Born to Reign


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Bob Waliszewski

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

Hardcore peers take one on the chin as the Ali star scolds rappers who glamorize drugs and alcohol, greed, hatred and empty boasting (“Born to Reign”). That track also speaks of artists’ ability to sway fans (“Young minds gettin’ gorged . . . Your mic is a syringe”). Smith salutes his baby daughter (“Willow Is a Player”), exchanges loving remarks with wife Jada (“1,000 Kisses”) and captures sweet, candid comments from his son (“Jaden’s Interlude”). “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head)” opposes evil “alien scum.” The rapper/actor recalls his mother’s parental wisdom on “Momma Knows,” which credits her with instilling solid values and faith in God. Elsewhere, Smith expresses love for his lady (“Maybe”), and looks forward to a “Block Party” that provides good, clean fun while fostering community.

Objectionable Content

This ostensibly happy husband describes his sexual interest in women he meets on “I Can’t Stop,” “Act Like You Know” and “I Gotta Go Home” (the latter finds him teetering on the brink of infidelity). Knowing that a woman is in a committed relationship doesn’t keep this charmer from pestering her for a one-night stand (“Give Me Tonight”). Mild profanities pop up occasionally.

Summary Advisory

On one rutting rap, Smith warns of “hormones pumpin’ out dangerous amounts.” That’s a real problem here. Too bad. Throughout most of this disc, the 2001 Oscar nominee has outstanding things to say. Unfortunately, they get overshadowed by prowling.

Bob Waliszewski
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