Chris Brown needs no introduction as he is most certainly a rap/hip-hop/R&B/pop and cultural icon. Chris Brown has been churning out hits since 2005 and there seems to be no stopping him now, or ever. Although the talented singer, songwriter, dancer and actor’s name has been associated with some buzz-worthy headlines, both good and bad over the past years, there is no denying that Chris Brown is definitely a household name and has even been compared to having matched the dancing and musical abilities of Pop Music Icon himself, Michael Jackson.
The Virginia native soulster also proved that he can transcend and blend genres through his ability to play to the best elements of both the rap, R&B and pop musical genres.
Chris Brown has also created a standard in rap, R&B, and pop music that no one else has seen or been able to challenge.
Christopher Maurice Brown was born on May 5, 1989, in the small and rural town of Tappahannock, Virginia. His mother, Joyce, is a former daycare center director, and his father Clinton, is a corrections officer at the town’s local prison. Brown also has an older sister, Lytrell.
Music was a huge presence in Brown’s life beginning from his childhood. His love of music started when he would sneak around and listen to soul albums that his parents owned, which eventually led to his interest in the hip-hop scene.
Brown also learned to dance and sing when he was little and often cites Michael Jackson, who he is often compared to as far as matching talents, as a big source of inspiration. He began to perform in his church choir and in several local talent shows to showcase his developing artistry.
Rise to Fame
People began to take notice of his vocal talents when he mimicked an Usher performance of “My Way” during a talent show, which his mother also recognized, and thus they began to look for the ways in which they could get a record deal for young Brown.
Although Brown’s career was looking promising at this time, things weren’t going so great at home. While looking for a label to sign him, Brown’s parents had divorced, and his mother’s new boyfriend would terrify the young Chris Brown by subjecting his mother to domestic violence.
At 13, Chris Brown was discovered by chance by a local production team, Hitmission Records, when a representative visited Brown’s father’s gas station while scouting for talent in the area. Lamont Fleming from Hitmission coached Brown, and the team arranged a demo package which they then approached their contacts in New York to seek a record deal. Tina Davis, the senior A&R executive at Def Jam Recordings, was extremely impressed with Brown when he auditioned for her in New York and she was really impressed and instantly introduced him to Antonio “L.A.” Reid (the ex-President of Island Def Jam Music Group) who offered to sign him that day. Reid is known for having said that he knew Brown had real talent and just knew he wanted to be part of it. With Reid on board helping to shape Brown’s career, there was nothing stopping his success now.
Negotiations with Def Jam continued for two months, however, Tina Davis had unfortunately lost her job due to a corporate merger. Brown, still wanting Davis onboard as part of his team, asked her to be his manager. Once Davis accepted, she promoted Brown to labels such as Jive Records, J-Records, and Warner Bros. Records. During this time, Brown attended Essex High School in Virginia until early 2005, when he moved to New York to pursue his music career.
In 2004, Brown signed to Jive Records and then began recording his first album, Chris Brown, sometime in February 2005. By May, Brown had recorded 50 songs and had chosen 14 of those tracks to make the final cut of the album. Brown then worked with several prominent producers and songwriters such as Scott Storch, Cool & Dre, and Jazze Pha. Brown was also able to add some input on the album, receiving co-writing credits for five of the tracks. The whole album took less than eight weeks to produce.
Released on November 29, 2005, the self-titled Chris Brown was then released in November 2005 and eventually found its way on the Billboard 200 in the number two spot. Chris Brown was a relative commercial success at this time and sold over two million copies of the album in the United States, where it was certified two times platinum by the RIAA with three million copies worldwide
The album’s lead single, “Run It!”, made Brown the first male act since 1995 to have his debut single reach the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, which would later remain on for four additional weeks. Three other singles, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)”, “Gimme That” and “Say Goodbye” all peaked within the top twenty on the same chart.
Brown eventually released a DVD in June 2006, Chris Brown’s Journey, which was a backstage look of the ongoings of his career at the time which included his travels to England and Japan in addition to him getting ready for his first Grammy Awards. Later in August, Brown decided to further promote his first album by beginning his going on the road for his first major tour, The Up Close and Personal Tour.
In April 2007, Chris Brown was the opening act for Beyoncé on the Australian part of her The Beyoncé Experience tour. After ending his summer tour with Ne-Yo, Brown then started production for his next album, Exclusive. The album was then released in 2007 and landed at number four on the Billboard Chart 200. The album was a smash commercial hit and as of 2011, had sold 1.9 million copies.
This was due in part to hits such as “Wall to Wall”, “Kiss Kiss” and featuring hip-hop figureheads such as T-Pain. Most notably, “Kiss Kiss” eventually reached number one on the Billboard Ho1 100 and then became Brown’s second single to be number one after his previous 2005 track, “Run It!. The third single, “With You”, was released and reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
To promote the album Exclusive, Brown embarked on his The Exclusive Holiday Tour, visiting over thirty venues in the United States. In March 2008, Brown was featured on Jordin Sparks’ single “No Air“, which peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Brown re-released Exclusive in June 2008 and was renamed Exclusive: The Forever Edition, seven months after the release of the original version.
