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Chris Brown to release 'Fortune' on May 8

March 1, 2012 | 12:45 pm

Chris Brown

Chris Brown is currently swaddled in enough controversy that a new headline surprises no one, but for those into the music, this is the kind of news that matters: The embattled singer has announced that his new album, “Fortune” will hit stores May 8.

“Fortune” is led by the sticky electro-romp “Turn Up the Music,” which Brown performed at the 54th Grammy Awards last month. He also took home his first Grammy at that show, winning the R&B album trophy for “F.A.M.E.”

When he previewed “F.A.M.E.” to reporters at Record Plant Studios in Hollywood early last year, Brown revealed that he planned for the disc and “Fortune” to serve as a double album. With a slate of sexually explicit grooves and supercharged backbeats rooted in dubstep, R&B, gritty hip-hop and pop, "F.A.M.E." returned Brown to radio prominence after his personal life had threatened to eclipse his career.

From what we’ve sampled, “Fortune” pushes those sounds even further. Last week, “Turn Up The Music” debuted at No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; its video, the singer’s directorial debut, garnered more than 8 million views within its first week on Vevo. 

The last few weeks would make the perfect pilot for a reality series -- it could even take its title from Chris Rock’s sitcom, “Everybody Hates Chris.” First, Brown became a trending topic on Twitter during the Grammys, as there was furor over the Recording Academy inviting the singer to perform (twice), three years  after his assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna, and then rewarded him with a win.

Then, more than a week after the telecast, Brown released two collaborations with Rihanna, even while he's still serving five years' probation after pleading guilty to assaulting her. No word if the Rihanna-assisted remix of "Turn Up the Music" made the final track list for "Fortune."

And then, there’s that baffling (or asinine, depending on whom you ask) report that he allegedly grabbed a female fan's cellphone after she snapped a picture of him leaving a Miami nightclub late last month. Brown hasn’t been charged with a crime; if he were, and he was then convicted, that would be one nasty parole violation that could land him behind bars.

Messy personal woes aside, Brown’s music continues to thrive: “Turn Up The Music” is currently No. 1 on the iTunes R&B/soul charts in more than a dozen countries (one of two singles in the top 10), and the album’s buzz single, “Strip,” sits at No. 3 on Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop chart. So, maybe controversy really does sell?

“Fortune” will serve as Brown's debut release with RCA Records, after a restructuring led to the disbandment of Jive Records in October.


Grammys 2012: Chris Brown wins R&B album

Chris Brown, Rihanna collaborations spark controversy

Judge decides Chris Brown should stay under supervised probation

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy


Photo: Chris Brown performs during the 54th Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2012. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times