Faith Evans will attest to the power of the album guest appearance. The singer, who'll appear on the new DMX LP, said her spots alongside such performers as Eric Benét, Jon B. and, most notably, Carl Thomas on P. Diddy's album, allowed her star to shine despite not having a project to call her own since 1998's Keep the Faith.
"It kept me in people's minds," the New Jersey native, who's now comfortably settled in Atlanta, said last week. "I moved to another state, had two kids. It bought me time without losing an audience."
With her third album, Faithfully, scheduled for a November 6 release, Evans has reinvented herself a bit for her new video.
"It's a refreshing take on Faith Evans," she said about the Chris Robinson-directed clip for her single "You Gets No Love." "It's bright, colorful and fun. We shot the video in the Crenshaw area of [South Central] L.A., in my husband's neighborhood. It was a lot of low riders and we're in the arcade playing the pinball game. I kind of catch my boyfriend in a funny situation."
Although the singer won't disclose the whole plot of the video, with lines such as "Whatever you do, it comes back to you, bitch," in the song, you can infer that she'll exact some measure of revenge on a cheating boyfriend.
"The first single is unexpected, because I think I've been portrayed as a soft-spoken, turn-the-other-cheek [type]," Evans said. "But I'm human, I go through drama, I break."
The party song may just cause people to start breakdancing or pop-locking when they hear it. Evans said producer Michaelangelo Saulsberry, a former member of the R&B group Portrait (look for his handiwork on Busta Rhymes' upcoming Genesis as well), took it back to the old school with his beat.
"You could roller-skate to it," Evans said. "Everybody says I make roller-skating songs. It's like a funky club-sounding joint, a funky midtempo groove. It's heavily influenced by West Coast basslines."
On the song, Evans actually busts a rhyme, flipping the lyrics from the "Get Money" remix, a track by her late husband, the Notorious B.I.G: "I'm the rapper with clout everybody rap about/ Check it out/ Guns I bust 'em/ Problems with my wife, don't discuss 'em," Biggie rhymed.
"I'm the diva with clout everybody raps about," Faith spouts. "Check it out/ Rhymes I bust 'em/ Problems with my life, don't discuss 'em."
"The [song] is what some people would call a 'flip out record,' " she said. "I'm barking, I'm biting back. The concept of the song came from another story where my girlfriend told me the situation about her and a guy and I wrote about it."
Besides being inspired by her friend and Biggie, Evans said she did homework in preparation for her album.
"[Faithfully] reflects the things I've been studying over the past five years," she said. "I been studying a lot of music, a lot of singers, a lot of writers. I study every single aspect of songs now. For two months I might have studied Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan. Just rotated their albums. I might've recorded two songs at the end of that time that sounded like a song they could've done.
"That's the whole feeling," said the singer, who pointed out she has a kaleidoscope of cuts ranging from ballads to "techno-ish." "It took almost two years to do the album. It took months and months of studying the songs, going back, putting in the elements. The feel is 'Faith has grown.' That's what I hope people get from it. I just been trying to get my history together."
She also said that it sounds like her team of album trackmasters made beats together. Besides Saulsberry, Evans herself laid tracks, as did P. Diddy, his partner Mario Wynans, and Battlecat.
"It sounds like we worked in the same room at the same time," Evans said. "It's real consistent."