Eve Feelin' The Pressure As She Begins Work On Third LP

'I've got to step it up,' she says.

NEW YORK — There's a calming chaos at the Hit Factory. The music is loud enough to drown out shouts, and two small dogs are running around, but Eve is at home. She has a small entourage of friends and family with her, and the noise is helping her to create.

The rap lioness is at the control boards with paper and pen, trying to conceive words for an abrasive harmony she's received from Swizz Beatz. She doesn't have it all mapped out but she knows what she has to do with her third LP. "I've got to step it up," she said Tuesday. "It has to be some other type of hip-hop."

She's going to need a little help to take it left on her new project. Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg have agreed to appear on a track, but her most crucial backup may come courtesy of some female instrumentalists.

"I plan to get a band," Eve said. "I definitely want an all-girl band. They can be diverse, they can be the same. I've never had a band. It'll take me awhile to get it together. I would like to explore it, just experiment.

"I don't know if they'll be on [my tour], but I would like to incorporate that because I'm just not a rapper, I'm an artist. Artistically, I feel like I've grown so much. I just love music as a whole. Hip-hop, I love pop, I love alternative, I'm trying to feed myself artistically."

Eve's won a Grammy ("I'm still waiting for it to come in the mail — four to six weeks I guess"), she's got multiplatinum plaques on her wall, she just finished shooting two movies, she laced a remix of Michael Jackson's "Butterflies" and she's toured the world (she calls the rap communities of Germany and France an inspiration), but still the Philly flame thrower insists she's hungrier than most rookies.

"This is my third album and I wanna do things that I would do on my fifth album, but I know I can't take it there yet," she said. "I'm more excited about this album than I was about my first. My second album was a hard project because I was going through so much. It was my second year in the game, [and I was] just trying to figure out, 'Is this really what I want?' I just was bogged down with so much stress. Now I'm focused and I'm happy."

Although Eve has a name for the new opus, she's not disclosing it until she runs it by her peeps, but she did say she plans on releasing it in July or August. She's only just started, though, recording one song thus far with producer 7 Aurelius. The track's supposed to show the world everybody needs a periodic Eve fix.

"[It's] called 'Irresistible Bitch,' " she said. "That's a Prince remake. ... It's hot. It's different, it's a dance track. It's definitely dance — it's not regular hip-hop, and I love it."

She's also enamored with beats she's gotten from Rodney Jerkins and Swizz and can't wait to lay her vocals down. "[Jerkins] sent me ... a banger. I don't know if it will be the first single, but it's definitely first-single material. Swizz has given me a crazy record, 'Party in the Rain.' It sounds like hip-hop, reggae and rock together. This beat is the craziest beat I've heard in a long time. We're trying to take it to another level with this album."