In 1995, Bad Boy Records was the hottest new record label in the game. The previous year saw releases by Craig Mack (Project Funk da World) and the Notorious B.I.G. (Ready to Die) put the imprint that Sean "Puffy" Combs birthed on the map. During those 365 days, Bad Boy would dominate east coast radio and the clubs, making it nearly impossible to ignore the noise their music was making.
It would also be the year that Puffy would branch out into r&b, tapping a young vocalist named Faith Evans to be the first singer to release an album on the label.
Born on June 10, 1973 in Florida, Faith began singing at the age of two and would participate in numerous talent shows as a teenager. Continuing to hone her talent by performing with a myriad of jazz bands, Faith would relocate to Los Angeles following a brief stint in college to work with Al B. Sure. That experience would turn out to be her big break after piquing the interest of Puffy, who immediately put her to work on material for albums by Mary J. Blige and Usher while crafting her own debut from scratch.
Released on Aug. 29, 1995, Faith was the culmination of years of work put in and was a hit with the public. The collection boasted hip-hop-inspired production and Faith's soulful voice and stellar songwriting. Her debut album would sell over 1.5 million copies, setting the foundation for future Bad Boy R&B singers and establishing Faith as a budding star.
Twenty years later, we revisit this fantastic album and pinpoint the five standout tracks from the LP.
"Ain't Nobody" is a light, drum-heavy track where Bad Boy's First Lady rides the loop with finesse and turns in a steady vocal performance. Produced by Chucky Thompson and Sean Combs, Faith sings of a love that she can't ignored. "I was always the one who needed some affection then you opened your heart to me / Now I'm falling in love and I can't get enough of your love," she croons. Faith keeps the love momentum going singing on the bridge, "When you hold me in your arms, I get this feeling / Feel me with your love, can't nobody love me like you, boy / Cause you give me all your love / Ain't nobody who can love me like you do. "Ain't Nobody" is among a hot streak of singles from her debut effort.
Sensuous thoughts abound on the slow-burner, "Come Over." Co-written by Faith Evans and Floyd Howard, the song features a lusty Faith yearning for a little quality time in the bedroom. Co-produced by Chucky Thompson and Sean "Puffy" Combs, the beat is powered by hollow snares, keys, light cynths and makes sure a soundbed that is sure to induce an erotic mood. "Won't you come over and make love to me / 'Cause I haven't seen you in a while, really miss ya' smile / Oooh," she coos. Faith proves she's not to proud to beg on the seductive single.
"Give It to Me" is one of the superior offerings on Faith that is sonically sleek and sexy, with Chucky Thompson and Puffy working their magic behind the boards yet again. "See, I can't give up on the way that you give it to me, give it to me / No, I can't give up the way that you give me ya' love," she sings on the hook. Written by Faith herself, lyrics like, "I been wondering how I can give you all of my love and open up the doors of my heart / But I don't understand your way of thinking / Can't help the way I feel down inside, the love I feel for you I can't hide" are delivered with a subtle passion that permeates throughout the duration of the song. "Give It To Me" may not have been serviced to radio, but it's an outright masterpiece.
"Soon as I Get Home" is a potent, yet smoothed outnumber that sees Faith lamenting her shortcomings as a lover and companion. Lines like "Sleepy nights and lonely days are all that fill my head all the time / But all I do is think about the way you make me feel because this love is so real," expresses her lovelorn feelings effectively before repenting on the hypnotic hook. The ballad, which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, stands as one of the most endearing songs in Faith Evans' discography.
June of 1995 was a big month for Faith Evans. Following an appearance alongside her husband on the remix to his Ready To Die album cut, "One More Chance," as well as the accompanying music video, Faith made a splash of her own by releasing her debut single, "You Used to Love Me." Written by Faith and featuring Chucky Thompson, Puffy concocted a track while fiddling around with a sample of EPMD's "You're a Customer." The song gave Faith her first top five single on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "You Used to Love Me" is a flawless song from the album that defines quality.