Born to Reign

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Born to Reign
Studio album by Will Smith
Released June 25, 2002
Recorded 2001-2002
Genre Hip hop
Length 57:12
Label Columbia
Producer Tim & Bob, DJ Quik, Jerry Allen, Rico Anderson, Rob Chiarelli, Tony Dofat, Ron Feemster, Herb Middleton, Jimane Nelson, Greg Pagani, Poke, Rick Rock, Mark Sparks
Will Smith chronology
Willennium
(1999)
Born to Reign
(2002)
Greatest Hits
(2002)
Singles from Born to Reign
  1. "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)"
    Released: June 25, 2002
  2. "1000 Kisses"
    Released: December 23, 2002
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
Entertainment Weekly B−[3]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[4]
Q 3/5 stars[5]
RapReviews (7.5/10)[6]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[7]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[8]
USA Today 3/4 stars[9]

Born to Reign is the third solo studio album released by American rapper Will Smith. The album was released on Columbia Records in the United States on June 25, 2002 and was considered a drop from his previous level of success, having only reached Gold status by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), whereas Big Willie Style and Willennium both reached multi-platinum status. This album includes "Black Suits Comin'", which was also the lead single from the original motion picture soundtrack of Men in Black II. The album also spawned the European hit single "1000 Kisses", which features vocals from Smith's wife Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic gave the album a four star rating, claiming: "It'd be inaccurate to call Will Smith's third album the musical equivalent of Ali -- a bid for artistic credibility from an artist so assured and smooth, it's been easy to pigeonhole him as merely a pop artist -- but given the range and harder edge on Born to Reign, it's hard not to think of it at first. Make no mistake, this is not as serious as Ali, nor is it a record whose first intent is to enlighten and educate. It's a fun, pop-leaning record, much like his first two records, and never is it afraid to return to the sounds and styles that brought the former Fresh Prince big hits, but among comfortably familiar jams, Smith stretches his legs. Some of the hip-hop hits harder; there's a touch of reggae; he even appropriates a bit of a Ricky Martin vibe on "I Can't Stop." It's a small but significant change, and while it doesn't result in a record that flows as effortlessly, or giddily, as Willennium, it's easy to appreciate the effort to stretch, because even if all the experiments aren't necessarily successful, however, sometimes, the idea is better than the execution, it does reinvigorate the Smith signature pop-rap sound, apart, oddly, from the theme for Men in Black 2, "Black Suits Comin'," the only cut in this vein to fall flat, and results in another solid record from Smith. Maybe not as consistent as its predecessors, but still enjoyable in its familiar turf, while provoking admiration for its ambition, even when it's not always satisfying. Not a bad way to stretch."[1]

Controversy[edit]

The album was released as a copy-protected disc, which reportedly did not only prevent the contents of the disc from being copied, but froze users' computers after they attempted to listen to it via their CD-ROM drives. This resulted in complaints of lost computer files due to the album's protection element.[1]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Born to Reign" (Intro) Rock, Smith 1:53
2. "Act Like You Know"   Hutter, Iverson, Kelley, Rambert, Robinson, Schult, Smith 4:01
3. "I Can't Stop"   Barnes, Deplata, Iverson, Olivier, Reyes, Reyes, Smith 4:57
4. "Jaden's Interlude"     0:55
5. "1,000 Kisses" (featuring Jada) Barnes, Hepburn, McClain, Olivier, Pinkett-Smith, Smith, Vandross 4:17
6. "Willow is a Player"   Adams, Bennett, Benymon, Brisby, Dofat, Poi, Smith 3:48
7. "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" (featuring Tra-Knox) Bennett, Feemster, Smith, Sparks 4:19
8. "How Da Beat Goes On"   Adams, Anderson, Bennett, Benymon, Brisby, Smith 4:14
9. "Block Party"   Ginyard, Iverson, Lewis, Middleton, Payne, Smith, Stewart 4:13
10. "Give Me Tonite"   Adams, Benymon, Brisby, Iverson, Kelley, Robinson, Smith, Williams 3:41
11. "I Gotta Go Home"   Adams, Bennett, Benymon, Nelson, Smith, Sparks 4:31
12. "Maybe"   Adams, Bennett, Benymon, Brisby, Smith, Sparks 4:07
13. "Nod Ya Head [The Remix]" (featuring Christina Vidal & Tra-Knox) Bennett, Feemster, Smith, Sparks 3:43
14. "Momma Knows"   Bennett, Smith, Wilson 3:57
Total length:
57:12
Sample credits
  • "Act Like You Know" - Contains a sample of "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk
  • "1,000 Kisses" - Contains a sample of "Future Now" by Pleasure
  • "Block Party" - Contains a sample of "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
  • "How Da Beat Goes" - Contains a sample of "Jam on It" by Newcleus
  • "Give Me Tonite" - Contains a sample of "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams

Charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
position
Certification Sales
U.S. Billboard 200 13 Gold 237,000
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 13

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Allmusic review
  2. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  3. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  4. ^ The Guardian review
  5. ^ Q (9/02, p. 114) - 3 stars out of 5 - "... He pushes things on a little from 1999's WILLENIUM.
  6. ^ RapReviews review
  7. ^ Rolling Stone review at the Wayback Machine (archived February 16, 2007)
  8. ^ Slant Magazine review
  9. ^ USA Today review