R&B singer Chris Brown is looking to get co-signed as something bigger than a soulful hitmaker and hopes people’s acknowledgment of his “Look At Me Now” anthem has earned their respect.
Brown credits some past freestyles for helping elevate his emcee skills.
Having made enough believers out of the chart-topping track, he decided to keep it coming. “I didn’t sing on the record at all. It just was a rap song,” Brown told us when he visited the MTV Newsroom last week, incidentally, hours before he found himself at the center of a bottle brawl with rapper Drake. “So I was like, ‘Cool, if they going with it, I’m gonna keep going.’ ” Freestyles followed as Chris shored up his rap cred. And on the upcoming Fortune, he put the growth on display, teaming up again with F.A.M.E. collaborators Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa for the drum-laced “Till I Die.” But Team Breezy shouldn’t worry that Chris plans to quit crooning. Though he has the full blessing of his (initially reluctant) management team to craft sweet 16s, he’s just having a good time. “With the hip-hop and the rapping, it’s more of — I wouldn’t say [a] hobby — it’s just me expressing myself. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m the best rapper or I’m a rapper,” he added with a big smile. “I’m just saying I could do it, I guess, if y’all like it.” (MTV)
Back in April, fellow crooner Ne-Yo hit up SOHH and clarified his occupation as a rapper and singer.
“I am in no shape, form or fashion trying to become a rapper,” Ne-Yo promised SOHH. “My lane is R&B, my lane is singing and writing. That’s what I do. Rap is something I do when I’m in the studio and just wilding out, having fun. I’ll mess around with it but don’t expect to hear a Ne-Yo rap album coming anytime soon. I do what I do.” (SOHH)
Although no stranger to harmonizing over a track, rapper Drake said he favored rapping over singing in the past.
“I could never really take singing on the road the way I can take rapping on the road. I can’t get on stage and blow people away with my range and vocals. I’m a studio singer because I can convey emotion and I have unique melodies, so that’s kind of what I pride myself on, but that’s where it stops. I make music more for people to listen to rather than to hold me as an R&B artist. Not to wish that I couldn’t sing better. If I could sing like Trey [Songz] then yeah, I’d definitely just want to be a singer. If I could do anything, trust me, I wish I could just sit at the piano and sing.” (VIBE)
In late 2009, Brooklyn rapper Fabolous gave his opinion on “sing-songy” rappers.
“I don’t got no problems with that,” Fab explained in an interview. “Some rappers sing, some rappers rap. It’s about melody I think. Certain people used to get mad at Ja Rule for singing — everybody was mad, you may say he’s not singing on key or whatever, but all these guys are singing and using auto-tune — I’ve never had a problem with it. It’s melody, melodic, a lot of the joints that are hit records have that form to them. 50 [Cent] used to say he was singing, it was different than Ja because of what he was singing about, but it’s still him singing his own hooks. Just because it’s not an R&B guy singing, it’s still singing. It’s the same thing.” (Real Talk NY)
Check out the “Look At Me Now” music video below: