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Chris Brown back with a vengeance

Probably best known for his altercation earlier this year with R&B princess and former girlfriend, Rihanna, Grammy nominated and highly decorated Chris Brown is back again, this time with his third album, "Graffiti."

The album features a star-studded cast of artists including Lil Wayne, Plies and Trey Songz in a variety of dance, pop and R&B songs which show off Brown's range of musical ability. Hoping to woo fans and critics with a new approach to his music while pushing through the public backlash with his anger and assault issues, "Graffiti" features tracks that will not disappoint his fans and those currently on the fence about his music.

The lead single "I Can Transform Ya" is the typical Chris Brown upbeat jam, featuring appearances by Swizz Beats and Lil Wayne. While not necessarily No. 1 material for Billboard's Top 100 chart, it made its way to the Top 10, proving that regardless of his recent image issues, Brown's music is still a force to be reckoned with.

One can't help but relate the album's soft ballads to Brown's past relationship, specifically his second single "Crawl," in which Brown begs to "crawl, until we walk again…back to love."

"So Cold" is another sappy song, once again alluding to Brown's estranged relationship and his desire to be forgiven by his former lover. While the track "Famous Girl" still seems to be a very direct message to Rihanna, it's not done in the same romantic vein; instead it takes an almost sarcastic tone despite being an upbeat track.

Lyrical content aside, it is obvious that Brown wants to deliver solid music, just as good if not better than the material off of his former albums. "Take My Time" is strikingly similar to "Take Me Down" off his sophomore album "Exclusive," but probably more appealing considering the guest appearance by M.I.A. and R&B sensation, Tank. "What I Do" is possible Top 10 material and takes one back to Brown's signature dance and upbeat tempo tones. Polow Da Don's production and Trey Songz's sultry voice make "Wait" one of the best songs on the album.

Showing off his versatility, Brown teams up with Sean Paul to create a reggae feel with "Brown Girl," celebrating all skin types. Other nod-worthy tracks include "Falling Down," "Movie," "Pass Out" and the leaked "Sing Like Me." But probably the most reflective of his current situation is "Lucky Me,' in which Brown proclaims the rise and fall of fame, in light of his life being publicly scrutinized for the past year.

It is evident that Chris Brown has grown from the teenage boy who stepped on the scene four years ago to a mature young man ready to own up to his faults and take his music on that road of maturity. While listeners may still hold a grudge against him for his personal life, taking a look at his music will make it clear that he hasn't skipped a beat and has surely put his best foot forward with "Graffiti."

Kristen Hardy can be reached at

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