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There are four new queens in the building, and they're telling fans everything they need to know before the premiere of their new series. ET's Rachel Smith chatted with the stars of ABC's Queens -- Eve, who plays Brianna aka Professor Sex, Naturi Naughton, playing Jill aka Da Thrill, Brandy, who portrays Naomi aka Xplicit Lyrics, and Nadine Velazquez, playing Valeria aka Butter Pecan.
The new drama follows four women looking to recapture the fame they achieved as the '90s hip-hop group, Nasty B*tches. Having been estranged for about 20 years, the four must work to regain the swagger they had as the iconic group that made them legends in the hip-hop world. And from what we've seen so far, it's safe to say the women get that swagger back in spades.
"Music is my first love so, to be able to be a part of a show that is representing women empowerment and a '90s legendary group -- that's never been done before," Brandy said, explaining what drew her to the series. "I felt like I could relate to my character Naomi, you know, being a single mom, trying to balance [everything] even though she doesn't do a good job at it. I did a way better job at it but, balancing going after her dreams and having to raise a young daughter, that is something that I can relate to and I just loved it."
"And the script was a page-turner -- I expressed every emotion as I was reading and I just couldn't say no to it," she added.
Nadine was on a similar wavelength, although she admitted that it was her first experience rapping. "It was something that I've never experienced, reading a pilot that just felt so good you know what I mean? It read so good, it felt so good, I could see it, I was inspired by it, I was gitty about it, and I couldn't even believe that it was being presented to me," she said. "It all kinda came together so magically too."
The cast's resident rapper and First Lady of Ruff Ryders fell in love with the concept during a conversation with Zahir McGhee, creator, writer, and executive producer of the series. "We talked about it first, then I read the script and I was like 'How did he do this?' It was so good and I loved my character so much that I was like, I want to be a part of this," she recalled.
"It's funny because if someone had just asked me, 'Would you want to be in a show about a group of rappers from the 90's?' I probably would've said no based off the question because we come from that era and it's a big deal for it to be authentic and amazing and he's done such a great job, it's great I love it."
Naturi Naughton, whose experience as a former member of the girl group 3LW makes her perfect for her role, admitted that she was excited about working with the women on the cast, especially since she was a longtime fan of Brandy and Eve.
"I was actually just talking about how organic it was [at] our very first dance rehearsal. We were all like, 'Girl where have you been all my life," she joked, recalling how she met castmate Eve on TRL 20 years ago. "I've always honestly admired Eve and this girl feels like the big sister I always wished I had, so it's pretty amazing. I've always admired [Brandy's] music so I was like, I want to be down for real! And obviously Nadine came into this without a musical background but she's killing it and so I felt really organically connected with these women."
The chemistry between the women makes the big moments onscreen even more dynamic. When the women reunite decades after they broke up, they reclaim the power, independence and confidence that they've lost since they separated. It's a theme that was enticing to Brandy, who noted that despite women being more present in the hip-hop game nowadays, it hasn't always been a safe space in the past.
"There was a time where only like one woman would be celebrated as a hip-hop artist, as a rapper, so it's so great to see four women in a group as hip-hop rappers," she stated. "I've never seen anything like that and it made me feel so good and it brought me to a time where my very first single that I remix[ed] and I wanted to have rappers on there. I got Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and YoYo to be a part of it and I remember loving that moment. So to have this everyday and do this everyday with four women and this music with Swizz Beatz, I'm like, yes."
"Yeah I think it's important because hip hop is so huge and has grown bigger than anyone could have ever thought but, as much as that's important, it's important to see it from a women's point of view," Eve added. "That was another thing that I thought was so incredible, because a lot of times when we see hip-hop stories, it's men, and to have these women get into battles with each other -- we really are spitting real amazing lyrics, we are lyricists in the show -- it's such a special thing to have that women’s point of view. It's amazing it really is."
The rapper went on to note that not only is the music engaging but the dialogue is "on point" when it comes to conveying the real trials and tribulations that women in hip hop face when breaking into the industry and making their mark. And although the foursome is divided on whether the show will ever make it to Broadway musical status, they look forward to seeing how fans respond to their onscreen magic.
"We feel very lucky that we have the chemistry that we have and that we were able to come together as a group for the show and kill it the way that we're killing it," Eve said.