Eve thought she would become part of a ''friendly sisterhood'' of female rappers when she entered the music industry in 1998.

The 40-year-old hip hop artist - whose real name is Eve Jihan Jeffers - was in a ''bubble'' when she started her iconic career 17 years ago, and the star has now revealed that although she never felt as though she was in ''competition'' with other women like Missy Elliot and LIL' KIM, however, the record labels would pit them against one another to try and create drama between them.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, she said: ''Before I'd met anybody, I always thought of it as this sisterhood. I thought we were all gonna be friends. It was not like that. I'd see Kim and say hi, and she'd be like, 'Get the f**k away from me.' Not verbally - you could just tell what she was thinking. But I was in a bubble and it never felt like a competition. I loved Missy and Kim but I never wanted to be them.''

The 'Who's That Girl?' hitmaker praised her former record label Ruff Ryders for not forcing her to use her sexuality in a bid to help sell her music.

Eve added: ''There definitely weren't a lot of females out there, and the labels were basically trying to make you get naked. But with Ruff Ryders, it was always, 'We like who you are, we're not going to try and change you.' ''

Eve is gearing up to release her as-yet untitled fifth studio album, her first LP since 2013's 'Lip Lock', but she is a little ''apprehensive'' about the reception to her record because the music industry has ''changed so much'' in the time she's been away.

Eve - who is married to Maximillion Cooper - said: ''I'm not as stressed about what people think any more - that's a great feeling.

''Sometimes, I'm apprehensive because the industry has changed so much. What does that mean for an artist from the time I come from - are people going to care?''