Is Chris Brown Doing…Too Much?

Published: Wednesday 13th Jan 2016 by Sam
chris-brown-royalty-thatgrapejuice

In a climate dominated by Adele, Chris Brown‘s recent release ‘Royalty’ was hailed a triumph after debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 164,000.

Considering this was a feat achieved with no hit single in sight, the project’s firm holding within the upper region of the US Top 20 is as impressive as it is surprising.  

Suffice to say, it’s clear that the Virginia native has a loyal fanbase, who are willing, ready, and able to make their presence felt at retail. 

However, a glance at the broader scope of Brown’s commercial standing, highlights why it’s arguably in his best interest to not revel in the momentary momentum but to instead remould his approach. 

Follow us as we lay out why after the jump…

Upon landing on the charts with his self-titled debut eleven years ago, Brown immediately drew comparisons to ’New Flame’ comrade Usher

Indeed, much in the way Michael Jackson was the modern manifestation of a James Brown/Jackie Wilson/Fred Astaire hybrid, Brown emerged as Pop’s post-modern version with the ‘U Remind Me’ singer as his closest comparator.

Less “competition,” the then-15-year-old’s arrival was timely. Usher, with his diamond selling ‘Confessions’ LP, had transcended into an adult superstar (both thematically and with his success narrative) and left vacant his spot at the top of the list of male acts churning out parent-pleasing Urban-Pop. Naturally, Chris glided into said position and proved a formidable force with hits such as ‘Run It,’ ‘Kiss Kiss,’ and ‘With You.’

All ground to the most screeching of halts, though, on “that” faithful night in 2009. The specifics and semantics of the Rihanna “incident” are well-documented, hence there’s little need to revisit. However, it’s important to signify the February 8th episode here as it dramatically changed the look, sound, and structure of Brown’s career. 

Released later that year, apology album ‘Graffiti’ was the first component of what would be a tough and taxing re-ascend; one that was by no means linear. Peaking at #7 on the Billboard 200, the LP sold a then-lukewarm 102k copies first week (a significant drop from the 300k opening of predecessor ‘Exclusive’). The take-away here was that the talented star would have to do more to shine again. 

And more he did. 

Brown embarked on an all-out push on the collaboration front. Feature after feature after feature. The approach proved to be a smart play, as the strategy yielded him “hit after hit after hit after hit.” It also placed him back in the good graces of his record label, who were understandably uncertain of what the future held for the star following “that” night. 

In staging his own comeback sans the muscle of the machine, Brown crucially secured what few major label artists ever achieve – independence

With execs principally concerned with their profit margins (of which Brown contributes to handsomely), the 26-year-old has made no secret of the fact that he oftentimes is left to his own devices, self-funds much of his studio and video costs, and is largely in-charge of his operation. 

But that’s where our problem ultimately lies. 

chris-brown-2-

As admirable and advantageous as the autonomy of Brown’s movement is, it’s birthed an array of issues that are affecting the fertility of his career; with the lion-share of said concerns stemming from modern day Chris Brown doing too much with very little counting or amounting to much beyond initial roll-out.

Omnipresence in music is a privilege, yet it can also a be a problem. Having simultaneous hits on the Urban, Dance, and Pop charts may seem surface amazing, but is it still so if the artist loses their identity in the process?

Let’s briefly gander C. Breezy’s post-incident album sales to color this in…

Graffiti (2009) – 102,000 (debut) / 350,000 (US total to date)

F.A.M.E (2011) – 270,000 (debut) / 872,000 (US total to date)

Fortune (2012) – 135,000 (debut) / 437,000 (US total to date)

X (2014) – 146,000 (debut) / 404,000 (US total to date)

Fan of a Fan (2015) (w/ Tyga)  – 51,000  (debut) – / 85,000 (US total to date)

Royalty (2015) – 164,000 (debut) 

Yes, this is somewhat congruent with the downward trend in music sales. However, we posit that it’s also the by-product of two realities:

  1. The Inconsistency of Chris’ Sound: music listeners need not be limited in their preference, but what is the incentive for a fervent R&B lover (for example) to support a full album or era from an artist that never seems set or certain on what sound or lyrical angle they wish to project from? Flirting with different genres is by no means a new phenomenon for Urban artists, but injecting a bit more method into the madness wouldn’t go amiss.
  2.  Frequency of Release: it is a different marketplace to the climate of yesteryear. As such, today’s talent are tasked with maintaining the attention of an audience that will forget you with the blow of the wind. Clearly Brown understands this, but we feel he perhaps runs with it more than he should. Beyond the yearly albums (there were two last year), there’s the mixtapes as well (the latest of which, at a meaty 21 tracks, arrived weeks before his last LP). There’s feeding and there’s over-feeding. 

