The Queen of R & B is back. With more than 20 years in the music business, Faith Evan is finally giving fans what they’ve been craving since the ‘90s, a collaborative project with the late Notorious B.I.G. The album, titled The King & I, tells a story about the life that Faith shared with Biggie: from getting married only nine days after meeting, to coping with his untimely death in 1997. Ready to drop on May 19, The King & I is coming just two days before Big’s birthday and less than a year after Faith helped wrap up the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour alongside Diddy, Total, and more.
The King & I is an inherent extension of this hip-hop revival. The album’s sound is a bit of a departure from the love ballads like “Soon As I Get Home,” and dance hits like “Love Like This,” which have defined Evans' career. While her powerful voice and amazing range are certainly on display, this album is ultimately an ode to the genre on which Biggie left such an indelible mark. The beats are smooth, but fresh. We even get to hear Faith spit a little flow on several tracks.
Faith told Refinery29 that most of the lyrics from Biggie on the album are lines we’ve all heard before. But there are a few unreleased vocals from the late rapper as well. Despite have created a a duet album, Faith enlisted several other hip-hop heavy hitters to make feature appearances. Jadakiss appears on two tracks. Fellow Bad Boy artist Lil’ Cease proves that he still got it. Snoop Dogg and New York native Busta Rhymes blessed the mic for The King & I as well.
Also among those outside collaborators? Lil Kim. If you’re old enough to know the backstory of these two women, then you will agree with me when I say: What a time to be alive! Faith made sure I knew that the issues between her and Kim were resolved years ago, not last year, when they were enlisted to tour together, as I previously thought. As she told Vibe magazine, it is very "well documented" that both of them loved Big, so it felt right to have Kim on the project. Needless to say, "Lovin You For Life," the track featuring Kim, is one of my favorites on the album.
Even though Faith tells a powerful and sometimes sad story with The King & I, the album still feels good. It’s what I’m going to listen to on Sundays with the windows open while I clean my apartment. Your friends will also thank you when you take over the speakers at the cookout if this project is on your playlist. Simply put: It’s a summer banger that can heal the hearts of all of us who loved the Notorious B.I.G.
Check out our full interview with Faith, below.