The series follows four 40-something women, formally part of a ’90s hip-hop group, who are now focused on reviving their careers after feeling caught up in the monotony of everyday life. And if fans notice any similarities between the actors and their characters, don’t be surprised.
The pilot episode reveals Brandy’s Naomi aka Xplicit Lyrics was caught up in a very “The Boy is Mine” type of situation and Eve’s history as the Ruff Ryders’ first lady is weaved into Brianna aka Professor Sex’s storyline.
“We just want to be as authentic as we should be,” Eve said during the show’s TCA panel on Thursday. “We’ve lived that time and we come from that time so it was something that was important to us. There will be moments from then like when people are listening to the music and they see our outfits, our hair, everything— we want them to be taken back to that time. It’s all about the authenticity.”
The series is a musical homecoming of sorts for Eve whose last studio album Lip Lock was released in 2013. The multi-hyphenate returns to her hip-hop roots in Queens, where fans will discover new tracks from the fictional girl group. But will jumping back into performing and singing convince her to release new music of her own?
Note: Swizz Beatz serves as musical executive producer of the series.
“If it was up to Swizz I would!” she exclaimed with a laugh. “And Brandy! “I can’t get away from this. The music on the show is honestly incredible. Someone asked me the other day when I would drop another album. If you’re looking for new music, the music on the show is going to feed you—trust me. But also, I am actually hoping that this will be a great way to dip my toes and my whole body back into music without having the actual pressure of an album. Like, I’ll get to have fun and be this other character and perform this incredible music. Trust me, when you hear it, you’re going to love it.”
Velazquez found herself in a precarious position as the only cast member with no background in music professionally. But with the support of her co-stars, she’s discovered she has music inside her too and she’s ready to share it.
“It was an intimidating idea but I was ready to face things that I’ve been keeping from the world,” she said. “I am musical in my soul. I am a dancer, she’s in there, and through this job, she’s finally coming out. I want to cry! The support of Naturi, and Eve, and Brandy—they give me life. I’ve had a traumatic experience in the entertainment business because I was so afraid to show so much. But I get to be all that here, kind of like my character. It’s like a second chance to become something and to redefine myself.”
Watch an extended teaser from Queens in full above.