I remember the 90’s when Mary J. and Faith hit the scene. I was in high school and college. I dyed my hair blonde and cut it short, not realizing that singers used weaves to change their looks and keep their hair healthy.
I can’t say I could relate to a lot of these ladies’ songs, but I loved their music. You could really feel what they were singing (probably in part because of what they were experiencing personally while writing and performing these songs back in the day). In the mid- to late- ’90s, I had only had two boyfriends, and with that, had experienced only a little heartbreak, a lot of drama, but no love.
I like that Faith Evans opens her book, Keep the Faith, with a prologue that says that she had a life before and after her relationship and marriage to Biggie. We knew very little about it before this book.
I heavily associated the thought of Faith with Biggie whenever I saw her on TV or read about her. I always just thought of her as his wife and a singer. It’s not like the latest hip hop couple Jayonce, where both Beyonce and Jay-Z have had healthy careers that began long before their union.
So reading Faith’s memoir was eye opening. I was able to relate to her lack of assertiveness as a girl, her feistiness in defending her territory (Big), being somewhat sheltered in her upbringing, and then coming into her own as a full grown woman. In her book, she is candid and honest about her lack of thought in beginning intimate relationships, and most of us have been there.
Faith takes us from her upbringing in Newark, NJ, to her years as a young teen, finding herself pregnant many times, but trying to pursue her dream of singing. You get to see her as her own person before anyone had ever heard of Biggie. She pulls no punches (pardon the pun) about her affairs and abusive relationships, as well as Biggie’s escapades and demeanor about it all. She mentions beating down quite a few women along the way, which I never heard about before. And I never knew she smoked weed. She didn’t portray that image.
She also sets the record straight about matter such as how long she and Big were together before their wedding (two months, not nine days), and what really went down with Tupac. It was disheartening to read about how he and others put her through a lot without paying her for her work. But all the haters had to shut up when her first son CJ was born looking like a straight-up light-skinned version of Biggie.
The tone of the book is conversational and matter-of-fact, not unlike Pepa’s book (see my previous review, “Let’s Talk About Pep”). It’s as if Faith is sitting across from you on the couch telling you her story. She only talks about what she saw, knew, and experienced. It doesn’t seem to me like she took sides on the controversial matters we heard about in the Bad Boy heyday– she just tells it like it is. And she didn’t make excuses for anyone’s behavior. She appears to have gotten past her issues with Lil Kim, Mary J., and Missy. She doesn’t hold grudges.
I was hoping that Faith would end her book discussing what she’s been up to in recent years, but she left that pretty vague. I was thinking maybe she would mention an upcoming album (with fewer ballads), but she doesn’t give much detail there. We’ll have to wait and see. I can only assume she is living her life peacefully as a mother and a wife. Hopefully, she will re-emerge soon with more good music, and step out of the shadows of Biggie and Bad Boy Entertainment once and for all.