"What Y'all Want" was Eve's first single on the Ruff Ryders label, although she had featured on a song by the Roots called "You Got Me" and released a song called "Eve of Destruction" on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. It appeared on the Ruff Ryders compilation album Ryde or Die, Vol. 1, which also included contributions from her label-mates DMX and Sheek Louch, as wells as Juvenile and Jay-Z. Eve was the first woman signed to the label, and made a statement in the song, rapping about what she's looking for in a man and what she has to offer. There were many female rappers going hard at the time, but Eve balanced her toughness with femininity and a melodic flow.
This song helped the Ryde or Die, Vol. 1 ride all the way to #1 in America; Eve also had another track on the set called "Do That S--t" and featured on the title track. A few months later, her debut album, Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders' First Lady, was released and also went to #1, giving the label three chart-toppers for 1999, as DMX' Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood hit #1 early in the year.
Nokio of the vocal group Dru Hill sings with Eve on the chorus.
Swizz Beatz produced the track, giving it a Latin rhythm; he's credited as a co-writer on the track along with Eve. Swizz was an architect of the Ruff Ryders sound, creating their distinctive beats early in his career.
The music video, directed by Nick Quested, shows Eve in a supper club setting à la the Copacabana. This was an early look at the elegant side of Eve; in 2003 she got her own sitcom on the UPN network, where she played a fashion designer.