It's a major case of déjà vu for the women of "Queens."
Eve, Brandy, Naturi Naughton and Nadine Velazquez star on the ABC musical drama, which debuted in mid-October, as the estranged members of fictional '90s hip-hop girl group the Nasty B****** who set out to launch a comeback in their 40s. For most of the members of the star-studded cast (all but Nadine got their start in music), the material hit extremely close to home.
"I'm literally reliving my life," Naturi, who launched her career as one third of the female R&B group 3LW, told the December 2021 issue of emmy magazine, which hits newsstands on Dec. 3, in Wonderwall.com's exclusive first-look.
"I actually did 'MTV Cribs.' We had to rent a house and rent cars we drove in the driveway. I have lived this experience," she said during a break from shooting a scene in which her on-screen alter ego, Jill Da Thrill, shoots her own episode of the long-running docuseries.
"It all really resonates," she continued. "Especially back in the day, there was a lot of taking advantage of young women — deals where they don't make any money, or girls fighting, pitted against each other. It's showing a lot of things in the past we were afraid to talk about."
Eve, meanwhile, noted that "Queens" doesn't just rehash the past, it also shows the way the music industry has evolved over the years — especially in regards to the way female artists are treated in the biz.
"These women are not trying to recapture the past. They are moving on from where they are now, and it's important to show that," said the rapper, actress and former "The Talk" co-host.
"Age is so different than it used to be back in the day when I was coming out," she continued. "Someone [trying to be sexy] at 40? It would be like, 'Yo, what are you doing?'"
But things are different now, said the former Ruff Ryders' First Lady, who's currently expecting her first child at 42.
"They're not trying to be kids. They're the real 'grown and sexy,'" Eve told emmy of her character, Professor Sex, and her fictional bandmates.
According to Brandy, "Queens" reflects the way the music business wears down female artists — and how they're able to reinvigorate themselves with the help of their peers.
"It's a strength in seeing us come together and doing what we think should be done our way," the "Moesha" alum, who stars as Xplicit Lyrics, told emmy. "This industry can make you stop. I've actually stopped. A few times. I've gone away and come back. But I always come back. I can speak for the other ladies [in the cast] and say that about them, too — they go hard. And I love that. We represent overcoming."
"Queens" also sees its leading ladies tackling territory typically dominated by men.
"I've always wanted to rap," Brandy told emmy. "We're rapping like men, like Nas or Biggie. It's very challenging because sometimes I get the words twisted, and it's a little tiring, but I push myself until I get it. I love it."
For more from the women of "Queens," grab a copy of the December 2021 issue of emmy magazine on Dec. 3.