R&B bad boy Chris Brown sent fans into a frenzy earlier this week when he announced he was hard at work on a new album entitled ‘X‘.
Featuring an all-star team of producers (including Danja, Pharrell, Diplo, and more), fans were eager to know who else the Grammy winner was keen to collab with – namely girlfriend Rihanna.
Said to be narrowing song choices down from 50 to 14, find out what Chris says about if ‘Nobody’s Business’ co-star Rihanna would be lending her chart-topping neigh to the mix and more:
Via Rolling Stone:
“Making X, I found out who I am,” Brown says. “This album has a lot of substance, from the subject matter and the situations to how it deals with love. It’s really derived from personal experiences. Then again, I always like mixing reality with art.”
“I tried to stay away from the Euro beats, and not go totally pop,” Brown notes. “Instead, I wanted to take the Quincy Jones approach. The record pays homage to the Stevie Wonders, the Michael Jacksons, the Sam Cookes: I wanted to put that classic essence of R&B and soul with the new age of music now. There’s a lot of live instruments, and a lot less Auto-Tune. I really wanted to demonstrate my vocal ability, creating the vibe of me singing along with a band.”
“There are no drums or anything,” he says. “It’s basically about being stuck in your ways – being scared to do something because you’ve psyched yourself out.” Likewise, Brown notes how the evocative guitar spirals and passionate vocals driving “Autumn Leaves” turned it into “a real emo record. Onstage I’d perform this with just me and a mic, silhouetted with a guitar player beside me.”
“I wanted to – not rattle the hip-hop world, but have people appreciate [that choice] like, ‘I didn’t expect that, but dang, that’s dope,'” Brown says. “I picked Kendrick because his subject matter as a lyricist is beyond everybody else’s. There’s a substance to what he says. It’s also fun to experience the ambitions and aspirations of a younger artist who’s just learning how the game works.”
“I wrote a song for her called ‘Put It Up’ that we [Rihanna and I] did together,” Brown says. “It’s still in the pot of songs we have to pick from. It may or may not make it, but you know, because she’s already on it, it’s a strong possibility.”
“Me and Diplo always have fun doing – I wouldn’t say weird records, but just other records,” Brown says. “He brought this in, and I was like, ‘Well, this is kind of a new sound.’ It takes you to a different world, evoking a sense of the genres that coexist with each other – but all on the same song.”
“‘X’ defines everything I’ve been through in my life,” Brown says. “It’s the Roman numeral for 10. 5/5/89 is my birthday: 5 plus 5 is 10, and this is my tenth years since I got into music. ‘X’ is the 24th letter in the alphabet, and I’ll have turned 24 when this album comes out. ‘X’ is also a metaphor, as in ‘ex-girlfriend’: it implies you’re progressing and moving on in life, not holding on to the past and your old ways.”
“It also represents me focused on overcoming adversity,” he says. “When you see an ‘X’ on a vial, it’s like it’s forbidden, a poison. But for me, it’s also like a release, where I’m able to identify with both the reject and the good guy.”
“Whether it’s personal or life experiences – my girl, my exes, love in general, or just reality – I’m putting all that into this album,” he continues. “That’s the basis of what X is, and who Chris Brown is. The stuff I wanted to talk about, I found clever ways to add myself into the metaphors.”
“I’m just all about positivity and moving forward, being able to X out the negativity and stay on a focused path. Now, instead of me being the temperamental guy that everyone thinks I am, I’m more about crafting that into my music, so when my fans hear it, they can feel it.”