It takes a lot to catch the attention of Dr. Dre, but at 18 years old, a young rapper named Eve did just that with her flinty vocals and fearless attitude. Born in Philadelphia in 1978, Eve Jihan Jeffers started singing in choirs and an all-girl group before honing her hip-hop skills in an era when MCs Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Foxy Brown were leaving their mark. After moving to New York City, the young MC with platinum-blonde hair caught the ear of Dre at an impromptu 1997 audition and soon became the sole woman in the infamous Ruff Ryders crew. This self-described “pitbull in a skirt” was no token female rapper, though. She elbowed her way to the front of the pack on DJ Clue?’s remix of DMX’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and her 1999 solo single “What Ya Want” shot to the top of the charts. She was just 21 and working in a male-dominated industry when she sent her debut album, Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady, to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was a feat only two other female rappers had accomplished. She then won a 2002 Grammy for the Gwen Stefani duet “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”, a rap/pop crossover that helped pave the way for Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. Eve has also found time to rack up an enviable list of movie and television credits, including starring in the Barbershop franchise, while continuing to be a musical force, guesting on the 2017 remix of Missy’s “I’m Better” (alongside Lil’ Kim and Trina) and releasing the reggae-inspired single “Reload” in 2019.