Faith Evans says she has been working with Voletta Wallace — mother of the late-great Notorious B.I.G. — to celebrate the rapper’s legacy in a forthcoming duets album that she teased about in a 2014 interview with Hip Hollywood. Titled The King & I, the project was addressed by the singer when she recently appeared on the Dame Dash Radio Show to offer an update. She said that it’s in the “finishing stages” and that she’s in “development with a hologram [company],” to resurrect a virtual version of the rap legend that will first be seen in the music video for the lead single off her upcoming Biggie duets album.
“I had no idea how I was gonna even go about it but it’s been coming along pretty awesome,” Faith said. “If he was alive, I know we would’ve done something like this but the way it’s coming together, the way I’m using his vocals, it’s just giving his stuff new life. I think people are gonna really enjoy it.”
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Evans became the first female artist to sign with Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment in 1994. She released three platinum-certified studio albums between 1995 and 2001, as well as a 1997 Biggie Smalls tribute single featuring P. Diddy and the band 112 titled “I’ll Be Missing You.” That won Evans a Grammy Award in 1998. When asked of her performance plans with this latest LP, Faith said she’d love to use Biggie’s “Humagram” on the recently announced Bad Boy reunion tour, set to take place over two nights in May, though that remains unclear.
“We actually are in development with a hologram [company] but I don’t necessarily know to what extent I’m going to perform with it but I definitely want to debut it probably in the first video for the album and maybe use it a little bit performance-wise but that depends on a lot of things.” She also said, “If this Bad Boy [reunion] tour ever really happens, that might be something we might consider and if I was to go on that tour, of course, I’d use it but just not over-use it.”
Evans married Biggie on August 4, 1994, and the turbulent marriage ended with his murder in an unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. Billboard reports that Biggie’s family is collaborating with Los Angeles-based Augmented Reality Holographic Technology (ARHT) to bring his image to the stage and to feature in music videos.
“We have a very sophisticated transmission technology for beaming these digital humans through the public internet to literally any point on the planet,” ARHT CEO Paul Duffy told Billboard. “These digital humans can scale to any size of venue so it can be in a window display, your living room or it could be in a 50,000-seat arena for a real-time delivery and display of this human hologram, that we call ‘Humagrams.'”
Faith Evans Teases Notorious BIG Hologram, Says Duets Album Is in ‘Finishing Stages’https://t.co/wbbfv1GdYt
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“This project has been a long-time coming, and it is very special to me,” Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace, told Billboard. “Words can’t even capture how elated I am for the world to finally see my son again on stage and beyond. Christopher’s impact and legacy will not only live through his past work, but also the new experiences which have been made possible through ARHT Media.”
Big’s “Humagram” marks ARHT’s first foray into the rapper hologram world. Other MCs to live-on through the technological craze are, Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Chief Keef.
“After seeing all the technologies out there, I realized right away that ARHT Media would be the best partner to bring back Notorious B.I.G.,” Evans told Billboard. “I look forward to continue working with them and presenting the world with his Humagram in both video and stage format, through the release of my album The King & I.”
Prior to his death, The Notorious B.I.G spoke about his feelings for Faith in many interviews. Evans intends to use these interviews on the duets album. “I’m not trying to re-do what Puff has already done and have a gang of features, just the right ones that make sense but there’s other creative ways I can intertwine people that knew him and actually have stories to tell about him,” she said.
[Image courtesy Mark Lennihan/AP]