With Chris, there appears to be a “more, more, more” motive at a junction of his career that would arguably benefit from a “less is best” approach. He has weathered the worst of the storm that was “that” night and its aftermath, hence he should refresh his strategy. In 2015 alone, he appeared in 40 videos and released even more music. How much of it do you remember? 

Moving forward, Team Breezy are tasked with cementing the star’s unique selling point, his discography’s density, and ultimately his legacy. How they plan to accelerate with that remains to be seen. However, from our vantage point, we’d welcome a back-to-basics strategy; one that sees him…

  • Embrace more structure.
  • Record albums with clear themes and present eras with memorable imagery and iconography.
  • If genre-jumping is a must, then – at the very least – package and market it better. Neater. Perhaps a double sided set (5-Urban tracks / 5-Pop) and tout the fact he has a genuinely wide fanbase that he’s keen to appease.
  • Release a project and commit to working “that” project for the long-haul before cartwheeling over to something else. 

Though many have forgiven Chris’ transgressions, there remains an air of unfulfilled potential from him — specifically as a Pop star. And that need not be a solemn note. Because, there isn’t a Trey, Derulo, or Jeremih able to veer anywhere near what Chris has achieved and is capable of. Heck, he’s more than giving Usher a run for his relevance these days.

All it reminds is that there’s still ample work to do and ground to cover. Here’s wishing him the ability, tenacity, and longevity to scale his career to higher heights.

Your thoughts?

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  1. LB January 13, 2016

    Waitnmnnmnnnmtniiittt, are you telling me Fistopher hasn’t got a platinum album?

    • maurice January 13, 2016

      Exclusive is platinum… I think.

      • LB January 13, 2016

        True, just checked it on Wikipedia.

    • Taylor Tori Azalea January 13, 2016

      Stupid Biatch if you googled it before taking first comment you would have found out
      .
      Unlike Riherpes he has 2 multiplatinum his first and second are both 2X platinum

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

        LOL!!!! NOT THE TAYLOR FAN DRAGGING HATEBIRD.

      • Tyler Makiavelli January 13, 2016

        #CLOCKED
        CB has TWO multiplatinum albums. How many does Rihanna have? 9 years ago……

    • Taylor Tori Azalea January 13, 2016

      Stupid Biatch if you googled it before you ran for first comment
      .
      You would have found out unlike Riherpes he has 2 multiplatinum albums his first and second are both 2X platinum
      .
      Note comments are moderated had to change email to school you

      • LB January 13, 2016

        Hiding behind the industry w**** who’s got a higher body count than an episode of the Walking Dead won’t hide the fact that Tori and Azealia are flopping harder than a movie soundtrack.

    • Arfa January 13, 2016

      Wheres ANTI CHRIST

      • LB January 13, 2016

        ^^Who is this random?

    • Renzo585 January 13, 2016

      FAME is pretty much platinum and he has 2 plat albums before FAME

    • Rory January 13, 2016

      His first two

    • Samsung brought my albums May 3, 2016

      Yea if Samsung would brought his albums

  2. LB January 13, 2016

    Did anyone see the savage dragging Rosie received yesterday? I am still dying.

    • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

      As much as i love Rosie, but damn did she get dragged by the NAZI yesterday.

    • blue January 13, 2016

      you are my navy bro/sistah and for that i respect you, but please stop with the commentor whorship…damn people on this site talk more about each other then they do the artists. Seriously dont have time to inflate the egos of nobodies and i ask you do the same.

      • LB January 13, 2016

        LOL, ok blue, I wont.

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

        That was unexpected of you!!! You are starting to become my fav NAZI member on this mess of a blog. I get the sense that u’re not here for the shady bullshitt among the stans.

