Chris Brown and Rihanna posted cryptic tweets last week alluding to a duet, before releasing “Turn Up the Music” and “Birthday Cake” on Monday. These collaborations were quite a surprise to fans, considering that Brown is currently serving 5 years probation after brutally assaulting here on the eve of the Grammys three years ago.
On the singles, which have yet to be officially released by either artist’s label, Chris Brown sings and raps on the remix of Rihanna's sexually charged song "Birthday Cake," and she appears on a remixed version of his tune "Turn up the Music."
Hip-hop blogger Karen Civil said that fans shouldn’t be surprised by the collaboration, given Rihanna’s reputation for being provocative. "I think that it can only help them both at this time," Civil said on her self-titled blog last week, "We can't go back and change what's already been done, or recorded and released in this case. Will it hurt Rihanna's career? Perhaps, in the aspect of standing up against domestic violence. However a listener or fan cannot dictate someone's life, and she is entitled to her own decisions."
Chris Brown was thrust back into the controversial spotlight recently when he was invited to perform twice at the Grammys and received the award for best R&B album for “F.A.M.E.” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow defended the decision of booking Brown, commenting that evaluating artists on their personal lives is a "slippery slope that we wouldn't want to get into." "What he did was a personal thing — it had nothing to do with his career," he said.
It did affect his Brown's career though, as his popularity plummeted three years ago after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge. He lost endorsements and his third album, "Graffiti," released not long after the attack, was a commercial disappointment. More recently, however, the singer has made his way back onto the charts, and after his appearance on the Grammy Awards, it seems he might be forgiven, not forgotten.
Will this move hurt Rihanna’s career? Only time will tell.