Rhyme&Review: Chris Brown

10 12 2009

Who?

Chris Brown. Isn’t he Steve Slaton’s back-up for the Houston Texans. No he’s DeMarco Murray’s back-up at Oklahoma. Right, kids. But also wrong.

He’s a world famous recording artists who got into some serious shit after getting into an altercation with his equally young, rich and famous girlfriend. Well after running the media apology gauntlet, C Breezy got back to doing what made us give two shits about him in the first place: he released his new album, Graffiti this week in time for the holidays. Or, in his case, in time for all the mothers of girls who want the album to turn their noses up and say no.

Graffiti

If we’ve learned anything about C Breezy from this effort it’s that he knows his niche. Listening to the entirety of the effort, you can see that Brown might have taken a beating in the court of public opinion, but it hasn’t stopped him from singing the songs and doing the things that drove tweens, teens and others wild.

The album kicks off with lead single, “I Can Transform Ya” with a cameo from Mr. Dwayne Carter. There’s a joke in the title of the song but I’ll take the high road and focus solely on the music. (Ok, I can’t resist. He can transform ya, alright…with his FIST!) That’s the only one. I promise.

Graffiti is light on the top half but does have a couple of standout cuts. “Crawl” is a mid-tempo number that, if nothing else, gets the introspective side of Mr. Breezy.

He’s been put through the wringer this year with some of his personal demons and when you hear him sing such lyrics as “Let’s crawl / Until we learn to walk again / lets’s run until we’re strong enough to jump” — you have to figure he’s giving a pep talk to the fella looking back at him the mirror. Take those lyrics and store them in your heart cage, Chris. You’ll come out the other side.

“Famous Girl”  is one of many songs that could be called “Rihanna inspired.” The song itself sounds like something off of JT‘s first album, Justified. It’s funky and it’s catchy almost like “Senorita”.

But Brown is a closer. He closed on many a chick before the Rhianna thing and he closes on this album. The last half of the album sees him really stepping up his bar song game with a noticeably electronic feel. “I.Y.A” leads it off with a strong techno beat and Tone Def America’s best friend, Auto-tune. It’s trippy, but in a good way. It feels like a song that would really hook you in right as a good trip on ecstasy is starting. Not that I know the feeling.

My one complaint: I.Y.A. stands for “In Your Arms.” Really? Has society gotten THAT lazy that you can’t just say those three words. I weep for the future. “Lucky Me” asks regular folk to sit back and think about all the tough times that celebs go through in order to entertain. Request denied, Mr. Brown.

“I’ll Go” is, in my opinion, Brown’s attempt at a Steve Perry-esque power ballad. There’s hints of pop but the meat of the song is the piano, guitar and drums. And it actually works.

“Gotta Be Ur Man” might have been picked up off the cutting room floor of Off the Wall. “Movie” is Breezy’s musical, and hopefully fictional, account of making a porno. Yikes. “Brown Skin Girl” ends the festiviites on an uneventful note but gives some PT to your boy, Wyclef Jean. Always a good choice, I say.

What Now

Look let’s be honest: if not for Brown’s little transgression (see that word sounds bad even when said about someone besides Tiger Woods), this album would be getting more pub.

It’s kind of the same deal that happened when Michael Jackson passed away and self-righteous blowhards alike tried to tie Michael Jackson the public figure to Michael Jackson the performer. Same thing here.

I’m not excusing what Chris Brown did. It’s the weakest of all sauce (like two notches below Tar-Tar sauce). But gun to my head, I have to say that this is a serviceable album. It won’t light the world on fire but it’s what Brown does best. He’s already started his ascension back to America’s good side, since we all get second chances. But don’t sleep on his music just because he f-d up.

by Josh Mosley

Chris Brown- Graffiti

1. I Can Transform Ya (feat. Lil Wayne and Swizz Beats) – ★★★
2. Sing Like Me –  ★★★
3. Crawl – ★★★
4. So Cold- ★★★
5. What I Do (feat. Plies) –
6. Famous Girl – ★★★★
7. Take My Time (feat. Tank) –
8. I.Y.A. – ★★★★
9. Pass Out (feat. Eva Simons)- ★★★
10. Wait (feat Trey Songz and the Game) – ★★★
11. Lucky Me – ★★★
12. Fallin’ Down –
13. I’ll Go – ★★★
14. Gotta Be Ur Man – ★★★
15. Movie –
16. Brown Skin Girl (feat. Sean Paul and Rock City) –

Graffiti Total ★: 35
Graffiti
★ Ratio: 2.18

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