Chris Brown is leaving the drama behind and focusing on his music. The R&B superstar has previewed new material from his upcoming sixth album X, which includes collaborations with Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar.
The 23-year-old singer has enlisted hitmakers Polow Da Don, Timbaland, Pharrell, Drumma Boy, and Danja for the project, which marks a departure from his past work.
“I tried to stay away from the Euro beats, and not go totally pop,” he told Rolling Stone at a listening session in L.A. “Instead, I wanted to take the Quincy Jones approach. The record pays homage to the Stevie Wonders, the Michael Jacksons, the Sam Cookes. I wanted to put that classic essence of R&B and soul with the new age of music now. There’s a lot of live instruments, and a lot less Auto-Tune. I really wanted to demonstrate my vocal ability, creating the vibe of me singing along with a band.”
Kendrick Lamar will be featured on the somber ballad “Autumn Leaves.” “I wanted to—not rattle the hip-hop world, but have people appreciate [that choice] like, ‘I didn’t expect that, but dang, that’s dope,’” he said. “I picked Kendrick because his subject matter as a lyricist is beyond everybody else’s. There’s a substance to what he says. It’s also fun to experience the ambitions and aspirations of a younger artist who’s just learning how the game works.”
He has also recorded another duet with his on-again girlfriend Rihanna, but he’s unsure if it will make the cut.
“When we did ‘Nobody’s Business’ we actually did another song for my album called ‘Put It Up,’” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I wanted to do an R&B record with Rihanna. I didn’t want to do the pop stuff, I wanted to do something that people aren’t used to hearing.”
Other tracks include the autobiographical club banger “X,” produced by Diplo, electro jam “Lady in the Glass Dress,” and “Add Me In,” an uptempo record helmed by Danja.
The first single, “Fine China,” is described as a “retro-dipped R&B love ode” and was produced by Leon “RoccStar” Youngblood Jr. It is set for release on April 1, while X is due later this summer.
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