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Rihanna And Chris Brown: The Saga Continues

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Rihanna And Chris Brown: The Saga Continues

Rihanna And Chris Brown: The Saga Continues

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Two pop stars generated an intense reaction when they collaborated on two new songs. Almost three years after singer Chris Brown was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna, they're back together - at least, musically. The singers intentionally leaked remixes of two songs; both are Rihanna-Chris Brown duets. NPR's Sam Sanders reports on a collaboration that includes some X-rated lyrics.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: The speculation built for days. Rihanna might release a remix to one of her songs, and feature Chris Brown. On Monday, her 24th birthday, Rihanna did it. She tweeted the remix to a track aptly titled "Birthday Cake." And it featured the man who violently assaulted her.


CHRIS BROWN, RIHANNA: (Singing) And it's not even my birthday, my birthday, my birthday. And he trying to put his name on it. Make out. Girl, I want to (bleep) you right now. Right now. Been a long time, I been missing your body.

SANDERS: That same day, Chris Brown tweeted a remix to the lead single from his upcoming album. And yep, you guessed it - Rihanna was the featured guest on "Turn Up The Music."


BROWN, RIHANNA: (Singing) Just turn it up. Just turn it up. Just turn it up. Just turn it up. Turn it up. Just turn it up. Just turn it up. I love you baby, yeah...

SANDERS: The jaws of the Internet collectively dropped.

NATALIE HOPKINSON: Something is not right with them. These are two deeply disturbed individuals that probably need to get off Twitter and spend some time on someone's couch, working it out.

SANDERS: Natalie Hopkinson is a contributing editor at The Like many other writers online, Hopkinson was repulsed by the musical reunion. Headlines called the songs stomach-turning and unbelievable. They critiqued the Rihanna song in particular, for lyrics that blur the line between pleasure and pain, and seem to almost allude to the assault.


BROWN, RIHANNA: Give it to her in the worst way. Can't wait to blow her candles out. I want that cake, cake, cake, cake, cake... yeah.

SANDERS: For Hopkinson, it wasn't just the explicit nature of the lyrics, or the message the pair's reunion might send about domestic abuse.

HOPKINSON: They're normalizing this incredibly abnormal and deviant behavior. And then on top of that, they're doing it for their own personal gain, their own - the record company's personal gain, the bloggers' personal gain, the clicks, the page views.

SANDERS: But Maura Johnston, of the Village Voice, says wait.

MAURA JOHNSTON: I always am wary of attributing motives to people in pop - especially now, when you have so many ways that you can disseminate a persona that - aren't necessarily your persona.

SANDERS: And disseminating persona is something Brown and Rihanna are very good at. Both are staples of the blogosphere, and each has millions of Twitter followers - who greeted the duo's new music with almost universal support.

One of those Twitter followers was Cherice McGlone, a sophomore at Howard University in Washington, D.C. And for her, the duets were a sign of something more.

CHERICE MCGLONE: I feel like they've been back together for a while. They're just now letting like, the public know.

SANDERS: And you're cool with it?

MCGLONE: I'm cool with it. Like, I love black love.

SANDERS: Yeah, but it wasn't just about love.

MCGLONE: The main goal of both songs - were probably money, publicity. Why not draw attention to my song, generate more revenue? I would do it. Like, make some more money, you know? The public is going to eat that up.

SANDERS: Howard sophomore Earl King, a huge fan, agreed.

HOWARD KING: They're going to make money off it, too - good money. Good money. And it might cause some backlash, but her - their fans are going to support them.

SANDERS: Whether the songs were a wink, a kiss or a money grab, Maura Johnston says she knows one thing about both remixes...

JOHNSTON: I don't think either of the songs is very good at all.

SANDERS: Not that that really matters, at this point.

Sam Sanders, NPR News.

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