Trouble sells in our TMZ and Perez Hilton world of bloggers and paparazzo where we tend to applaud beautiful celebrities like Chris Brown and Lindsay Lohan who have become more famous for their shortcomings than their genius and talent.
After the 2009 assault on his then girlfriend, Rihanna, public Americana could not wait to find out what Chris Brown would do next. It was the fracas with Rihanna that catapulted Chris Brown from simply being the double mint bubble gum pop and R&B artist into an even more famous person of interest, numero uno. The media and the people it serves wanted to know: Where Chris Brown was? What he did? When he did it, and who he did it with? These were the questions of interest from his hungry for more fans and the people who love to hate him, and hate to love him even more.
What did Chris do? He retired to his studio and kept the public waiting until September 2009, when, he appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live to appease the public with information about the infamous assault. What Chris Brown also did was release his third studio recorded album, Graffiti, in December 2009, which was nominated for two Grammy awards, including best contemporary R&B album, proving that he may be famous for trouble but never lacking in talent.
Entertainment reporters, bloggers and paparazzi kept Chris’s love and hate fans clued in as to where Chris Brown would be in proximity to Rihanna, at any given time and award ceremony, in accordance to the restraining order issued against him by the court. Where was Chris? He was actually with Rihanna, as they teased the public with selfies and sound bites about their on- again off -again relationship which eventually fizzled out of public concern.
In 2011 the public lent Chris Brown their ears, and he filled them with song. He gave them exactly what they want most from him, F.A.M.E and trouble. F.A.M.E, his fourth studio album, was a sampling of his contemporary R&B and hip hop channeling. However, the troubled genius of Chris Brown shone through with his sampling of European house and techno beats with tracks such as Yeah and the masterpiece that is Beautiful People.
With the timeless track, Beautiful people, featuring Italian producer Benny Benassi, Chris Brown broke away from his contemporaries and lent himself into sampling other genres like house and techno, something his fellow music comrades would never do due to “keeping it real.” The song was definitely the “anthem” in all the clubs in Ibiza and worldwide. It’s a song that tapped into and satiated the human desire for universal acceptance. It was a good move for Chris Brown, a move which may not have appealed to his core fans, but he garnered new ones who never initially responded to his innate talent. F.A.M.E gained three Grammy nominations and won best R&B album.
As always, trouble and F.A.M.E goes hand in hand as Chris was accused of losing his temper and allegedly breaking a window after an interview where he was asked about his association with domestic abuse on the morning show Good Morning America. Chris Brown was on set to promote the F.A.M.E album. Mass media appetite was once again quenched by the alleged act of disorderly conduct, which helped Chris to top both the news headlines and the music charts which are both reliant on each other in the spin publicity world of fame and entertainment.
In 2012 Chris Brown released his fifth studio album entitled Fortune which consists of the core sentiments of R&B with tracks like Don’t Judge Me and Sweet Love. However, with the song Don’t Wake Me Up, Chris Brown did it again by venturing into the Euro-Techno–House genre. The genre where he belongs but only teases and never stays, maybe because he has to “keep it real.” The genre where fans in America and worldwide are waiting for him to fully cross over into. But maybe he does not need to fully cross over because he does any genre well.
Between Chris Brown’s album releases of F.A.M.E, Fortune and his current album called “X”, set for release this May, he has given his fans, and the people who love to hate him and hate to love him even more, the trouble they desire which makes him even more famous and talked about. He has brawled with Frank Ocean, Drake, and has thrown rocks through car windows, all allegedly. He has even done the must do of today’s world of celebritydom, he has been in court-ordered rehab, yes, yes, yes.
Yet, the most unfortunate of all is Chris Brown has found himself in jail due to failing to comply with the terms of the court-ordered rehab program. Beyond the beauty, the fame and the genius of artist and celebrities are the troubles, and Chris Brown is no exception. But he is exceptionally talented, and he has the potential to gain even more mass appeal, if his music becomes more and more explorative. Like Rihanna, Chris Brown is one of the poppy R&B entertainers that has musical grafting cross over appeal outside of what he is known for and expected to do. While the people wait, and before Brown’s next album is released, he will continue to entertain and appease the public with trouble, because trouble sells.
Commentary by Humphrey Bennett