Faith Evans – Keep the Faith, Book Review.

Faith Evans’ relevance to hip-hop and R&B has been cut down to her being one of the original members of the Bad Boy family and her being married to hip-hop’s beloved icon, The Notorious B.I.G. Faith, or (ghost?)writer Aliya S. King, recognizes this and opens the book with the night of Biggie’s death. The prologue sees Faith showing up at a party at Andre Harrell’s house in LA after a Vibe magazine party only to be told by Heavy D, “Faith. Get back in the car. You need to get to the hospital. I think something happened to Big.” Keep the Faith constantly struggles with the fact that most people will read this book because of Faith’s connection to Big and her involvement in a number of scandals and controversies. But that’s not to say that she doesn’t have anything interesting to say.

The earlier parts of Faith’s memoir didn’t interest me much. Maybe it’s because I’m an insensitive young man, but Faith recounting her teenage experiences with her abusive drug-dealer boyfriend and her abortions were just a little too Lifetime movie-ish for me. Put it in an angry rap song and maybe I’ll be more interested. Regardless, these parts are necessary to show who exactly Faith is. An interesting piece of trivia from this part is that Faith grew up around a guy named Reggie who would later become Redman, and they dated too. Faith never goes into detail about their relationship, but Red is attributed this darling little quote: “You need me to fuck somebody up? ‘Cause I’ll fuck a nigga up for you. You know that.”

It’s also interesting to see an artist rise from singing in her church to having a number one song. Faith goes from hanging around the studio with Christopher Williams to working with Al B. Sure to writing songs with Mary J. Blige.

The book’s greatest asset is its priceless depictions of Big and Puff. Big is characterized as being a man of few words with infinite confidence. Faith first met Big at a Bad Boy photo shoot. She was looking through an envelope of pictures from a party when a fat, lazy-eyed  Biggie Smalls sat down next to her and asked, “Can I see your pictures?” Puff on the other hand, comes off as a loud and demanding boss who’s all about the money. Faith tells a story from the early Bad Boy days when some producer made the mistake of saying he had to be somewhere and Puff responded, “Did you just say you needed to get out of here? This nigga just told me he needs to leave. Do y’all believe this shit?” Puff shows a much darker side later when he screams on a mourning Faith to get her to perform “I’ll Be Missing You” with him at the VMAs.

There are plenty of great stories from the Bad Boy days: Faith picking up Usher to go to the studio and having to wait for him to finish his homework, Faith and Big going to Busch Gardens and Faith buying a wedding ring from a man named Jacob who would end up becoming hip-hop’s official provider of shiny things.

And then there’s the scandal. As Faith recalls, she was hanging out at the Hollywood Athletic Club in LA and 2Pac sent Treach from Naughty by Nature over to get them introduced. 2Pac told her he wanted to record a song with her and after she got the go ahead from Big, she agreed. The next night at another party, Pac made sure to be seen with Faith all night. Later, Pac personally picked up Faith from her hotel in a Benz to take her to the studio. Apparently, Faith hadn’t heard that Pac was signed to Death Row and became terrified at this point. Suge Knight came over and gave her a friendly hello and she was asked to record vocals for “Wonda Why They Call U Bitch” which Faith complains “wasn’t really that good.” Sorry Faith, I’m going to respectfully disagree on that one. Faith ends up going to Pac’s hotel to be paid where he tells her “This situation with the money is like this, if I give it to you, then you my bitch.” He also adds, “You know you want to suck my dick, bitch! Don’t fucking lie.” Faith runs away crying and is never paid. Despicable as Pac’s behavior may be, it’s still great to see him using his enemy’s wife for his a scheme and living up to his alias by being truly Machiavellian.

One of the frustrating aspects of Faith’s tell-all memoir is that she stops short of revealing certain details. Names are often withheld and it’s obvious she isn’t telling the whole story. There’s a producer she only refers to as Terry Dollars who she admits to sleeping with a few times who later stiffed her on some money, but for whatever reason Faith won’t give his real name.

Some bias is also evident. Faith makes sure to pull out stories about Big’s mistresses Lil Kim and Charli Baltimore whenever she can. She recalls Charli calling up after Big died and claiming ownership of one of his cars and Ms. Wallace telling Kim she couldn’t come out to LA with her when he died. Early on, Big is seen screaming at Kim, telling her she could easily be replaced by Foxy Brown.

A major problem is that parts are fishy. All too often, Faith portrays herself as the innocent party. So many incidents start off with her saying she had no idea what was going on at the time. Did she really not know that 2Pac was signed to Death Row, the biggest independent label at the time, which was run by a man that is known for beating people down and making a guy drink urine? Did nothing happen between her and Pac despite all the weed and alcohol in the room? Also, it’s impossible that all of the quotes are accurate unless Faith recorded every minute of her life. The fabrications are obvious at times; Faith has an epiphany about her life at Big’s funeral after Mary J. Blige snubs her, which conveniently gives the book a well-placed climax.

It should be noted that Keep the Faith comes before the release of the Notorious B.I.G. biopic, Notorious. Faith is likely trying to tell her own side of the story before the movie comes out and says otherwise.

