When Chris Brown grooved back into his R&B roots with his latest single "Fine China," it was a huge reminder that the man can still sang.
While his recent interviews and shot-laced freestyles have been making waves, the anticipation for his sixth album X only increases, especially with confirmed features from girlfriend Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar.
Sonically, "Fine China" producer, Leon “RoccStar” Youngblood Jr. says Brown will be incorporating every genre with hints of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson while still keeping it "authentic." Here, he tells VIBE how the duo crafted the album, MJ influences and reveals Brown's next single.
VIBE: Was "Fine China" the first time you ever worked with Chris?
ROCCSTAR: That was like the ninth song we cut together. I also did the Chris Brown and Lil Wayne record a long time ago, ‘I Know What Your Girl Likes.’ This [new album] is the first time we really sat down for months and came up with record after record.
People have been saying the track has a Michael Jackson feel to it. Did you go in thinking that while making the track?
I was aiming for authentic music. Seeing that he’s supposed to be the next MJ, it’s kind of an automatic influence. I personally carry the Jackson sound a lot because I used to be around them so much. I dated Jermaine Jackson's daughter for four years. That family is like my extended family but honestly, it was more just an authentic thing. WIth the bass line, I wasn’t really thinking ‘Let’s make a Michael Jackson song,’ I was just like ‘let’s make something that feels great.’ Chris was like, 'We got to do some real shit this album. People need to feel exactly what I’m doing, it needs to be emotional and people need to be emotionally attached to this record,' so we just went in. All the singles that are coming get better from here.
Now you're handling most of the production on this album. What can fans expect?
It’s all just genuine. The record "X" will come as the next single and it starts off "You’re only as good as the company you keep/ then I’ma blame you for what they say about me." It just pops off like that. It’s going to bring you who Chris Brown really is. Between me, Sevyn, Eric Bellinger, Dewain Whitmore and Chris, we finally brought out how he really feels.
Will we be hearing more from R&B Chris or a mix of pop and hip-hop?
Both. The next single is going to throw you off because it went from a Michael Jackson [sound] to a Diplo club record. You guys are going to be in for an incredible treat with this X album. It’s really going to put a heartbeat inside the person you see as Chris. On "Add Me In," the one that Danja produced, singing-wise, you’re going to be like 'What?!' You’re going to feel things from him on this album.