Billboard goes behind the scenes for an in-depth piece on the singer, titled “ Chris Brown’s Downward Spiral,” which examines the past three tumultuous years of his personal and professional life. Current and former associates discuss his alleged substance abuse issues, which one even describes as “dancing with death.”
“He will cuss you out and say, ‘Hey, man, I’m functioning. I’m going to get the work out.’ And he does,” the insider explained. “But [he’s not] the first functional star who thinks they can handle those powerful drugs. I got to say with all my heart, he’s dancing with death.”
According to insiders, those “powerful drugs” involve Xanax, lean, and cocaine. These substances, along with the fact that Brown has at least intermittently not taken medication for his bipolar disorder, have impacted his mood. A former member of his security team noted how that has been a point of concern for staff.
“We would ask, ‘What’s the temperature today?’ You didn’t know how he was going to wake up,” said the source. “Were you going to get cool Chris? Or depressed or artsy and focused Chris, who would be very productive? Or the happy-go-lucky Chris, who would just joke around and have fun? It was a different person every day.”
Another person, described as a “close former associate,” echoed those feelings. “Sober Chris is a solid guy with a big heart,” the insider said. “High Chris and Chris coming off drugs is ungrateful, unappreciative and a foul person who most people don’t want to deal with. Good Chris? You’ll fight for him. Unfortunately, the last couple of years, it has been drug Chris. That Chris is not a good dude.”
Allegations of drug use and anger problems are not new. Last year, Brown’s longtime manager Michael “Mike G” Guirguis quit and suedBrown for allegedly beating him up in a “(drug-fueled) rage.” His longtime publicist Nicole Perna leftBrown later that year, following a heated text message exchange. According to the Billboard article, Brown no longer has a personal representative, security team, or manager.
Beyond these strained business ties, Brown’s personal life is also highlighted in the piece, including his complicated relationship with ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran. “He’s always on social media, looking up who Karrueche was with, what she was looking like, what club she was at, who posted to her Instagram,” said one source. Recently, Tran filed a restraining orderagainst Brown, allegingthat he’s punched her in the past and that he’s more recently threatened to kill her.
While some have left Brown’s side, the celebrated singer still has people in his corner. Brandy, for instance, praised the superstar for his artistry. “Chris is an incredible singer and stylist who knows exactly who he is as an artist,” she said. “As a whole, he’s courageous. I loved working with him [on 2012’s ‘Put It Down’] and would like to work with him again.”
His label, RCA, also has his back. “We’re proud to be in business with Chris, a uniquely gifted artist who is always striving to be better,” they said. “Through his ups and downs, we will continue to stand behind him.”
However, even some of his supportive former associates claim he’s in a dark place. “He does, believe it or not, have a kind heart, and he just wants to be loved,” said one source who was reportedly in Brown’s inner circle at one point. “At the same time, he’s incapable of being loved and loving.”
His longtime choreographer Flii Stylez adds that Brown is plagued by “trust issues,” causing him to distance himself from others, including him. “He lost Rihanna and Karrueche, two people he loved,” said Stylz. “Right now, he doesn’t trust anybody. I’m probably the one who loves him the most out of everybody who is not his real family, and he won’t even talk to me. I can’t get to him.” Later, Flii added: “My brother is going through a lot. But he’s not crazy. This isn’t why I invested all this time into him. He goes in and out of being angry, but we want to see Chris dancing and singing.”
Brown’sHeartbreak on a Full Moon, which he is reportedly still working on, is being targeted for a summer release. On March 31, he will kick off his “Party Tour”with 50 Cent, Fabolous, O.T. Genasis, and Kap G.