In the wake of Chris Brown’s altercation with Rihanna earlier this year — an incident that led to the R&B star pleading guilty to assault and receiving a sentence of probation and community labor — Brown has insisted in interviews that he is a changed man. “I’ve seen the pain people have been through and I donâ€™t want to inflict that anymore,” he recently said, speaking about the results of the anger-management classes he’s been taking.
Brown took the concept of change quite literally for the first single from Graffiti, his new album that’s due December 15th (Brown confirmed the release date via his Twitter; the LP comes just three weeks after Rihanna releases her new LP Rated R).
His “I Can Transform Ya” video — co-starring Lil Wayne and producer Swizz Beatz — which debuted this morning, is a play on the summer blockbuster Transformers. There’s lots of shape-shifting going on, with a flashy sports car morphing into Brown in the video’s opening shot.
Stylistically, the video is equal parts “Single Ladies” and an Apple commercial, as Brown and a troupe of dancers do “The Robot” in front of a white screen. Lil Wayne pops up in the beginning wielding (but not playing) a guitar, then reappears for his verse before transforming into a Bugati and driving away. The Joseph Kahn-directed video also features Brown dressed as a ninja and dancing while using nunchucks, which — depending on whether you consider that a deadly weapon — might be a violation of his probation.
The video’s premiere itself demonstrates how Brown’s career was damaged by his legal troubles: Instead of a prime-time MTV premiere, “Transform Ya” reportedly debuted this morning at 6 a.m. EST on MTV Jams, an ancillary music video channel that most people probably can’t find on their cable boxes.
As Rolling Stone previously reportedly, Brown will make his official return to the stage tonight at the Powerhouse concert at New Jersey’s Izod Center. Brown will also embark on his fan appreciation tour later this year.
• Chris Brown Talks Rihanna, “Forever” Wedding Craze in New Interview
• Chris Brown Announces Fan Appreciation Tour
• Chris Brown Recruits Lil Wayne, Swizz Beatz For Comeback Single “I Can Transform Ya”