Will Smith Drops Samples For Guitars On Born To Reign

Follow-up to 1999's Willennium due June 25.

There's apparently still a little Muhammad Ali in Will Smith, who accepted

his Best Actor MTV Movie Award last week in the voice of the boxing legend

and later talked about his new record with equal confidence as "The

Greatest."

"I don't want to gas it up, but it's definitely the best album that I've

ever done," Smith said backstage at the ceremony (see " 'Lord Of The Rings,' Nicole Kidman On Top At MTV Movie

Awards"). "I think people are going to be really surprised, the

direction that I decided to take."

Like the first single, "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)," the rest of

Born to Reign finds the former Fresh Prince rapping over guitars

rather than simply catchy beats.

"I was keeping it old-school on all of my previous albums," Smith explained.

"Hip-hop records have always historically been sample-driven. With this

album I just went away from all of the samples. It's live instrumentation,

but we processed the instruments to give you that sample sound. It's a

strange sound and it's incredible."

Born to Reign, Smith's follow-up to 1999's Willennium, is due

June 25, eight days before the "Ali" star's next film, "Men in Black 2,"

hits theaters.

The video for "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)," a tie-in to the highly

anticipated movie, was recently shot by Francis Lawrence (Aerosmith, P.O.D.)

(see "Will Smith Stages Biggest

Intergalactic Space Concert Of All Time").

"It's the first intergalactic concert. It takes place in a space station in

deep outer space," Smith said, diving back into "Ali" mode. "The video's

insane, if I can say that humbly. The video is incredible. That's where I

think I really hit a home run, with the video."