Lenny Kravitz originally intended this album to be a 1970s style funk album, simply titled The Funk Album. However, at the point of near completion of the record, he changed his mind when he picked up an acoustic guitar to write the songs for the album. Having stated that songs started pouring out of him, Kravitz decided that his special project could wait. Instead, Kravitz recorded a more straightforward rock album similar to his 1989 album Let Love Rule. The album was recorded at Hotel Edison studios in Miami, Florida and also features a contribution from rapper Jay-Z on the song "Storm". "Storm" was originally titled "(I Can't Make It) Another Day" and was originally recorded with superstar Michael Jackson. Kravitz had previously played guitar on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse. Kravitz had mentioned in an interview that at the time of the album's production, he was in dispute with his record label, who did not agree with his decisions to alter his project, saying that the album featured some darker material representing his stage of depression and other problems he was going through at that time.
Initial critical response to Baptism ranged from average to negative. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 43, based on 10 reviews.
For the promotion of the album, Lenny Kravitz kicked off the Baptism tour in April of that year across North America. In 2005, Kravitz embarked on yet another tour called The Electric Church Tour: One Night Only in select cities. Kravitz also had a prominent role in the GAP campaign of 2004–2005 as he modelled for the brand and his image was used in stores across North America as a major celebrity seal. Kravitz's smash hit single "Lady" was used very heavily in the company's "How Do You Wear It?" Campaign and also filmed two commercials with GAP spokesmodel Sarah Jessica Parker playing the song to and dancing with Parker. That same year, Kravitz also announced that he was launching his own clothing line along with his other aspiring project, Kravitz Design, his own furniture and interior design firm.