      • Tyler Makiavelli January 13, 2016

        @Surprise
        I agree. Blue has been rational as of lately

    • Weezy Tha Goat January 13, 2016

      It was amazing.

  3. Hur January 13, 2016

    his self titles album was his “Debut album” not Graffiti.

    • RihYonce January 13, 2016

      & where is “Exclusive ” Chris has 2 multi platinum albums

  4. Terny January 13, 2016

    Doing too much, featured and collaborating way too much and then there’s the albums being churned out every other year.. Overexposure gets the masses tired ? of you.. Let us miss you for awhile and take time to also work on QUALITY.

  5. Taylor Tori Azalea January 13, 2016

    Yes he’s doing way Tew much
    .
    Just like Riri who’s also facing decline he’s releasing albums like his families and his own life depend on it
    .
    Also Onika who’s also facing MAJOR decline he releasing way toooo much unnecessary singles and features

    • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

      LOL! I’m living for ur ass today. As much as i don’t care about ur fave, u are speaking nothing but the truth here. BRAVO BITCHH!!!!

      • Taylor Tori Azalea January 13, 2016

        lmfao yaaaaas girl you better come thru and give me my dues lol

    • Nicko January 13, 2016

      All of Nicki’s singles from TPP were at least top 40 hits n they are all certified platinum by the RIAA. Also, TPP outsold the new trash which had much more promo n Nicki sold out ARENAS thanks to that album, when will igloo ?

  6. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    I just need his asss to disappear for a few years, make us miss him then come back like Mimi did in 2005. He has saturated the airwaves, I need a break

    • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

      KINDA LIKE HOW ARTPOP GOT GAGA TOGETHER REAL QUICK!!!LOL

      • Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

        @surprise where is Trannyyonce’s #1 this decade? should we organise a search party for it?

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

        No go search for BOTOXEDGA’S platinum plaque for ARTCLIT!!!!!

  7. Fancy BISH January 13, 2016

    The ONLY album I’ve ever purchased of Chris Brown is his double platinum debut album…and from the look of those subsequent album sales, I’m not the only one lol…I recently commented about how our artists need to get back to a classier brand of R&B…sure, you can have the THOTalicious stuff (and men can certainly be thots too), but there needs to be a balance…Chris is VERY talented…he can SANG when he wants to, dance his behind off and is very charismatic when he wants to be…he needs to think more Al B. Sure! and Bobby Brown and less Gucci Mane lol…he needs to TRY to get back to a more “boy next door” image, even if it’s with an edge like Bobby Brown and Jodeci did so well…and where’s the ROMANCE in modern R&B? 🙂

  8. 2bad2bme January 13, 2016

    Yea he can be a bit much with the microwave music

  9. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    U obviously can’t comprehend, that debut next to all those albums means his first week sales. do u really think that “debut” next to graffiti means his first album? what about the other “debut”‘s then? lol come on now

  10. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    @loosebottom I have a feeling ur t***** asss will also follow @rosie and get dragged

    • LB January 13, 2016

      I have a feeling this is another year Artpop won’t go platinum

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

        LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! U JUST MIGHT BE RIGHT.

      • Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

        @loosebottom I have a feeling this is another year the Nazi won’t get ANTi-release date

      • LB January 13, 2016

        I have a feeling this is another year we won’t care about Caca

  11. Ciah’s Turtle January 13, 2016

    Love him. But he’s oversaturating the game. He’s on everything.

  12. LB January 13, 2016

    So I wikipedia’d him and he has got 2 double platinum albums, man his music is generic and forgettable, all this time I was thinking Graffiti is his debut.

    He does have a few songs I like every now and then, but he is no Usher.

    • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

      Wait do u mean double platinum in U.S or worldwide??

      • Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

        @surprise how does one go “platinum” ww?

        kiiii the H.IV+ are the most stupid people ww

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

        U fool, it’s akin to him selling a million copies worldwide as opposed to the us alone. LEARN TO KNOW WHEN SHADE IS BEING THROWN, SIR!!!!

