get another call, you gotta be ready. Period."
"I always call Ruff Ryders my hip-hop boot camp," she continues. "I was in the studio longer than the dudes. I was writing, I had to prove myself to them. Quickly, it flipped from these remixes I was on to 'you need to do an album right now.'" When asked who was consistently standing in her corner, Eve shouts out Darin Dean and Joaquin Dean (the founders of Ruff Ryders), Swizz Beatz ("that's like, my brother"), Drag-On, Infra-Red, DMX, and The Lox. "This was my crew. Period," she maintains. "These guys really treated me like a baby sister." And even though Eve ultimately found herself dropped by Aftermath, she still made sure to keep ties with Dre alive; the good Doctor laced a pair of beats on her sophomore project Scorpion, as well as two on her follow-up Eve-O-Lution.
Check out the full interview, and pay respects to a Ruff Ryders veteran - that in itself should be worn like a badge of honor.