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Review: Chris Brown Plays The Blame Game On Cathartic Album 'X'

Chris Brown always has some making up to do. More than other artists, it’s hard to hear his songs and not consider the real-life circumstances—his assault on Rihanna in 2009 and the subsequent series of public fuck-ups, including his D.C. assault case, which resulted in a 108-day jail sentence. His relationships and his music are eternally linked. Mentioning the worst sometimes feels like you’re failing at forgiveness. Forgiving him feels like conceding. It’s everything like a break-up. So when Chris sings lyrics like this on his sixth album, X, it seems deliberately twofold: “I’m starting to hate me a little more and more each day/I don’t know me/It’s like I can’t get out of my own way/You don’t love me/You don’t love me/If I knew better, I would do better.”

Playing off this theme of loss and Ex-Factors, X explores the fallout of a failed relationship in all its phases—the fresh grief, self-pity parties, real partying and fake forgetting. Mostly, though, the album dwells on the initial post-breakup aftershock, purging and the holding-on part, versus the smart introspection that comes later. Chris attempts to move forward and find new love. He sort of does but gets stuck looking back. He tries to take blame, but it’s overshadowed by bravado. He’s sorry, but not that sorry. He’s a mess of ego, and that frustrating emotional clutter is what makes this album a compelling listen.

The two greatest loves of Brown’s 25-year-old life (Rihanna and Karrueche) have wreaked havoc on his psyche. A homemade video titled “The Real Chris Brown” that popped up in 2012, showed Chris confessing. In it, he considered whether it’s possible to unconditionally love two women at once and said, “I don’t wanna hurt either or. I’m not trying to be a player. I’m not trying to be a dog, none of that… I just care too much.” Which is funny because in his music lately, he’s been prone to player behavior, as if that’s where he enjoys the freedom of being the angry bad guy without consequence.

The macho posturing is the most flagrant on his groupie takedown “Loyal,” an obnoxious NicNac production and slow-building sleeper hit that you still hear everywhere. Here, in a matter of a few bars, Chris manages to flaunt new money (“Just got rich”), steal another man’s girl (“Took a broke nigga bitch”) and consider upgrading a groupie's status before deciding against it because of her lack of coins. You're forced to love it, conditionally.

Chris has a knack for making memorable songs on forgettable albums (“Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Turn Up The Music” on 2012's Fortune) For a while, he coasted with elliptical-friendly Euro R&B like “Forever,” "Don't Wake Me Up" and “Yeah 3X,” all great guilty pleasures. Those international club anthems seem part of his DNA now, but rather than the vexing rule (like on Fortune) they're the welcome exception on X and feel less forced—"Body Shots" features a weird-cool clash of vocal spasms and synths. The album instead opts mostly for straight R&B and pop from a mixed bag of producers (NicNac, Danja, Anonymous), and it's either snappy club tracks or the type of depressive, moping records currently resonating with Eeyore's favorite millennials.

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Beyonce Knowles-Carter attends the European Premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Beyoncè Shells Out Ivy Park Goodies To Janelle Monae, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Rowland And More

We're less than 24 hours away from the full release of Beyoncè's Ivy Park collaboration with Adidas and fans are beyond ready, thanks to her brilliant orange box preview.

The entertainer and businesswoman gifted her family and celebrity pals with treasure trunks of goodies. From Solange to Yara Shahidi, celebs shared pieces from the collection on social media this week. Adidas announced its multi-year partnership with the mogul last April, making history in the process. The singer is the first black woman to be the sole owner of an athleisure brand. Bey took the steps to own the brand entirely after her initial collab with Topshop in 2016 by purchasing the shares of Phillip Green after sexual harassment claims were filed against him.

“It’s a dream come true to re-launch IVY PARK as the sole owner,” Beyonce said in a statement. It’s her first collaboration with adidas but not her first time building buzz for a product. The legend cleverly shared the mysterious orange boxes in all shapes in sized to her friends, thus creating quite the conversation on social media.

Ivy Park is also creating bigger conversations in the corporate world. According to a November research note by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ivy Park's sales can slowly surpass Kanye West's Yeezy line.

“In-line with adidas approach on other franchises, we would expect there to be a low volume, high priced launch ... to create brand heat and in the following years the brand will likely become more democratized,” the note says.“Initially, Ivy Park will be smaller than Yeezy, but Ivy Park has the potential to be larger, if managed properly,” says Matt Powell, a senior footwear analyst at NPD Group.

We love to see it.

See the celebs bask in their Ivy Park glory below.