  13. blue January 13, 2016

    he needs to just disappear for like a full 2 years then come back with a real solid album, make a real event of it.! Or atleast focus on his brand and cut down the features make a chris brown collabo mean something.#bodyonme

    • Noah January 13, 2016

      Agree. Chris should take time for a bit and wait for people to be hungry again. It would create more anticipation and excitement for his next work. Chris does not have a strategic mentality. And the collabs as well…so repetitive.

  14. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    This H.IV+ is trying to launch itself, kiii the desperation chile

  15. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    I have a feeling this is another year Riherrppes will hop in bed with another rapper and infect him with her STD’s

  16. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    @surprise

    DONT LIE!

    no one on earth has ever referred to 1m sales ww as “Platinum”. It appears that only you do that. different countries have different numbers for platinum

    SCREAMING at ur stupid asss trying to throw shade, the shade is ur stupid asss

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

        *IS ON THE WAY

      • Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

        @surprise

        dead! We are still discussing platinum, why the diversion?

    • Surprise..(DEC 2013) January 13, 2016

      No, we’re not discussing s***. BYE!!!!!!!!!!

  17. ???Chile, leave my weave at the door and don’t steal it like those broke ass barb stans??? January 13, 2016

    Doing too much? I thought you’d never ask. The minute that circus clown had the nerve to get on a radio show and say, out of his own damn mouth, that he was half-white was the last straw for me. Oh, and PLEASE don’t even get me started on that recent twitter post he made with that picture of those children. Can he just go “back to sleep” already please?

  18. Cake like Lady GaGa 25 January 13, 2016

    Where is David? that Malaria infected nigerian better get his gay fugly obese asss here so I can drag it again and it bans me again

  19. ???Chile, leave my weave at the door and don’t steal it like those broke ass barb stans??? January 13, 2016

    I mean…this guy can’t EVEN WAIT for his flop projects to scan gold first before releasing a new single to promote the next flop album. And artists STILL HAVE THE NERVE to cling to him FOR LIFE like their careers depend on him just to get a hit on radio? Somebody please say that reign won’t and CAN’T let up, even for the desperate ones that cling to Rih’s name for relevance in desperate times of need (see artist depicted in above photos for reference). NO WONDER BEY WON’T EVER WORK WITH HIM OR ACKNOWLEDGE HIM.

  20. Grande the Way January 13, 2016

    With the exception of Fan of a Fan, which probably did so bad due to everyone hating Tyga, it’s obvious he has a consistent and strong fan base. Just look at his first week sales. However his albums seem pretty front loaded and I think that reflects the music. Since the Rihanna assault, F.A.M.E has been the only good album listed there. The rest are generic typical urban stuff. His vocals fell off too. I think he needs to take a break and reinvent himself. I think alot of artist are starting to realize that less is better.

  21. Casual-T January 13, 2016

    I think he’s doing WAY too much, but since he’s doing better than many other artists doing less . . .

  22. Anti (hives scared of R8) January 13, 2016

    Wtf fu*k the debut album! CB 6 albums that hasn’t scanned platinum even with all those collaborations and exposure.If this was Rihanna everyone would have been dragging.He has no classics. LB didn’t even recognize his first and second album. FLOP!!!!!

  23. Abraham January 13, 2016

    Interesting read and we’ll written. Will C.B take notes or haul derogatory comments?

  24. Tyler Makiavelli January 13, 2016

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
    He’s the hottest RnB male out right now. If he changes his approach he might fall off. There’s always someone fresher and hungrier out there ready to take your spot. Everybody is gunning for #1. Just saying….

    • ?Queen Molly? January 13, 2016

      “He’s the hottest RnB male out right now”

      The Weeknd say hi sis ?

      • Tyler Makiavelli January 13, 2016

        The Weekend is cool too but I didn’t ask for your in put sis….

  25. ChrisBStan January 13, 2016

    great article/post, Sam. Derulo should have been mentioned as 1 of those who can’t ever touch Chris’ career but then again, i appreciate you not mentioning his wack ass at all. 🙂

    still, this was a brilliant post.

    • ChrisBStan January 13, 2016

      he does indeed have untapped potential that needs to be released. I agree in the frequency of his projects and I understand the reason why; staying relevant for more than his past & anger-mangement issues. Now that the public hasn’t been reminded of this for quite some time now, and can refocus on his emerging star; Chris should take time out to really explore more and put together his own “Thriller” album. I still think he has what it takes to take the reigns over from the late, King Michael.

