Twenty years on from Notorious B.I.G’s unsolved murder, his wife, Faith Evans, is about to drop a new album created in his memory that tells the story of their life together.
‘The King & I’ is a 25-track record featuring newly recorded vocals by Faith melded with vocals by Biggie Smalls ranging from well-known tracks to unheard rhymes.
The iconic duo famously met at a photoshoot in 1994 and were married just nine days later, making their whirlwind romance infamous.
‘The King & I’ has been a long-time coming with Faith saying she started recording the album more than two years ago.
“I started recording the album a little over two years ago. But it was a long time ago when Natalie Cole came out with that album, ‘Unforgettable’, about her dad when I said I wanted to do something like that. But it was just a thought and I didn't really move on it until a couple of years ago,” she said.
When putting the album together, Faith was given a collection of vocal tracks to work with and then decided what she would or wouldn’t use. Within the collection were tracks she’d never even heard before.
“They also had the masters for Junior Mafia and Lil Kim’s stuff,” she explained.
“I was able to use some of Big’s demo vocals from when he did some vocals for some of their songs; which I knew nobody, including myself, had heard any of his rapping vocals for them.”
‘The King & I’ also includes an impressive list of guest appearances by rap royalty like Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim, Snoop Dogg and more. Faith said that initially she intended the record to just be a duet project but as she started working on it she could here the need for certain voices here and there.
“There were a couple of people I had in mind, but to be honest, the whole thought of it was being about him and me doing a duet thing. Initially I didn’t think I was going to have as many features as I do but then as I got recording and creating the songs, some of them just felt like I could hear [someone] on this one.”
The record hasn’t even been released yet and Faith is already thinking about what album she’s going to work on next and has also been tied up working on her biopic based on her memoir.
“I have a few more albums that I already know I want to do; which one I’m going to do next, I’m not quite sure. I’m working on a biopic based on my memoir so I don’t know, it might be the soundtrack for that but I don’t know.”
Although Faith is able to uphold Biggie’s legacy with this album, unfortunately it hasn’t helped her to achieve any kind of closure.
“That would only really come when they implicate someone,” she says.
“But that wasn’t my purpose for doing the album. To be quite honest, aside from it being something that I always wanted to do and I approached the opportunity and it came together so easily, it’s my duty to extend his legacy and I didn’t approach it with that in mind.”
‘The King & I’ will be released 19 May, just two days before Biggie’s birthday.