Willennium

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Willennium
Studio album by Will Smith
Released November 16, 1999
Recorded 1998-1999
Genre Hip hop
Length 62:33
Label Columbia
Producer Rob Fusari & Falonte Moore, Trackmasters, Kay Gee & Darren Lighty, Sauce, Rodney Jerkins & Harvey Mason, Jr., Jeff Townes, Andre Harris, Carvin Haggins, Keith Pelzer, Darren "Limitless" Henson, "Little" Louie Vega, Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez
Will Smith chronology
Big Willie Style
(1997)
Willennium
(1999)
Born to Reign
(2002)
Singles from Willennium
  1. "Wild Wild West"
    Released: May 4, 1999
  2. "Will 2K"
    Released: September 9, 1999
  3. "Freakin' It"
    Released: March 22, 2000
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[2]
Robert Christgau (neither)[3]
USA Today 3/4 stars[4]
Uncut 4/5 stars[5]

Willennium is Will Smith's second solo studio album. It was released on the heels of Smith's unprecedented success, Big Willie Style. The album was released on November 16, 1999.

Album information[edit]

The blockbuster predecessor album, Big Willie Style, disappeared from the charts only two months before Willennium after enjoying an almost 2-year chart run and selling over 9 million units in the U.S.

After such a huge hit, Willennium was received with big expectations from critics and the general public. The album was released on November 16, 1999, alongside other huge Christmas-seasoned releases. Willennium made it to No. 5 with 187,000 sales in its debut week, but was blocked by other big new releases as Korn's Issues (which debuted at No. 1 with 573,000), Dr. Dre's Dr. Dre 2001 (No. 2 with 516,000 ) and Celine Dion's All the Way... A Decade of Song (No. 3 with 302,000).[6] It was the only time Smith managed to reach the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 list as a solo artist, as Big Willie Style peaked at No. 9.

During the following "millennium-themed" weeks, the album stayed in the Top 10, but on its sixth week it fell very quickly from the charts as the Y2K interest had gone and Columbia could not produce new hits (the third single, "Freakin' It" reached only No. 99 in the U.S. and No. 15 in the UK, making it the second Smith single to fail the UK Top 3 as a solo artist after Just Cruisin' failed to make the top 20 in 1997).

The album disappeared from the Billboard 200 list on late June 2000 after 26 weeks of charting, reaching only a quarter of Big Willie Style's chart time. UK charting was similar; the album reached No. 10 and spent 30 weeks on the chart compared to the 108 of Big Willie Style. Willennium produced a new string of hit singles. The first, "Wild Wild West," was originally released earlier in the year as part of the soundtrack to the film Wild Wild West. Although the film was a critical failure, the song managed to be a huge hit throughout the world, reaching No. 1 in the U.S. on July 24, 1999. The song also reached Top 10 positions worldwide, including a No. 2 peak on the UK charts (where it was blocked by ATB's "9pm (Till I Come)".

The follow-up single was the hit "Will 2K". The song was specifically created as a party song for New Year's Day of the new millennium. It features samples from The Clash's "Rock the Casbah" and references Prince's then-timely song "1999" with the lyrics, "Now we gonna party like it's nineteen...hold up, it is." It also pokes fun at the over-hyped Y2K Bug. The song only reached No. 25 in the US chart but peaked at No. 2 on the UK charts (this time blocked by Robbie Williams's big-seller "She's the One/It's Only Us" Double-A sided single).

In the end, Willennium sold 2 million on the U.S. (certified 2xPlatinum by the RIAA on December 17, 1999) and no more than 4 million worldwide, less than a third than its predecessor. "Will 2K" ranked as No. 14 on VH1's list of the 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs of all-time. Two songs on the album "Uuhhh" and "The Rain" were co-written by the rapper Common.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I'm Comin'" (featuring Tra-Knox) Runnells, Brown, Rans, Smith, Moore, Bennett 3:54
2. "Will 2K"   Robinson, Smith, Bennett, Henson 3:53
3. "Freakin' It"   Sawyer, McLeod, Edwards, Rodgers, Smith, Barnes, Bennett 3:59
4. "Da Butta" (featuring Lil' Kim) Grey, Hanks, Smith, Jones, Bennett 2:58
5. "La Fiesta"   Puente, Smith, Haggins, Pelzer, Henson, Lynn 4:16
6. "Who Am I?" (featuring Tatyana Ali & MC Lyte) Smith, Rodney Jerkins, Daniels, Ali 4:02
7. "Afro Angel"   Dorough, Smith, Smith, Bennett 5:10
8. "So Fresh" (featuring Biz Markie & Slick Rick) Smith, Townes, Hall, Henson 4:15
9. "Pump Me Up" (performed as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince) Davis, Barrier, Griffin, Parker, Smith, Townes 4:04
10. "Can You Feel Me?" (featuring Eve) Jackson, Smith, Jeffers, Henson 3:44
11. "Potnas/Interlude"   Smith, Hutchins, Smith, Bennett 6:08
12. "No More" (featuring Breeze) Larsen, Smith 3:25
13. "Uuhhh"   Hakwins, Lewis, Smith, Bennett, Townes, Henson, Lonnie Lynn 3:29
14. "Wild Wild West" (featuring Dru Hill & Kool Moe Dee) Wonder, Smith, Fusari, DeWese 4:28
15. "The Rain" (featuring Jill Scott) Williams, Neale, Smith, Lynn, Scott, Townes 4:48
Total length:
62:33
Sample credits
  • "I'm Comin" - Contains a sample of "Runnin' From the Law" by Stargard
  • "Will 2K" - Contains a sample of "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash
  • "Freakin' It" - Contains a sample of "Love Hangover" by Diana Ross
  • "Da Butta" - Contains a sample of "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again" by L.T.D.
  • "La Fiesta" - Contains a sample of "Mambo Con Puente" by Tito Puente
  • "Afro Angel" - Contains a sample of "Figure Eight" by Blossom Dearie
  • "So Fresh" - Contains a sample of "Atabaque" by Laurindo Almeida and Bud Shank
  • "Pump Me Up" - Contains a sample of "Pump Me Up" by Trouble Funk
  • "Can You Feel Me?" - Contains a sample of "Working Day and Night" by Michael Jackson
  • "Potnas" - Contains a sample of "Friends" by Whodini
  • "Wild Wild West" - Contains a sample of "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder
  • "The Rain" - Contains a sample of "I Believe in Miracles" by Deniece Williams

Charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 27
Austrian Albums Chart 26
Canadian Albums Chart 6
Dutch Albums Chart 26
French Albums Chart 20
German Albums Chart 20
New Zealand Albums Chart 28
Norwegian Albums Chart 24
Swedish Albums Chart 35
Swiss Albums Chart 16
UK Albums Chart 10
US Billboard 200 5
US Top Internet Albums 6
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 8

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Tom Sinclair (November 15, 1999). "Entertainment Weekly review". Ew.com. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  3. ^ "Robert Christgau review". Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  4. ^ "USA Today review". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1999-11-16. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  5. ^ Uncut (1/00, p. 99) - 4 stars out of 5 - "... It's funny, sexy and wildly virtuosic... ".
  6. ^ [1][dead link]