PQs Faith Evans & The Notorious B.I.G. : The King & I
With the 20th anniversary of her husband The Notorious B.I.G.’s death, Faith Evans releases a new album that is a compilation of duets from her and the rap legend. This album is an interesting mix of new unreleased vocals from Biggie Smalls combined with classical R&B tracks, which will be a album suited for both rap fans and die hard fanatics of the late Christopher Wallace. Faith Evans has created an illustrious career for herself over the past two decades, by cementing herself as the ‘First Lady Of Bad Boy’ records, to making chart topping R&B ballads. One song on this project that will have a familiar ring to it is “Ten Wife Commandments”, which is a remix of Biggies “10 Crack Commandments”, which has Faith focusing on being a good wife.
“’Ten Wife Commandments’ was the first song I started recording for The King & I. Excited and optimistic about the new deal and the opportunity to bring my idea to life, I started looking for Big’s acappellas on YouTube while in Detroit rehearsing with my band,” Faith Evans said. “With ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ being one of the songs I had always wanted to redo, I found it and got to work. It took a few different sessions to get the commandments to be meaningful and clever, but I do feel these are points that both men and women can appreciate.”
The 1990’s was full of not only chart topping hits for these two but also the public’s fixation on the rap industry’s high profile personal drama. Evan’s has recently joined the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, which she said had nothing to do with burying the hatchet with anyone because those wounds have long healed. This album “The King & I” was released 20 years after Biggie Small’s death, but rest assure this project was more about celebrating Biggie and Faith’s bond, then capitalising on anniversaries.
In an interview with website the dailybeast Faith Evan’s spoke on this topic saying “The fact that the album wound up being released in 2017, a year with a few milestones connected to B.I.G., it’s only because…all the music wasn’t done. I started saying I hope this project will be done at the end of 2015, or 2016. The tour came about when I was already working on the album. I was hoping I would be done with it by the time of the tour. It was never my plan to release the album this year. Once I did get the music all done and (Lil) Kim’s verse was the last feature done, I was like I don’t wanna just put the album out,” she adds. “We need to map it out, I wanna do old school promotion. It was really my choice to to push it back further. It doesn’t make sense to chase a release date.”
“Lovin’ You For Life” is a song on the album that did create some buzz in the entertainment world as it features rapper Lil’ Kim, Biggie’s famed protege and was considered “the other woman” during their peak years. Both artists have also taken part in the reunion tour and Faith says “there is no lingering animosity there at all.”
“The sad reality is that there’s a huge amount of people that obviously have that type of spirit and energy,” Faith explains. “They need to hang onto things. I’ve been let that go. Regardless of whether hers came at the same time, we’re both obviously in the same place now. If I wasn’t in the situation and a friend of mine was, I’d be like ‘girl, why are you mad at that? Let that go. That’s just negative energy. It ain’t gonna ever come back again. It’s in the past. It does puzzle me. Everybody doesn’t approach things in the same way. As far as with me and Kim,” she continues, “the tour enabled us to be around each other every day. I went into her dressing room and held her daughter. When we first met, I kinda just accepted her as B.I.G.’s artist. I sort of befriended her. But this definitely allowed us to reconnect. A lot of the other artists, we always keep in touch anyway. We’ve done shows over the years. I keep in touch with most everybody who was on the tour, minus French Montana or the people I don’t know like that.”
It was far back as the 2000’s that Faith Evan’s was talking about recording this duets album, and once things were set in motion she contacted producers like DJ Premier, Salaam Remi and Just Blaze to give the project some old school authenticity. “Once I knew they were interested in doing the deal, the album title was the first thing that popped into my mind. It sounded good and it made sense,” she says. “Before I had one vocal laid, I had the title. And it just came together so famously. I always said if I did it, one of the songs I would flip was ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ and it would be ‘Ten Wife Commandments.’ Once I got the masters and started going from state to state to work with different producers, it was just crazy. I had no blueprint for how I was going to do it. Involving the legacy of B.I.G., you initially think ‘oh my god,’ but I already know I’m not going to do something whack and not for the good of sustaining his legacy. So I was like ‘let me just go in there and be creative.’”
With the success of The Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s murder and the upcoming release of the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me, the 1990s are coming back in full swing. Evans is a huge part of that story but, unlike others, her story didn’t end there. She’s released seven albums, won a Grammy; she’s a mother and an entrepreneur. If you’re a fan of old school hip hop and want to hear Biggie brought back to life in this new century, you will no doubt be a fan of the album. With the re-insurgence of old Bad Boy label mates coming together for this project make’s you remember the good old days of 90’s hip hop. Still I feel with music evolving, I believe this LP could of been made more effective if this music had evolved with the times. Still don’t let that deter you from at least giving it a listen. My favourite tracks and highlight of the album is the song “When We Party”, if this doesn’t bring you back to the 90’s party atmosphere I don’t know what will.
“The King & I” is available now on ITunes.
“The King & I” tracklist and credits:
1. A Billion 2. Legacy 3. Beautiful (Interlude) 4. Can’t Get Enough 5. Don’t Test Me 6. Big/Faye (Interlude) (feat. Jamal Woolard) 7. Tryna Get By 8. The Reason 9. I Don’t Want It (feat. Lil’ Cease) 10. I Got Married (Interlude) (feat. Mama Wallace) 11. 10 Wife Commandments 12. We Just Clicked (Interlude) (feat. Mama Wallace) 13. A Little Romance 14. The Baddest (Interlude) 15. Fool For You 16. Crazy (Interlude) (feat. 112 & Mama Wallace) 17. Got Me Twisted 18. When We Party (feat. Snoop Dogg) 19. Somebody Knows (feat. Busta Rhymes) 20. Take Me There (feat. Sheek Louch & Styles P of The LOX) 21. One In The Same 22. I Wish (Interlude) (feat. Kevin McCall & Chyna Tahjere) 23. Lovin You For Life (feat. Lil Kim) 24. NYC (feat. Jadakiss) 25. It Was Worth It