Tina Lawson

 

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I love this couture beautiful Orange IVY PARK Adidas dress thanks @beyonce. @ivyparkadidas @ivypark. @beyonce. @dougspearman

A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson) on Jan 12, 2020 at 1:27pm PST

Reese Witherspoon

 

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Thank you, @Beyonce for the #IvyPark swag!

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on Jan 15, 2020 at 2:28pm PST

Janelle Monae

 

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Thank you Bey for these @weareivypark pieces ! And a special thank you for my new hide out where I’ll bey escaping my duties . S O proud of you ! Luhhhhh uuuuu @beyonce swiiiipe ☄️

A post shared by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on Jan 15, 2020 at 10:35pm PST

Hailey Bieber

[email protected] unboxing her #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/Y3rcxIDhCe

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 15, 2020

Kelly Rowland

[email protected] unboxing her #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/vGqwwnZrnl

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 16, 2020

Yara Shahidi

 

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ADDIDASXIVYPARK PEEK

A post shared by Yara (يارا‎) Shahidi (@yarashahidi) on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:41pm PST

Scottie Beam

 

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Check my instastories to see what Beyonce SELECTED for me. Lmfao! Thank you so so much @weareivypark @beyonce ✨ THE INFEED PHOTO IS COMING!

A post shared by scottiebeam (@scottiebeam) on Jan 17, 2020 at 6:48am PST

Ellen DeGeneres

Thank you, @Beyonce. I love my big orange box. Your new clothes are really cool too. #adidasxIVYPARK @adidas pic.twitter.com/ecTxZ5o0CG

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 15, 2020

Missy Elliott

Thank you so much @Beyonce I am soooooooo humbly grateful you are a GEM! Lol the box was so big I was scared to open I thought a whole human was gonna jump out but this FYE sis #IVYPARK I LOVE IT! pic.twitter.com/hJbrfDWvXL

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) January 16, 2020

Diplo

[email protected] unboxing his #adidasxIVYPARK package. pic.twitter.com/D2BKKVzLBw

— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) January 14, 2020

Zendaya

Zendaya has gotten her Ivy Park box....#IvyParkXAdidas #IvyPark #adidasxIVYPARK #adidas pic.twitter.com/fLYdYAVyWn

— Yoncé Headlines (@YonceHeadlines) January 15, 2020

Kim Kimble

 

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Thank you @beyonce @weareivypark @adidas for this drip and I’m going to buy some as well

A post shared by Kim Kimble (@kimblehaircare) on Jan 15, 2020 at 4:07pm PST

Rita Ora

Rita Ora out and about in her Ivy Park x Adidas wear. pic.twitter.com/hFt4OQjE4v

— Beyoncé, Period! (@ourhermitage) January 16, 2020

Quincy

Diddy’s son, Quincy, also got a box of the upcoming Ivy Park/Adidas collection, officially dropping on the 18th of January, 2020 pic.twitter.com/rUJOWgy2l4

— Beyoncé, Period! (@ourhermitage) January 12, 2020

Cardi B

 

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That new @weareivypark bomb

A post shared by Cardib (@iamcardib) on Jan 13, 2020 at 10:15pm PST

Laverne Cox

https://twitter.com/BeyLegion/status/1216405687862988806

 

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#mood4eva in my Adidas X IVY Park ... #mood #TransIsBeautiful @adidas @weareivypark @beyonce #DisclosureDoc

A post shared by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on Jan 16, 2020 at 12:00pm PST

Michelle Williams

 

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Looks coming soooooooooon!!! “I GOT IT” by @rickydillard is appropriate! @beyonce @weareivypark @adidas!! Ok bye for now!!

A post shared by Michelle Williams (@michellewilliams) on Jan 16, 2020 at 2:03pm PST

Solange

Solange getting the Ivy Park x Adidas from her sis pic.twitter.com/G2bRO2lTYc

— | IVY PARK X ADIDAS ON JAN 18th (@beysarayonce) January 15, 2020

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner got a Ivy Park box...#IvyParkXAdidas #IvyPark #adidasxIVYPARK #adidas pic.twitter.com/79LGysUZBp

— Yoncé Headlines (@YonceHeadlines) January 17, 2020

Keke Palmer

 

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why do i feel like the whole planet earth is going to wear ivy park? — #beyonce #beyoncé #queen #queenb #yoncé #rumiandsir #rumiandsircarter #rumicarter #sircarter #blueivy #blueivycarter #jayz #jayonce #beyonceandjayz #thecarters #sashafierce #beyhives #beyhive #beckywiththegoodhair #ivypark #ivyparkbeyonce #weareivypark #ivypark2020 #2020 #beyonce2020 #beyoncephotoshoot #beyonceoutfit #flawless

A post shared by (@bivyslife) on Jan 17, 2020 at 4:36am PST

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Versace

Jennifer Lopez's Iconic Versace Dress To Be Transformed Into Swanky Watch

The iconic Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez that sparked the creation of Google Images is now a luxurious watch.

