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Ataraxia

So... I Was Listening to 'Born to Reign' Today in the Car...

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... and thinking to myself, "This is probably the weakest album Will Smith has ever done." Don't get me wrong, it's not a horrible album, but by Will's standards it's incredibly underwhelming.

I think the biggest problem with the album is Will seems to be trying too hard to experiment with a variety of different styles, such as Latin and Reggae. Respect to him for attempting to go in new directions -- during the time Willenium came out and shortly after, it was fashionable to hate on Will Smith, so you can understand his desire to try something new -- but it just doesn't work.

'Willow is a Prayer', especially, is horrible; as is the 'Nod Ya Head' Men in Black II theme tune.

It's disappointing 'cause the intro track, 'Born to Reign', lyrically holds up as one of Will's best tracks. I also find 'Block Party' and 'How Da Beat Goes On' quite decent.

What does everyone else think?

Edited by Ataraxia

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The opposite, one of his strongest for me

The most laid back, care free album that Will has ever done

He's so chill his really singing in lots of parts of it, the best he has since "Rock the House"

The lyrics are well developed, perfected

Even the weak spots, Nod ya head, Willow is a Player, blend into the album

He isn't desperate to craft a hit as he was in Lost and Found

There are no forced lyrics in Born to Reign, his flow is perfect

The beats blend perfectly with his rap, unlike Lost and found

Its his most daring arguably, and his most artistic album, and his most musically noteworthy

To me, on equal footing with He's the DJ I'm the Rapper"

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The CD is actually in the CD changer in my car. I actually don't know why LOL

The best track lyrically on the album is "Born to Reign." How the hell was this not a full song? I'll never understand. But I def agree, there's some great tracks like:
Act Like You Know
How Da Beat Goes
Give Me Tonite <-- fav
Block Party <- ehh at best

but then theres some real crap like
Willow is a Player
I Can't Stop
Maybe

and I remember around the time the album was released, I think Will said he had like 40 songs. Wow...there's gotta be way better.

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i'm actually one of the few people that actually likes "nod ya head" better than the original "men in black" theme, will rapped with a lot of energy on that track, the album itself isn't as bad as some make it out to be, i actually got some good memories to that album playing it my senior year of high school and thinking about the girl i met that year

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i love "maybe" too, it really touches you if you're in love with somebody

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I've talked about this album 1,000 times. I wish I could find one of my old posts so I could just copy it and paste it here...lol.

Just some thoughts on the album..."Born To Reign" is a dope track. The lyrics are great and the subject matter means more now than it did in 2002. That beat was good but not convincing. Something about it was missing to me. I think it was something in the mixing. The thing that sucks is that it has nothing to do with the rest of the album. It kinda sets up a mission statement for the project but then it goes into experimenting and laid back, mature tracks. "Act Like You Know" was what I was thinking the whole album was going to sound like. Just straight Hip-Hop with a radio friendly vibe. "I Can't Stop" is one of the most hated jams but I don't mind it. I love his energy, the guitars are addictive, and the horns just add a unique flava. I think part of the reason I like this is because I saw him and Jeff perform this live along with "Act Like You Know." "1,000 Kisses" is great to. I love the retro feel that comes from the heavy Luther Vandross sample. Jada sounds good to it and the video was great. If only they hadn't waited MONTHS to release it, it probably would have been a hit. The slightly re-worked version for the music video with the break down was even better than the album version. "Give Me Tonight" is easily one of my favs. The guitar sample and the beat are perfect, not to mention the subject matter. "How Da Beat Goes" is just a old school inspired classic. FP is right at home on that joint and I think most people find it hard not liking that joint. "Willow Is A Playa" is just a fun song; the lyrics are funny and beat it really interesting. It doesn't fit on the album, but it's fun. "Gotta Go Home" is crazy creative with the island vibe and horns. I love the lyrics...I could relate to a lot back when the song was newer. I've never hated on "Maybe"...it's not a Hip-Hop joint...it's poetry to music. Period. "Block Party" is a staple on the album as far as I'm concerned. I just love Hip-Hop with the soulful laidback vibe. It's somewhat of a "Summertime" follow-up. Anyone who is over 25 and lives in an urban area can relate to ever word of the song. "Nothing On My Mind" is a great example of how experimenting can lead to something great. Nothing about the beat really screams "Hip-Hop" but but his unique flow and classic FP-style lyrics are a perfect combination. "Nod Ya Head" and it's remix messed up the flow of the album. They don't fit and should have been left off the album. Columbia was hoping the cross promotion would help the album but it didn't. MIIB should have had a proper soundtrack including these songs because the soundtrack to the first movie is CLASSIC. The MIB2 Remix is the best version of "Nod Ya Head" and you could only get that on an import CD single. Also from that era was the "Hey Sexy Lady" remix by Shaggy featuring FP and Sean Paul but only the version without FP's verse got properly released.

All in all, Born To Reign stands out as album all its own. I give him props for experimenting with the sound but I wouldn't mind hearing the album remixed with a more traditional Hip-Hop sound. I think Tra-Knox was a great group and added flava to the album but the didn't need to be on EVERY soon. I wish their album came out because I don't think Born To Reign let them do what they do best. On top of, FP was ON the album and we've never heard the music they did together. This album represents a time when FP was showing maturity and growth in a not-so-usual way. I must say this album gets most play from me during the Summertime. I remember getting up crazy early the morning it dropped. I was really sick but when out to buy it when Circuit City opened. Then I realized that the Best Buy version had "Nothing On My Mind" as a bonus track and drove out of town to buy a copy there...lol.

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"Momma Knows" is a great song for mothers

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