With two weeks to go before his album Fortune drops, Chris Brown granted a rare interview to Fuse. He discussed how “ancient aliens” inspired the cover artwork, some of his collaborators including Nas and Diplo, pioneering a new concept for iTunes, and dealing with the changing music industry, while throwing in some expletives to get his point across.
During the sit-down with Esteban, Breezy also reminisced about performing “Thriller” for his idol Michael Jackson and a collaboration that was in the works. Plus, find out what legacy he hopes to leave behind.
On his album artwork: “You can see on the album cover, it’s like a code. That’s an encryption for my fans. I wanted to do something different because I’m into ancient aliens. I like being stuff that’s other than what everybody expects. … When they look in the booklet, they’ll see the different code. Some of it says I love Team Breezy or it’ll say certain things directed to them and they’ll know it if they break the code.”
On what Fortune means: “I wanted Fortune to be the blessing of having it. It’s not money, wealth for me. It’s basically the blessing of being able to do it. I’m fortunate to do it. I want everything to be top notch.”
On his “rarities and B-sides” concept: “I have a gang of records, so what I do is I give ’em to iTunes. Instead of releasing it free, for a lesser price you get it. It gives the artist a chance to get the exposure that they need. … Instead of going through the label riff-raff and all the bull, let’s split the royalty and do it like this so we both get paid. The industry is so broke that it’s starting to kill our creative side.”
On the shifts in the music industry: “I started when they had the $600,000, $800,000 video budgets. My ‘Run It!’ video was around that. Now you get it where people are like, ‘We got $50,000.’ It’s really killing us in a sense because nobody believes in the brand anymore. If we don’t do it, who gon’ do it? So I’m like f**k it, I’ma do it myself.”
On performing for and meeting Michael Jackson: “That was probably one of the greatest moments in my career ’cause I got a chance to perform for him. People loved the performance. I went backstage and met him. He said hi to my mom. He was respectful. It was just one of those great times in my life.”
On a collaboration with the King of Pop: “Me and him had talked countless times through our people. We were working on records and we were working on some stuff. But God has other plans.”
On following in MJ’s footsteps: “My legacy is not to be Michael Jackson, but to just be me. … I want to make him proud. I don’t want to make it an effort to copy because I hate clones, so I don’t want to be a clone.”