This was a deluxe edition. The re-released album featured four new tracks, including the single “Forever”, which reached number two on Billboard Hot 100. Near the end of 2008, Brown was named Artist of the Year by Billboard magazine.
Later in 2008, Brown began work on his third studio album, Graffiti, which was released in December 2009 and landed in the number seven spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Before the album dropped, “I Can Transform Ya”, the album’s lead single was released in September 2009 and Brown once again broke the Billboard Hot 100 when the song premiered on the number 20 spot. “Crawl” was the next single that was released in November 2009 and eventually reached the 53rd spot on the Hot 100.
Between the drop of Graffiti and Brown’s next album, in May 2010 he released a collaborative mixtape, Fan of a Fan, with Tya. Later, the track “Deuces” featuring Tyga was released that June. The track peaked at number one on US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven non-consecutive weeks, giving Brown his first number-one on the chart since his 2006 hit single, “Say Goodbye”. It also peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
F.A.M.E., Brown’s fourth album, was released in March 2011 and debuted at number one on the Hot 100. Because of the album selling over 270,00 copies for its first week sales, this gave Brown his first number-one charting album.
“Yeah 3x”, the lead single from the album, also received international success in countries such as Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom as well as other countries where it was very popular.
“Look at Me Now”, featured Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes and was the second single released from the album. The track peaked number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts and remained there for eight weeks straight. The single continued to be successful and even also reached number one of the Hop Rap Songs chart.
The next single, “Beautiful People”, would reach number one on the Hot Dance Club and would be the first hit for Brown on that chart.
“Next 2 You” featuring Justin Bieber was then dropped and became Brown’s second international hit.
Shortly after dropping “Next 2 You”, Brown went on tour in Australia and North America to promote the F.A.M.E album.
Brown’s fifth studio album Fortune was released in July 2012 and debuted atop the Billboard 200, “Strip”, featuring Kevin McCall, was released as the album’s single with “Turn Up the Music” released as the lead single, and “Sweet Love”, “Till I Die”, “Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Don’t Judge Me” released as the album’s following singles, respectively.
To further promote the album, Chris Brown embarked on his Carpe Diem Tour in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Trinidad.
His sixth studio album, X was released on September 16, 2014. The album’s lead single, “Fine China”, was released on April 1, 2013, and sent to US Top 40 radio on April 9. X debuted at #2 on US Billboard 200 charts with first-week sales of 145,644 copies.
In February 2015, Brown released his first collaborative studio album with Tyga, Fan of a Fan: The Album, which was the follow-up to the pairs’ 2010 mixtape Fan of a Fan.
In June 2015, Brown released a new song titled “Liquor” and shortly after, it was announced that “Liquor” was the first single from his seventh studio album, Royalty. The album was released on December 18, 2015, and it debuted at number 3 on the US Billboard 200, selling 184,000 units in its first week. It also became his seventh, solo-album consecutive top-ten debuts in the United States.
Heartbreak on a Full Moon and Beyond
His next album, Heartbreak on a Full Moon, was eventually released as a double-disc album in October 2017 and peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200. Due to this success, Heartbreak on a Full Moon became Brown’s ninth album to break the top 10.
Brown was also featured in Lil Dicky’s single, “Freaky Friday” and the music video in March 2018. A month after the video was released, it had over 100 million views and topped charts in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
In 2019, Brown negotiated a new licensing agreement with RCA Records and reached a deal where Brown would own all of his master recordings, which at age 29, made him the youngest artist to ever accomplish this in music history.
His ninth studio album, Indigo, was released in June 2019 as a double album. The album would reach number one on the Top 200, which would make Indigo Chris Brown’s third number one album. The album would also generate 98 million streams of its 32 tracks in the United Kingdom.
During May 2020, Chris Brown would receive 100th entry on the Hot 100 when his feature on Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes debuted at the number 25 spot.
In April, Brown released news that he would be featured on Slime & B, a collab mixtape with Young Thug that would release in May. This mixtape would also feature the hit track “Go Crazy”.
By July 2020, Brown created noise around his next album when he posted via his Instagram that his 10th album would be named Breezy, which is an ode to his nickname. However, no new news has been released about the album’s drop date since Chris Brown’s post.
Music critics have praised Brown’s use of the R&B, recognizing his versatility within the genre. Chris Brown is also known for his dancing abilities and has proven this in films such as Stomp the Yard and Battle of the Year, where he displayed his ability to breakdance
Chris Brown has received six nominations at the 2011 BET Awards and ultimately won five awards, including Best Male R&B Artist, Viewers Choice Award, The Fandemonium Award, Best Collaboration and Video of the Year for “Look at Me Now”.
He has also won three awards at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards, including the People’s Champ Award, Reese’s Perfect Combo Award, and Best Hip Hop Video for “Look at Me Now”. At the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards, his fourth studio album F.A.M.E. won Album of the Year. The album has also earned Chris Brown three Grammy Award nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album, as well as Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Look at Me Now”.
In February 2012, Brown won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.