First Hit #1: November 26, 2005
Let’s ignore, for a moment, whether or not Chris Brown is a terrible person. The important issue here is Brown’s music, and Run It is his first big hit. While Brown sounds surprisingly prepubescent on the track – which always sounds really strange when you’ve got a song that’s overtly about sex – the problem is much simpler. Brown is, at the end of the day, just a bad facsimile of Usher. He can dance, he can sing, but he’s not as interesting, significantly less self-aware, and prone to just doing what Usher has already done, just worse. Run it does not need to exist in a world where Yeah is freely available. It’s not so much bad as it is lacking in personality, taking what already exists and barely even putting his own spin on it. It feels lower budget and less interesting, less inspired artist than inspired by artist, which always leads to less rewarding music. I’m not sure why the music industry has insisted on making Chris Brown a thing, but he’s just not that compelling.