Singer Faith Evans has revealed details about her forthcoming duet album with her late husband, the Notorious B.I.G., The King & I.
Announced almost a year ago, inspired by Natalie Cole’s collaboration album with father Nat King Cole, it originally seemed like one of those ambitious projects that would never be released, something all too common in hip-hop. But today we got a release date, May 19, and a tracklisting, and it looks downright promising.
The biggest critique of Biggie’s previous posthumous work, Born Again and Duets: The Final Chapter, were how awkwardly un-Biggie so much of the project sounded.
Puffy dictating an unheard Biggie verse would be splashed over a Mannie Fresh production or alongside KoRN (!), really gave an uneasiness to both affairs, needlessly stretching B.I.G.’s legacy into areas it didn’t need to enter.
But The King & I looks to not make that mistake by only featuring Biggie’s actual contemporaries. The list includes Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Kim, Jadakiss and DJ Premier. The only outlier, Just Blaze, doesn’t seem out of place either as his work is the sound of the New York generation immediately following Biggie’s.
Additionally, there’s no smoke and mirrors about this being a full-fledged final Biggie album. Faith has been open that this will feature “popular” verses of B.I.G.’s along with new ones to paint a picture of their relationship. It’s more of a concept album, and to drop just before what would have been Biggie’s 45th birthday and just after the 20th anniversary of his death might give us a loving look into the intimate side of his legacy.
In other words, if we’re getting one love letter this year, we’re getting it Biggie-size.