Lenny Kravitz Ditches Funk, Feels Reborn On Baptism

Rocker says recording seventh LP felt like the very first time.

Rocker Lenny Kravitz has been recording music for 15 years, but his upcoming album, Baptism, will be his first LP ever — at least, that's how it feels to him.

"When I was making this record, I had the feeling I did when making Let Love Rule," he said recently, referring to his 1989 debut album. "And I thought, it's a blessing to be in the game for 15 years and make my first record again, or what feels like my first record again."

Baptism, due May 18, will actually be Kravitz's seventh studio album, and his first since 2001's Lenny. Kravitz says he intended this disc to be a colorful, '70s-style funk record, but his plans changed when he came to New York last October and started writing new songs on a friend's acoustic guitar. The result was a simple, more straightforward rock album with little frills. "It's really come full circle for me," he said.

Kravitz will film a video for the first single, "Where We Runnin'?," shortly. Sources familiar with the production of the video said the rock star's first casting choice for the video was actress Natalie Portman. She declined because of a work conflict, so Kravitz has set his eyes on Scarlett Johansson.

Whomever Kravitz casts, he'll still carry clout within the hip-hop community. He recently recorded the song "Show Me Your Soul" with P. Diddy, Loon and Pharrell of the Neptunes (see "P. Diddy, Pharrell, Lenny Get Down And 'Dirty Like Aguilera' For Video"). He appears on the song "Maybe" on the new N.E.R.D album, Fly or Die. In 2002, Kravitz played guitar on the song "Guns & Roses," from Jay-Z's album The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse.

Jay-Z returned the favor by dropping a verse on the song "Storm," the first time Kravitz has ever included an MC on any of his songs. "It was a great experience," he said. "It was very nice of him to reciprocate and be on my record."

Both Kravitz and Jay hail from Brooklyn, New York, so it's no surprise Kravitz was supportive of Jay's involvement in bringing the New Jersey Nets basketball team to Flatbush Avenue (see "Nets Accept Bid From Jay-Z Group; Brooklyn Move Closer"). "Brooklyn Nets! I think it's going to be great," Kravitz exclaimed. "Brooklyn's finally going to have a team. It's going to be cool."

Kravitz said he plans to complete his funk album after touring behind Baptism.

Baptism track list, according to Kravitz's spokesperson:

  • "Minister of Rock 'N Roll"

  • "I Don't Want to Be a Star"

  • "Lady"

  • "Calling All Angels"

  • "California"

  • "Sistamamalover"

  • "Where We Runnin'?"

  • "Baptized"

  • "Flash"

  • "What Did I Do With My Life?"

  • "Storm"

  • "The Otherside"

  • "Destiny"