Born to Reign

Born to Reign is the third studio album released by American actor and 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.

Born to Reign
WillSmith-Born to Reign.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 25, 2002
Recorded2000–02
GenreHip hop
Length57:12
LabelColumbia
ProducerTim & Bob, L.E.S., 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 11, 2002
  2. "1000 Kisses"
    Released: December 23, 2002
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic[1]
Blender[6]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[2]
The Guardian[7]
Q[8]
RapReviews(7.5/10)[3]
Rolling Stone[5]
Slant Magazine[9]
USA Today[4]

ReceptionEdit

CriticalEdit

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]

CommercialEdit

Born to Reign debuted at number 13 on the US Billboard 200, selling 60,000 copies in its first week.[10] On July 26, 2002 the album has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As of April 2005, the album sold 237,000 copies in the US.[10]

ControversyEdit

The album was released as a copy-protected disc, which reportedly not only prevented 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 listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Born to Reign (Intro)"1:53
2."Act Like You Know"
4:01
3."I Can't Stop"4:57
4."Jaden's (Interlude)"  0:55
5."1,000 Kisses" (featuring Jada Pinkett-Smith)
4:17
6."Willow Is a Player"
  • Smith
  • Tony Dofat
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
  • Ramon Adams
  • Theron Benymon
  • Arthur Brisby
  • Richard Poindexter
  • Robert Poindexter
  • Jackie Members
  • Ray Lewis
  • Tony Dofat
  • O.Banga[c]
3:48
7."Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" (featuring Trā-Knox)
  • Smith
  • Mark Sparks
  • Ron Feemster
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
4:19
8."How da Beat Goes"
  • Smith
  • Rico Anderson
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
  • Adams
  • Benymon
  • Brisby
  • Maurice Benjamin Cenac
  • Rico Anderson
  • O.Banga[c]
4:14
9."Block Party"
4:13
10."Give Me Tonite"
3:41
11."I Gotta Go Home"
  • Smith
  • Jimane Nelson
  • Sparks
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
  • Adams
  • Benymon
  • Brisby
  • Sparks
  • Chiarelli
  • Jimane Nelson[a]
4:31
12."Maybe"
  • Smith
  • Sparks
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
  • Adams
  • Benymon
  • Brisby
  • Sparks
  • Chiarelli
  • Erick Walls[b]
  • Jerry Allen[b]
4:07
13."Nod Ya Head (The Remix)" (featuring Christina Vidal and Trā-Knox)
  • Smith
  • Sparks
  • Feemster
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
  • Chiarelli
  • Gregg Pagani
  • O.Banga[c]
3:43
14."Momma Knows"
  • Smith
  • Curtis Wilson
  • Lennie Bennett
  • LeMar Bennett
  • Lance Bennett
  • Sauce
3:57
Total length:57:12
Notes[11]
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer.
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer.
  • ^[c] signifies a vocal producer.
Sample credits[11]

PersonnelEdit

Personnel credits adapted from liner notes.[11]

  • Annas Allaf – guitar (tracks 3, 5), Rhodes (track 5), Pro Tools engineer (tracks 6, 8, 9, 11)
  • Jerry Allen – additional production (track 12)
  • Rico Anderson – producer and programming (track 8)
  • Chandler Bridges – engineer (tracks 9, 14), Pro Tools engineer (tracks 1-3, 5, 6, 11, 12)
  • David Campbell – string arrangements (tracks 3, 5, 11, 12)
  • Rob Chiarelli – producer (tracks 7, 11-13), additional production (tracks 3, 5), bass (tracks 5, 6), guitar (track 6), engineer (tracks 1, 5, 6, 8, 11-13), mixing (tracks 1, 3, 5, 7-9, 11)
  • Luis Conte – percussion (tracks 3, 11)
  • Steve Churchyard – strings engineer (tracks 1, 3, 5, 11, 12), percussion engineer (track 11)
  • Tony Dofat – producer (track 6)
  • Brandon Duncan – engineer (track 3), Pro Tools engineer (tracks 1, 5, 6)
  • Ron Feemster – additional production (track 7)
  • Dominique Fillan – steel drums engineer (track 11)
  • Bryan Golder – engineer (track 3), Pro Tools engineer (tracks 1, 5, 8-12, 14)
  • Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein – DJ scratches (track 9)
  • Andy Haller – engineer (track 2)
  • Jerry Hey – horn arrangements (tracks 3, 11)
  • Bryon Jones – vocal producer (track 5)
  • John Kaplan – engineer (track 8)
  • Tim Kelley – producer, vocal producer, and engineer (tracks 2, 10)
  • Mar'Laina Kemp – background vocals (track 13)
  • Knowledge – additional vocals (track 2)
  • Abe Laboriel, Jr. – drums (track 11)
  • L.E.S. – producer (track 9)
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing (tracks 2, 6, 10)
  • Herb Middleton – producer (track 9)
  • Jamie Muhoberac – keyboards (track 5)
  • Derek Nakamoto – string arrangements (track 1)
  • Andy Narell – steel drums (track 11)
  • Jimane Nelson – co-producer (track 11)
  • Gregg Pagani – producer (track 13)
  • Nora Payne – background vocals (track 9)
  • Poke & Tone – producers (tracks 3, 5)
  • Herb Powers Jr. – mastering
  • O.Banga – vocal producer (tracks 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10, 13), additional vocals (track 2), executive producer
  • Rick Rock – producer (track 1)
  • Bob Robinson – producer (tracks 2, 10)
  • Sauce – producer (track 14), vocal producer (track 5)
  • Dexter Simmons – mixing (tracks 12, 14)
  • Jada Pinkett-Smith – featured vocals (track 5)
  • Will Smith – vocals, producer (track 7), executive producer
  • Mark Sparks – producer (tracks 7, 11, 12)
  • Kel Spencer – additional vocals (track 11)
  • Trā-Knox – vocals
  • Christina Vidal – featured vocals (track 13)
  • Erick Walls – additional production (track 12)

ChartsEdit

Chart (2002) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 13
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 13

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2002) Peak
position
Canadian R&B Albums (Nielsen Soundscan)[12] 98
Canadian Rap Albums (Nielsen Soundscan)[13] 53

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 237,000[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Allmusic review
  2. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  3. ^ RapReviews review
  4. ^ USA Today review
  5. ^ "Rolling Stone review". Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2007-02-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Blender review
  7. ^ The Guardian review
  8. ^ Q (9/02, p. 114) - 3 stars out of 5 - "... He pushes things on a little from 1999's WILLENIUM.
  9. ^ Slant Magazine review
  10. ^ a b c Whitmire, Margo (2005-04-06). "50's 'Massacre' Staves Off Beck's 'Guero'". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
  11. ^ a b c Born to Reign (Media notes). Will Smith. Columbia. 2002.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ "Canada's Top 200 R&B; albums of 2002". Jam!. Archived from the original on October 12, 2003. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  13. ^ "Top 100 rap albums of 2002 in Canada". Jam!. Archived from the original on October 12, 2003. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "American album certifications – Will Smith – Born to Reign". Recording Industry Association of America.