Having one of the most ethereal set of pipes in the industry, Faith Evans’ impressive discography has generally been greeted with an unfair dose of skepticism.
Irrespective of carving a lengthy recording career spanning over almost 2 decades – Evans’ name would forever be overshadowed by that of her late ex-husband, the Notorious BIG.
Evans, aka The First Lady of Bad Boy Records, arguably remains one of the most prolific R’n’B/Soul vocalists of the 90’s and early 00’s, and while her contemporaries like Mary J Blige, Monica and Brandy have outlasted Evans’ commercial reign, the Grammy-winning Evans’ sizable chunk of chart smashes – mostly under-rated and rather under-appreciated – have been instrumental in shaping the sound of 90’s Soul.
Surprisingly, Faith’s studio albums – all 5 of them released over a period of a decade and a half – have consistently debuted within the top 5 of the Billboard R’n’B/Hip Hop Albums Chart, three of them being certified Platinum and one Gold, irrespective of Evans releasing each album after a prolonged break away from the spotlight.
My fave albums by Faith would be the raw ‘Keep The Faith‘ – her stellar 1998 sophomore album released after the murder of the Notorious BIG, as well as 2001’s ‘Faithfully‘ – her last album for Bad Boy Records before their split in 2003, and easily one of the highlights of the year.
The Grammy nominated ‘Faithfully‘ was released during an insanely busy year for R’n’B/Soul – Alicia Keys had arrived with her critically and commercially hailed # 1 début smash ‘Songs In A Minor‘, Mary J Blige achieved her biggest critical and commercial success at that point in her career by releasing ‘No More Drama‘, Janet Jackson ruled the global charts with her Grammy winning # 1 smash ‘All For You‘ – while artists like Jill Scott and India Arie were making waves with their foray into Neo-Soul.
Irrespective of being released along with such elite competitors, ‘Faithfully‘ – Faith’s 3rd and most accomplished album till date – stood out as one of the most powerful Urban-R’n’B albums of the year. While the sassy first single ‘You Gets No Love‘ heralded the arrival of a confidant and ambitions Evans, it was the jazzy soul-tinged mid-tempo second single ‘I Love You‘ that became the album’s biggest hit, propelling the album sales to over a million units in the US alone.
Faith’s honeyed and deliciously raspy vocals are stellar on ‘I Love You‘ – possibly my fave Faith Evans song along with ‘Love Like This‘ – and her yearning and longing for her lover is quite palpable. Ironically, the song was co-written by Jennifer Lopez for her hugely successful ‘J.Lo‘ album, but eventually went on to be recorded by Faith instead. The sultry ballad also introduced a sexier and toned Faith in the Matthew Rolston-directed clip (Faith had always been on the heavier side – and totally comfortable about it).
‘I Love You‘ peaked at # 2 on the Billboard R’n’B/Hip Hop Singles Chart, and at # 14 on the Hot 100 – eventually spending a commendable 21 weeks on the charts!
This one’s for your baby-making playlist! Commence cuddling and snuggling right away!
Check out Faith Evans heating things up with ‘I Love You‘ right here :