Eve is currently gearing up for her first-ever performance at the Essence Music Festival, taking place this weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana. During an interview with Time.com, she turned her attention to her oft-delayed album Lip Lock, stating that she hopes to release it in the fall and that the sound harkens back to the early Ruff Ryders days.

“Not an exact date, but we’re wanting it to come out in the fall,” she said. “I wanted to really take what people loved of me and fell in love with in the beginning, with the Ruff Ryders and all of them, and combine it with where I am now. As far as my ear with music now, because I traveled so much, I think musically my ear has grown. And then lyrically obviously I think I’ve grown. Hopefully people will feel that. Hopefully my core audience won’t feel like I’ve left them behind. That was a big deal for me, to make them feel like they’re involved in my growth.”

The self-proclaimed “Pit Bull in a Skirt” expressed her frustration with being unable to release the album due to management, label and lawyer complications. While she was frustrated, she said that she’s been working on it for “a year and a half” and that the album is completed. She will also perform two or three songs at the Essence Festival.

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Eve also turned her attention to up-and-coming female emcees, praising Azealia Banks and Diamond for their looks and abilities.

“I actually really like Azealia Banks. I like her style, I think she’s really cute, I think lyrically she’s really good and she’s really different. She’s probably at the top of my list. But then there’s a girl named Diamond who is from Atlanta who I really like, just as a person and an artist, I think she’s really cool.”

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