Chris “Take You Down” Brown continues his campaign to prove that being charged for domestic violence is not in fact commercial suicide, though he’s not rising to the challenge solo.
He’s been called upon by Videosyncrasy favourite (favourite, having appeared in 100% of posts so far…) Chipmunk, who after spending the fledgling years of his career gallivanting on push bikes with Tim Westwood, has been seduced by the wide shots and abundant helicopters of the United States.
His latest effort “Champion” is an ode to smuggery, very much in the R. Kelly ca. 1995 mould, with a solemn piano loop, bombastic beats and a military shuffle, all with the insistent refrain: “I was born a champion”.
See how the opening shot is of scorched earth? This could only be a visual metaphor for the years upon years of arduous endeavour before finally making it in show business, not to mention atop a shipping container. It’s been a struggle, hasn’t it guys? And every sepia-tinted frame hints to your wisdom and worldliness.
Chipmunk (born 1990) showcases a way with words R. Kelly never had: “They wanna hold you back? Tell ‘em p’off’/Whenever they say you can’t, take the ‘t’ off”, while Brown (born 1989) laments his tarnished reputation from within a recess in the hillside: “I used to see my momma being beat down/Is that the real definition of me now?” ‘Fraid so, Chris. Even Charlie Sheen’s grace period is over.
But who are we to argue with them? Triumph is measured not in the fast cars, helicopters or shipping containers of music videos. Chris Brown somehow still does have a career and nobody even remembers that Tim Westwood video. That be triumph.
I really didn’t want to like this song. That precocious insistence should be more offputting, or irritating in the very least. But in these times of uncertainty, it sometimes feels like there’s nothing more reassuring than the unwavering ego of a young rap musician. In this overblown display of wealth and confidence we’re witnessing a rare glimmer of truth. If they really believe what they’re saying, why the hell shouldn’t we?