As Eve, DMX, Swizz, Drag-On & The LOX Plan A Ruff Ryders Reunion, Here’s The Scenario (Audio)

This week, the Ruff Ryders announced their reunion homecoming, planned for April. The Hip-Hop collective (which began first as a party promotions company in the late 1980s) is largely responsible for the careers of DMX, Swizz Beatz, The LOX, Eve, Cassidy, and others.

Approaching the turn of the millennium, the Ruff Ryders were in top form. The management company founded by the Dean siblings, Joaquin and Darin, along with Darin’s wife Chivon, had expanded into a full service label, backed by Interscope Records. As DMX had released three consecutive #1 albums, Swizz Beatz was becoming the hottest new producer in Hip-Hop, largely without sampling. There were chart-topping compilations and legendary tours (including one with Cash Money). At Interscope, Ruff Ryders found a new home for The LOX, who had left Puff Daddy and Bad Boy after just one LP. While they churned away at We Are The Streets, Double-R was out to prove itself with the introduction of Eve.

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Those who purchased The Bulworth soundtrack heard Eve. Back when she was signed to Dr. Dre and Aftermath Entertainment (also down with Interscope), the Philadelphia MC dropped “Eve Of Destruction,” produced by Mel-Man. While that moment did not take, her appearance on The Roots’ 1999 single “You Got Me” surely did. However, E-V-E was already running with a band of her own…the motorcycle stuntin’, 4-wheeling crew from Yonkers.

Late 1999’s Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady would debut at #1. Summer smash “What Y’all Want” was subdued compared to X and others. With Swizz hugely at the helm, the LP marked the third time a female MC topped the charts (following Lauryn Hill and Foxy Brown). Eve was here to stay. While she had swagger on her first single, and substantial storytelling on “Love Is Blind,” she had bars too. “Scenario 2000” was made in the image of the Native Tongues possé cut from earlier in the decade. With Swizz using the intro beat he rocked on “Jigga, My Nigga,” E-V-E enlisted DMX, The LOX, and fellow emerging MC, Drag-On, to bust it. They did just that, as the City Of Brotherly love product showed she was a sister who could spit.

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That album would go double-platinum. For those attending the Brooklyn reunion show, this may be a stage where Eve rips some rhymes for the first time since 2014.

While so many talented female artists were late to drop albums in crowded crews (Roxanne Shanté, The Lady Of Rage, Hurricane G), Eve was fast-tracked at Ruff Ryders/Interscope, and a keystone in the crew’s lasting impact.