Boasts abound on rapper/actor Will Smith's "Born To Reign," due June 25 via Columbia, but none so strong as on the set's opening title track. Set to an ominous beat, the song clocks in at just 1:51 an
Boasts abound on rapper/actor Will Smith's "Born To Reign," due June 25 via Columbia, but none so strong as on the set's opening title track. Set to an ominous beat, the song clocks in at just 1:51 and finds Smith lecturing the rap community on his choice of the path of righteousness vs. the perils of the thug life lyrics and lifestyles that have become commonplace in music.
But most of the 14-track set takes a lighter pop tone on such tracks as the Latin-leaning dance-fever number "I Can't Stop (which samples the Gypsy Kings' "R Tu Vera"), the island-tinged "I Gotta Go Home," and "How Da Beat Goes," reminiscent of one of Smith's prior hit singles "Getting' Jiggy Wit It."
A committed family man, Smith also opens the door to his clan on this set as his toddler son chats with his parents on "Jaden's Interlude," which leads into the love proclamation "1,000 Kisses," featuring the artist's wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith. He also addresses his relationship with her on the soulful "Maybe," and gives props to his mother on the album closing "Momma Knows."
First single "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" featuring Tra-Knox peaked at No. 23 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart and No. 34 on the Top 40 Tracks tally, and is No. 31 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart. The cut, based on and featured in Smith's sure-fire summer blockbuster, "Men in Black II," is also represented as a remix that features Christina Vidal. Also starring Tommy Lee Jones, "Men In Black II" opens July 3 in U.S. theaters.
Aside from the Gypsy Kings' track, "Born To Reign" also samples electronic pioneers Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" and the Persuaders' "Love Gonna Pack Up (And Walk Out). Elsewhere, the set includes "interpolations" of Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much," Newcleus' "Jam on It," Mason Williams' "Classical Gas," Sly & the Family Stone's "Family Affair," and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock' "It Takes Two."
"Born To Reign" is the follow-up to 1999's Columbia set "Willennium," which debuted at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 2.1 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.