The video for Michael Jackson’s irresistibly nostalgic hit “Love Never Felt So Good” features an assortment of dancers mimicking the King of Pop’s most iconic moves. There’s a flip book montage of diverse faces à la his “Black or White” video, none more recognizable than Justin Timberlake’s mug, singing along to MJ’s smooth vocals. It’s the perfect homage to Michael’s legacy in 2014. Well, except for the elephant in the room, that’s not actually in the room or anywhere near the camera lens.
That elephant has a name, and sometimes even rocks bleached blond hair. That elephant is Chris Brown.
Infinite respect to J.T., but it should be Brown celebrating the epicness that is Michael Jackson’s Xscape. Wowing us (and probably Big Mike upstairs) with his own moonwalk. Paying homage in a way only he can. Where is Chris Brown?
Jail. Chris is in L.A. County Jail.
The singer, who violated his probation by being unceremoniously removed from his Malibu, California rehab facility following a March 14 incident, has been incarcerated for the past two months. And a judge has sentenced him to an additional 131 days last Friday (May 9) for a fight he was involved in last year in Washington, D.C. Brown’s lawyer is confident that Chris will be home within a few days (he says acknowledgment of a probation violation does not equal a confession of guilt), but if not, CB will be gone ’til September.
Either way, Chris is missing out, and not just on music video cameos.
There’s this one Chris Brown song you might’ve heard on the radio or maybe one of those addictive Beats Music playlists. Something about “hoes” and how they aren’t loyal (as if calling someone a hoe encourages faithfulness, but I digress).
This “Loyal” song is pretty much the first true anthem of 2014—seemingly the only one not produced by DJ Mustard—and already has remixes tailored to both coasts and both genders. It’s ubiquitous.
Then there are those two hit records by Kid Ink (“Show Me” and “Main Chick”) that feature his singing doppelganger Brown.
This is the hottest the 25-year-old singer has been since he broke that window at Good Morning America. And yet here he is, sitting in a cell. Chris Brown is literally everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Brown has been trying to release his sixth album, X, for year and a half now, when he first began promoting the project. Some of the early tunes were pretty damn good, too. The groovy “Fine China” is a modern classic. There was some resistance from Aaliyah purists on “Don’t Think They Know,” which sampled hip-hop soul’s immortal princess, but “Love More” made its way to No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still, the album has been indefinitely delayed—Brown threw Team Breezy a bone with the mellow mixtape, The X Files.
And then, finally, “Loyal” happened.
There’s a dark irony in the way Chris’ label has been chasing a single and appropriate time to mark the king-of-R&B spot with X, and now he’s got an orange-hot smash and a jumpsuit to match. Just when we’ve started to look toward future stars like Trevor Jackson and August Alsina, here comes “Loyal”—sizzling and only getting more molten. Yet we haven’t seen CB facilitating the turn-up on any concert stages. And his album release date is just as uncertain as his jail release date.
Is Chris Brown missing his moment?
Breezy’s contemporaries aren’t idly waiting around. Usher just dropped a song-of-the-summer contender with the playful-yet-risqué “Good Kisser.” (After an early listen of some unmixed selects from his not-yet-titled new album, this writer can confirm that Ursh is in vintage form.) Then there’s Trey Songz who is figuring it out with his Trigga LP. And of course MMG’s secret weapon Omarion, who is sitting on what will be the strongest R&B project to drop this year, Sex Playlist (trust me on this one).
Once Chris has finished paying his legal debts to Uncle Sam, when he can throw on some street clothes and (hopefully not) dye his hair back blonde, will your ears still be loyal to Chris? —John Kennedy