Frank Micelotta/ PictureGroup
By Maurice Bobb
Chris Brown may be returning to his R&B roots with his upcoming sixth studio album, X, but the much-maligned crooner will also be giving fans a taste of his skills as a rapper.
“It’s funny, because I tried to get my record deal as an MC first, and when they heard me sing on the choruses, they wanted me to sing,” Brown told MTV News during a listening session for the album. “You don’t want to say something another rapper has said or come off like you’re trying to produce a punch line. It’s about being a lyricist and being clever about what you say. I don’t try to spit the hardest sixteen’s, it’s just me being clever with my poetic side, that’s where it derives from.”
Outside of Breezy, who spits very competent rhymes on the project’s first Diplo-produced single, “Fine China,” there will be a few famous yet unnamed rappers along for the ride. Brown did reveal, though, that the game’s hottest MC, Kendrick Lamar, will be featured on “Autumn Leaves.”
“If you’re in your car just riding, it’s perfect. It just feels like a weather record — an emotional record,” he said of the K.Dot-assisted song. “I feel a certain way when I hear it.”
In addition to “Autumn Leaves,” Diplo, who also helped the falsetto singer with his 2011 hit “Look At Me Now,” mans the boards for “Add Me In,” an 808-laced track with a dubstep buildup. It has a pop feel, with hip-hop sensibilities.
“It’s a pop song, but it’s still hip-hop,” Brown said. “Pop producers added hip hop to it to make it more epic. For this album, I wanted to have the same mentality as I did with the first album — me being green, me not thinking I know what’s hot and what’s next, me just being Chris Brown. I think this will show my vocal ability a lot more. I’ve developed a falsetto, I can sing at a higher register, and I can elaborate more on my skill.”
The Fortune singer explained that the title of his new LP can refer to an ex-girlfriend (Karrueche Tran?), being a reject or being able to grow up and get past the B.S. he’s had to face via the press and social media since the life-changing assault on America’s pop princess Rihanna.