Chris Brown makes most “regular” guys envious. If you’re a guy reading this and you disagree, you’re lying. Don’t lie — it comes back to haunt you.
Let’s face it, the 18-year-old Tappahannock, Virginia native is living the life. He may not be the traditional great singer, but nowadays who is? Brown is arguably the best dancer on the music scene since the troubled King of Pop, is a great live performer and just so happens to be a good-looking kid. The phenom is found all over magazine covers, radio stations and music channels; he even guest-starred in several episodes of the last season of The OC. The self-proclaimed “Pretty Boy” also gets girls of all ages screaming.
With is 2005 self-titled debut, Brown, then 16, blew up right before our eyes. A breath of fresh air on the music scene, the project captured the typical mindset of a 16-year-old kid — dancing and girls. His first single, “Run It!,” featuring Juelz Santana, had everyone at a high school dance “running it.” The song rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and led Chris “Breezy” to superstardom. With four singles off the album following the No. 1 hit, it went platinum within five weeks.
Fast forward to today, and Brown has not lost a single step — his sophomore album, “Exclusive,” continues right where he left off two years ago. The record’s 16 tracks, none of which are interludes or skits, display a Brown with a more mature edge. The album has its share of catchy songs — led by its first two singles, “Wall to Wall” and “Kiss Kiss” — that can set off any good dance party. There are also a few tracks that attempt to attract a more mature crowd, including “Damage,” “You” and “I Wanna Be.” In “Damage,” Brown croons about being tempted to cheat on his girl and the painful aftermath: “Now look at the damage/ Look at the damage that I’ve caused.” He also isn’t afraid to get straight-up sexual. The dirty (well for Chris Brown at least) “Take You Down” has him singing, “No time to waste girl you know what we came to do/ We got all night to try and get it right, girl.”
Epitomized by “Kiss Kiss,” “Exclusive” boasts a star-studded supporting cast of performers and producers. Featuring a hook, verse and production by the human hit-maker T-Pain, the upbeat dance track is currently the No. 1 song in the country. Will.I.Am also doubles on “Picture Perfect” — laying down a verse and producing the beat with his unique percussive style. Big Boi, of the southern duo OutKast, joins Brown on “Hold Up,” and Lil Wayne cameos on the Jazze Pha-produced “Gimme Whatcha Got” with yet another of his clever verses: “Call me Ford baby I explore her/ It’s navigated you’re the one like Lincoln/ Black Bentley, you’ll look better in a pink one.”
The album has two bonus tracks (though the “bonus” moniker is unnecessary because they’re just regular songs), which provide more depth. Over a Scott Storch beat, Brown teams up with Game on “Nice,” another soon-to-be club banger. The last track on the album, “Down,” features a Kanye West production and verse — both of which rarely go wrong.
With the release of “Exclusive,” Chris Brown has solidified his spot as a superstar. All in all, the second effort is a success. Except for the typical filler tracks (“Lottery” being one), the album is full of quality. It has already had two commercial hits — “Wall To Wall” and “Kiss Kiss” — and has the potential to land a couple more. Whether you’re looking to dance or just want to sit back and listen to a slow jam, this album is for you.