      • Realtalk January 13, 2016

        I’m a HUGE CB fan but let’s be real he may be considered the closest thing to MJ but he can NEVER be an MJ!!!!! MJ started at 5 and became the greatest child star of all time, maintained a career until he gave us the greatly underrated “Off The Wall” the rest is history. You can’t just make a Thriller without setting it up and MJ spent a lifetime setting it up so yeah CB is very talented, I’d say the best among male artist today but unfortunately he lacks the tenacity, the discipline and the skill to ever be on MJ’s level but it’s cool because “NOBODY IS!!!!!!

    • Noah January 13, 2016

      Derulo doesn’t have Chris’s career, but Chris hasn’t extended his career for the better. Chris’s discography is not “untouchable”. Chris has been in the industry longer than Derulo so you have to wait, but i hate to say that it is possible. Hes not as talented, but he is more mainstream because he does Pop music full-time. Musically i think there level, but Breezy is a better both dancer and singer. Derulo is more successful on the Hot 100 in recent times.

  26. Gee January 13, 2016

    The problem with CB is his personal life and other antics have distracted the masses from his talent, besides that his music as of late has not progressed for the better. Hopefully he can take a much needed break enjoy life overall and comeback fresh and recharge and kill the game.

  27. Noah January 13, 2016

    Basically,Chris Brown prioritises quantity over quality and could benefit from the opposite.

    As the number 1 male entertainer (more relevant than Usher), I can’t see his album sales marking him as one of the best selling artists which is worrying. He also needs a worldwide smash hit instead of 100 top 20 songs. I can’t put my finger on any time of his career that I could call his “peak”.

  28. Coolness January 13, 2016

    When looking at the state of the industry and how hard R&B has been hit, he’s doing pretty well. However, his current standing is not what it could have been had the Rihanna incident not happened. I’m not just referring to album sales but also branding, touring and general in general.

    I feel that there’s so much untapped potential both artistically and commercially with Chris. I doubt he was ever going to go Diamond like Usher did with ‘Confessions’ but he could’ve been doing Drake numbers. The stat about him appearing in over 40 videos and even releasing more music is stunning to me because I can’t place my finger on at least five standouts. He’s overexposed himself.

    Also, I feel like his performance ability is somewhat declining. His dancing looks sloppy and I don’t have to talk about the state of his vocals these days. A two year break might seem scary for him considering how much the industry has changed but if he came back with a focused album with streamlined promo to match and a genuine attitude change, his career could return to the heights it once had pre-2009.

  29. Kitteneyez January 13, 2016

    SAM STFU HE DOESNT DO IT FOR YOU HE DOES IT FOR TEAM BREEZY MARIAH DID IT RIHANNA DID IT GET OFF HIS D*** HE LOVRS HIS ART F*** I EXPLAINING TO U FOR

  30. #TeamTinashe Stan January 13, 2016

    I’ve already talked about this. Clearly he doesn’t have an evolution or meaning in his albums. He needs to follow artists that put out a body of work on albums that make sense from top to bottom and he has yet accomplish that.

  31. Royalkev January 13, 2016

    Ya’ll nailed it! There isn’t one lie told in this article. I respect CB’s musicality and performing talents, but his eras lack structure. It’s a big turn off. There’s just an overload of music and music videos! Nothing feels like a treat when he offers new music because that’s becoming any ole regular day in the life of a Chris Brown fan. There’s always a song here and there that manages to stick with me, but overall I need him to push 1 single instead of 10 these days. All the messiness in his eras are overshadowing his talent now. I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed a CB era since ‘FAME’.

  32. justarymes January 14, 2016

    He still fooooyne tho

  33. Junior in Jamaica January 20, 2016

    I would prefer more of Jason Derulo than Chris Brown…

  34. Barb-wire January 25, 2016

    o.O

  35. Peachez January 30, 2016

    Chris isn’t giving Usher a run at nothing because unlike Chris’ career, Usher has seen and maintained a well established one. He has grown, honed his craft, taken care of himself and gotten better with time, unlike Chris.

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