Faith Evans and Notorious BIG duet album due out in May

Lil’ Kim, Snoop Dogg and Just Blaze among artists set to feature on record whose release will mark the 20th anniversary of the rapper’s death

The anticipated duet album between Faith Evans and the late Notorious BIG is to be released this spring. The King and I has been described as collection of songs that tell the story of one of the most legendary love stories in hip-hop history.

Featuring newly recorded vocals from the Grammy award-winning Evans, and both familiar and unheard rhymes from the rapper – whose real name is Christopher Wallace – the album also includes cameos from some of the biggest names in rap, such as Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Lil’ Cease, Sheek Louch, Styles P and Snoop Dogg. Producers DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Salaam Remi, Stevie J and Chucky Thompson are also on board.

Evans and Wallace married nine days after meeting at a photo shoot in 1994. March 2017 will mark 20 years since the rapper was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His murder remains unsolved.

Other familiar names on the tracklist is Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mother, as well as guest stars 112, Kevin McCall, Chyna Tahjere, and Jamal “Gravy” Woolard, who played the rapper in the 2009 biopic Notorious.

“I remember telling [Voletta] years ago that one day it would be really dope if I could do something similar to Natalie and Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable,” says Evans. “Knowing the love that BIG had for Tyanna and Ceejay, I feel it’s my duty to uphold and extend his legacy, especially his musical contributions. This project is my creative reflection of the love we had and the bond we will always have. I’m elated to share this musical journey with our fans!”

Due for release on 19 May, the album’s first two singles are NYC, “Evans’ love letter to New York” featuring Jadakiss, and When We Party, “a west coast party anthem” featuring Snoop Dogg.

This will not be the rapper’s first posthumous release: Life After Death, recorded before he was killed, was released 16 days after his death, and topped the US album charts. It remains one of the few hip-hop albums to achieve Diamond certification from the RIAA. As well as greatest hits albums, the album Born Again was released in 1999, and Duets: The Final Chapter in 2005, which featured team-ups with Missy Elliott, Eminem, Jay Z and Korn.


Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

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