Weeks before he was set to release his seventh (solo) studio album, Chris Brown thought it would be a good idea to treat his fans to a mixtape featuring an astounding 34 songs. This was a good, bad and terrible idea.
While he’s been known to release free music in the past (i.e. In My Zone 1 & 2, Boy In Detention) to put out a mixtape right before a major release can do more harm than good. In some aspects the singer seemed to give some of his best material away for free. And when I say “best material” I mean in terms of how the overall song comes together sonically. Even when he does his normal sex talk, sometimes vulgar and disturbing, some of the tracks just sound good and you can’t deny it. Even with unflattering titles like “Swallow Me Down,” “Beat It Up,” (that features a sample of Janet Jackson’s Escsapade) and straight to the point “P****” with Breezy crooning
“This is my p****, imma f*** when I want to”
Unflattering? Yes. But it somehow has a place on this tape that seems like it belongs, plus if you just vibe to it it’s actually a pretty decent song. Chris Brown even flips K. Michelle’s “Miss You, Goodbye” on the Wale assisted “All I Need” and it’s one of the best songs on Before The Party. If you’re not interested in sitting through 34 songs to figure out which ones you like, some notable tracks that are worth a listen are:
- Show Off
- Play Me
- Just So You Know
- Come Home Tonight
- The Breakup
- Right Now
- Gotta Get Up
- Scared To Love You
Overall the mixtape actually has more bright spots than the album. Which is a huge problem.
A major issue that I have with Chris’ recent features and mixtape reappear on his latest release. Weeks, even months, prior to the albums release I knew this was going to be my least favorite Chris Brown album and in general his worst. The singer and occasional rapper is a 10+ year veteran and this is what he chooses to put out? I’m almost left speechless. Don’t go into this album with hopes of hearing R&B at its finest because there’s no “chitterlings and slave music” over this way.
Now while I wasn’t with the masses who assumed this album would be filled with nursery rhymes since it’s named after his daughter, I at least expected some variety when it came to content. But that was far from the case and was almost painful to experience. Now I’m not saying the album is straight up terrible but for an artist who continues to claim to be so creative, that doesn’t seem to be the case musically.
Royalty The Album is filled with sex, sex, sex, codeine talks, and half assed attempts at recreating pop greatness. But there are a few bright moments; like the Marvin Gaye sample on the opening track Back To Sleep and also Brown’s take on the popular 90s jam from Keith Sweat on Who’s Gonna (Nobody). And I’m sure any fan or regular listener will find at least two or three more songs that they find themselves revisiting, but that’ll be about it.
Judging by this album, it looks like Chris Brown is a long way from having his “Ah Ha” moment or stumbling upon his “Confessions” instead he has put his self given leader status down to follow the current “Trap&B” crowd at times. I can’t comment much on if he’s improved vocally because the auto tune is so prominent it’s hard to fathom at times. Notable songs:
- Back To Sleep
- Make Love
All in all, like I said earlier, it’s not a terrible album. If any up and coming artist released a project like Royalty they’d probably be the talk of the Twitter town for atleast a smooth month. But for someone on Chris Brown’s level, this album is more than a step back. It makes him seem very uninspired and uninteresting. But at least I can say that Royalty The Album and the Before The Party mixtape are a lot better than the Tyga assisted Fan Of A Fan: The Album (that no one asked for) So I guess that’s saying something.