Faith Evans and the late great Notorious B.I.G.’s duet album, The King & I is finally here. After months of hype, the new project hit retailers on Friday (May 19) and gave Hip Hop fans the chance to listen to Biggie once again. Ahead of the LP’s, the “queen” of the equation stepped into the #DXHQ to talk with Editor-In-Chief Trent Clark about the unique collaboration and much more.
The R&B diva reflected on the life of her late husband, her experiences during the 20th anniversary of his death and her nonchalant attitude toward the 2Pac’s infamous diss track “Hit ‘Em Up.” Evans also delved into the new album, including her reasons for putting out another Biggie project.
On using familiar vocals and previously unreleased verses from Biggie
“I knew that I was gonna do something totally different anyway, even if it was a song that was previously reworked. Number one was to work with the stuff that I had. Secondly, we were also able to acquire some unheard verses like the ones that were originally Big’s references for Lil Cease and Lil Kim. So, I know nobody’s ever that unless they were in the studio when he laid ’em down. Even the stuff that’s familiar, like you said, the way I reworked it. My plan was to just do something creative and my Faith Evans interpretation of it.”
On sustaining Biggie’s legacy
“It’s a blessing to [have] been a part of his life. Not only is he just incredible, to see how 20 years later people that didn’t even know him personally like we do, it seems like their love for him exudes the same way. I’m attached to a huge legacy. It’s also my responsibility as the coexecutor of his estate to do what I can to extend his legacy tastefully and in ways that make sense. That’s my job.”
On the delayed release of The King & I
“To be quite honest, I had plans for the album to be released last year. It wasn’t ready in time. And when the music was ready, I just felt we needed a better plan and setup so I could go tell people about it. So with it falling into 2017, of course, it would make sense to [release it in March or May] knowing that there were certain milestones this year. But I didn’t want it to be around the death anniversary. So I’m like, if anything, I’d rather it be around his birthday than March.”
On what listeners should expect from the album
“I can’t say you better like it, but I know I always stay true to the music my fans wanna hear from me. But I know that I stretched myself creatively in that I was working with Big. He had his whole separate legacy [and] set of fans. So, I wouldn’t say I was challenged, but every day when the songs started coming out better and better, obviously I’m not the only one liking it. I’m very proud of the album. And to be honest, there were a couple of times toward the ending of recording the album that I felt like Big kind of tapped me on my shoulder and told me he was proud. All I can do is just hope that people receive it and get into the story of it. [They] are able to hear it from beginning to end and appreciate the comedy, the humor, the tears, the laughter, all of that stuff. It’s my creative expression of our love.”