She’s a singer, songwriter, budding businesswoman (as one of the owners of Pedigree M.G.I., she manages former 702 lead singer Kameelah Williams) and, as her current hit single, “You Gets No Love,” shows, a closet rapper. On the song, Faith Evans says some rhymes once spat by her late husband, the Notorious B.I.G.
“The fact that I quoted his lyrics on the single was definitely … for one, I was having fun,” she said. “I’m always sitting around rhyming. So my friend dared me to rhyme on the record. She was like, ‘You know you need to go ahead and do it.’ I don’t really be serious. I just start flowing. So I was like, ‘What am I gonna say?’ She was like, ‘Say some of Big’s rhymes. He’s the illest’ ” (see “Faith Evans Flips Biggie, Studies Ella Fitzgerald For Faithfully“ ).
On her album Faithfully, Evans also sings about Biggie on “Alone in This World,” where she pays homage to him by sampling his song “Who Shot Ya?”
“When I heard the track I couldn’t write nothing to do it,” she said. “I was so happy to have that track, I was like, ‘Oh that’s hot. Everybody gonna love it.’ ”
After letting P. Diddy find a songwriter for the beat, she added some of her own lyrics to make it more personal. “I’m sure the lyrics were definitely drawn off of my experiences with B.I.G.,” she admitted. “I wouldn’t say word-for-word it’s autobiographical. The theme of it definitely reflects back to the fact that we were married. And actually my [current] husband thought it would be a great idea.”
Evans’ spouse, Todd Russaw, who is also one of Faithfully‘s executive producers (see “Faith Evans Gives Men So Much On New Album” ), didn’t think that it was such a good idea for her to have an early morning meeting with DMX to discuss their first reteaming since Faith appeared on X’s remix to “How’s It Going Down” in 1998.
“The first time we worked together [DMX] wasn’t there, it was just like I came in to re-sing the sample on that remix,” she explained. “But this time it was interesting, to say the least.”
It wasn’t that Russaw had anything against X, but as Faith recounts, Dark Man woke her up when he came barking at her hotel at four o’clock in the morning to woo her for The Great Depression‘s “I Miss You,” a cut honoring his late grandmother.
“I was dead to the world asleep, out like a light,” said Faith, who sings the hook and ad-libs on the track. “He was calling, and Todd was like, ‘Man she’s asleep like for real. What do you want me to do? She asleep.’ [DMX] was like, ‘No, you don’t understand, like I gotta talk to her. I want her to totally understand my whole vision.’ ”
“He was so passionate about that song,” she continued. “And I see why, after I heard it and realized it was to his grandma. He told me ‘If you don’t sing it I gotta sing it myself.’ [In the studio] he told me every melody to sing, ‘Sing this line over.’ He was really in there producing me, whereas normally I pretty much produce myself. I mean, sometimes Puff might have a little idea of how he wants me to sing a line, but for the most part I usually decide how I sing my vocals.”
Evans said her following will get to see exactly how she carries each note of her tunes up close next year — a tour across the U.S. is in the works.