To mark the brand's Spring-Summer 2020 collection, the brand has decided to reprise the Medusa Frame jungle print by way of a sleek timepiece. In addition to the new collection, this also marks the 20th anniversary of Donatella Versace's legendary jungle print. Roman numbers are found in the dial along with an interchangeable black leather strap for additional styling. The piece will cause Versace and J.Lo fans a pretty penny at $1,495.00 when it hits retailers in May.

Since her jaw-dropping fashion moment, the actress-singer has rocked the print a few times. A jumpsuit version was worn in the visuals for "I Luv Ya Papi" back in 2014 with a revamped version of the gown making its way to Milan Fashion Week in 2019.

But the jungle print wristwatch isn't the only second coming of the print. The brand will also release shirts, heart-shaped necklaces, Squalo sneakers and beaded as a three-dimensional décor on Virtus handbags.

Originally worn to the Grammys in 2000, Lopez's take on the dress was both a music and fashion moment. Although the dress was worn by Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, Donatella Versace and Sandra Bullock (in another color), Lopez's daring look cemented her spot in pop culture.

“I really didn’t think about it. I didn’t think it was all that risqué, to be honest,” Lopez told Vogue in 2019. “I was more excited it was the Grammys. I wasn’t even thinking about the dress all that much. I was just glad I had something to wear.”

Check out the watch below.

 

 

 

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Supporters of singer R. Kelly, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, leave after the singer's arraignment at the Dirksen Federal Building on July 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Azriel Clary Contemplates Working With Feds In R. Kelly Case After Fight With Joycelyn Savage

The case against R. Kelly has continued to grow new legs as Azriel Clary has contemplated working with authorities following her fight with former girlfriend Joycelyn Savage.

This week, the 22-year-old returned home after getting into a physical altercation with the 24-year-old at Kelly's residence at the Trump Towers in Chicago. The fight (or screams) were heard on Clary's Instagram Live Wednesday (Jan. 8). After returning home and pressing charges against Savage, Clary is now interested in working with the federal agents in the assault case against R. Kelly. Sources tell TMZ "she now wants to help law enforcement with its investigation into Kelly, but she has a huge hang-up—she's terrified because she's lied to federal agents several times in the past." Clary also signed an NDA during her relationship with Kelly.

During her fight with Savage on Instagram Live, the aspiring singer says multiple times the two engaged in sexual activity when she was a minor, an allegation she denied in their joint interview with Gayle King and with the feds. Elsewhere in her Live, she admitted Kelly convinced her and Savage to lie to King during their interview. He also prohibited them from watching the Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly. She reportedly saw the documentary after leaving Kelly's residence.

Despite the rumors, federal agents are not involved in the situation between Savage and Clary. Savage was formally charged with misdemeanor battery and made bond. She is expected to return to court in a few weeks. Savage was also briefly reunited with her family this week.

Clary's mother Alice Clary spoke with PEOPLE about the welfare of her daughter and urged the public to see her as a victim, not a willing participant in Kelly's alleged behavior. “Everybody has something to say, she was 17 when she left. Now she’s 22, but guess what? She’s had problems for the last few years,” she said. “She may have done things as far as being grown physically as a young woman, but mentally no. She still has the mental capacity of a 17-year-old because he kept her stagnated for years and didn’t let her be with her family.”

“The battle is won because she’s still here, she’s still alive, she’s still breathing and though she lost a few years of her life, she’s still here to tell her story,” she added. “Because I chose not to keep her secluded in her life, she’s here now and we’re able to say the victory is won because she finally came to her senses and she’s back home with her family.” Now that her daughter is home, Alice Clary is focused on helping her daughter move on from her ordeal with Kelly.

As the families continue to help their children, the public has weaved their own theories into why Clary decided to leave Kelly's grip. Bloggers like Tasha K, who have reported on Kelly's predatory behavior, reported Wednesday (Jan. 8) a possible reason for Clary and Savage's fight. Clary allegedly arrived at the condo with a man, a rule-breaker in the condo. When Savage approached her about breaking the rules, the two got into a scuffle as Kelly's helper named Kimberly watched.

Lifetime followed up their acclaimed documentary with Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning earlier this month with follow up interviews with his victims and notably, Dominque Gardner who was rescued by her mother in the first doc.

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