For the hip-hop head, Keep the Faith may be disappointing because it doesn’t really tell the type of stories that heads like to hear. When it comes to legends, we hip-hoppers like to hear stories about Big going to Pete Rock’s house and asking to watch him make a beat (which actually happened). Faith tells us plenty about the man behind the mic, but not enough about the music. A prime example of this is when Faith goes with Big to D&D Studios where he would record “Unbelievable”. Faith writes that she later learned that Big told Premo that he was going to marry her, which is a cute story, but most would like to hear more about what it was like when the greatest rapper of all time and the greatest producer of all time were in the studio together. Keep the Faith is heavy on drama and isn’t really meant for music lovers.

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  1. DSSG

    First off, this is Faith’s memoir. It is not meant to be a biography about Biggie or Tupac, therefore if you’re expecting the majority of the book to be about these two-do yourself a favor and bypass the book. What this book is an in depth look at Faith Evans in her humble beginnings, through the midst of controversy, and her evolution into who she is today. She’s very open and honest in this book, there is no attempt by her to pass on the perception that she is perfect or that she is just a victim of the industry always being dealt a bad hand, and she’s by no means try to build a pity party for herself. She talks about alot of the things she was involved in both publicly and privately that some may or may have not known.She reveals alot about the relationships and encounters with some of hip hop’s beloved artists-both good and bad. The book has a conversational tone to it and the description of certain events will almost make you feel like you’re right back in the ’94-’96. This is book is about being human and making mistakes, overcoming trials and tribulations, and overall the process of maturing in the eyes of the public. I recommend it for any artist getting ready to pave a path in the music industry and/or any person who felt like they were carrying the weight of the world on there shoulder with no relief in sight because in reading about Faith in this book, she reveals her struggles both in and out of the industry and you really get a chance to see how much she has perservered.


    Her book was not written for hip hoppers specifically. It’s clear she is trying to help the sistas learn and grow from her mistakes.

  3. T. Jerome Williams

    I just finished reading “Keep the Faith” and I must say that this is one of the best books i’ve ever read. She not only recounts the glory and glamour, she also recalls the pain, the betrayl, and heartache. She doesnt sugarcoat anything she said that she cheated on Big during a time in their marriage when it was on the rocks. I would recomend this book to anyone. I absolutley loved it and i’ve started reading it over again. It’s very emotional I cried several times throughout it and feel that she doesnt get the props she deserves. She’s very talented not only as an entertainer, but now as an author. LOVE YOU FAITH!!!

  4. K.Wright

    I also just finished reading “Keep the Faith” I really enjoyed the book, I felt her pain as she described her life events. I am a BIG Faith fan and I would agree that she is very under rated, she is very talented and does not get the recognition like others who are not as talented. Her CD “Keep the Faith” got me through some things in my life, I wish her much success in her future endeavors.

  5. K.Carter

    I have to pick her book up — this is one that I have been waiting for. She was eerily quiet during all the mayhem some 15 years ago when a lot of this began. It would be nice to hear another side of the story for a change.

  6. natashka

    She’s only a fat, ugly baby mama. I wonder how Pac could fuck with her_ He had so many classy women! Besides, she uses narcotics, it’s so much sad… She gats older and older and fat time to time and what is the most sad, she can’t nothing do with it.

  7. ForReal

    Give the woman a break. She’s telling HER life story. BIG may have been a great rapper (not a fan) but he was obviously an adulterer (didn’t even treat his whores well) and not a great father. If Kim had any self respect she would have quit messing with BIG when he got married and especially when he moved TIffany into his New Jersey home. As for Tupac (not a fan) I’m not surprised at the viciousness he showed Faith and the calculated way that he and Suge orchestrated their attack on her reputation in an effort to hurt BIG (stupid West coast, East coast fued) and his prison sentence showed his lack of respect for women as well (he and BIG had that in common too).

  8. T. Downie

    I have read most of the book, and this shows as a fact that all the celebrities on television have it all good, some have been to hell and back. Faith made a lot of mistakes in her teenage years (as if she was not thinking), but to pull through, I read about someone who had potential and made use of it, with her God given voice. A lot of people thinks that when they make mistakes and they’re going down hill, they say to themselves its over, doesn’t make any sense they try to get back up. But Faith Evans tried to move past those mistakes and got her life on track. But I have to say F.E.W. finds love in the wrong/weird places. I loved reading this book, and to tell you the truth I don’t like to read.

  9. Dee-Dee-

    natashka needs to join a sisterhood, because all of what you said to demean Faith; shows you have deep rooted issues!

  10. jennell

    This is not bigs book its faiths it tells her life story if dnt like it y did u com on this page faith iz dope and no homo but she iz fine she dnt got time for haters

  11. rayjay

    faith is telling her life story because she wants to reach out to the fans not so everyone can judge her .we all know shes not the only victim in this book she hurt others like biggie with a basketball player. if u act nervous around someone how can you expect someone to be comtorble around you and you act like people dont like being around you. if faith did not want to do the song and she had a feeling something was going to happend then why would you even go to the studio thats just dumb

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