Review Summary: "Born To Reign" is a fun listen, but easily forgettable.
Will Smith has been in hip-hop long before the 90's, alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff, so he knew his boundaries. Eventually, everything would unwind for him like a perfect fairy tale. Grammy's, Oscars, MTV Awards and so on. The former Fresh Prince was at the top of his game... but that was pretty much short lived. His movies might have scored a truck-load of cash and gained worldwide success, but Will's music career went under the radar soon after. "Born To Reign" is Will's third solo album (yes, I couldn't believe he had made another 2 unheard albums). Much of the work put into this is based strongly on RnB instead of hip-hop, which tends to make Will's rhymes seem sarcastic and almost as if he had a punchline on Bad Boys. The stories are written clean, meaning the same old angel-Fresh-2-def Prince without soap to his mouth. Unlike most rappers today, he doesn't need to swear to make his point. It might catch on after a few listens, but sometimes a direct "F You!" would be nice. As I mentioned earlier, the RnB influence is massive and unmissable. The vocals are provided by Jada (not Pinkett), but will grow tired quickly.
Each song has a certain catch to it, the type you would be showing off at your school to everyone. Seriously, I'd hate to be the kid who claims to listen to hardcore rap but shows up the next day pumping Will Smith..... "Born To Reign" is easy to flow with, easy to listen to and easy to relate to because Will keeps his truthful lyrics, well, true. His lyrics are based upon many events, from the usual girls, to worldly events and family life. The beats, however, sound extremely weak and 2-dimensional at points. He may not have hit production glorification until "Lost & Found", but has done enough to keep fans happy. A few classic tracks make their appearance here, "1000 Kisses" and "Give Me Tonite" to name a few. Both have a simple tone, extremely catchy and old skool. Unfortunately, not all has been perfected. "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" is the theme song to the God-awful sequel for Men in Black, and just as bad as the movie itself. The guitar sample is acceptable, but does not live up to its predecessor song.
Every track on "Born To Reign", although enjoyable and worthwhile, doesn't have any replay value at all. One listen is enough for Mr. Smith. RnB seems to be his new style, moving away from the soundtrack music to create something that would appeal to the mainstream market. Unfortunately, his efforts are sometimes overshadowed by his peers in the genre. I would recommend you first download a few tracks before giving this album a full listen. There is enough here to keep you entertained for a few days, but not enough so that you could play it at a local club (unlike "Men in Black" or the theme song to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and be remembered throughout the generation. "Born To Reign" is a fun listen, but easily forgettable.