Say what you will about Chris Brown. But don't call his recent success a comeback.
The 22-year old R&B star, a controversy magnet whose early promise seemed to go up in smoke with his brutal beating of Rihanna, has maintained great support from a loyal crew of fans since that fateful episode over two years ago. And with his album, "F.A.M.E.," debuting in the top spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart earlier this year, spawning three number one singles and netting him six BET Award nominations, it would seem that he's back to at least semi-mainstream acceptance. Not that he ever doubted it would happen.
"I don’t really think it’s a comeback album. I feel like it’s an album of triumph, like an underdog type of album," Brown tells The Source magazine in its new cover story. "It’s more of me showing and proving everybody wrong. I don’t think I ever went anywhere. It’s not like I fell off the face of the earth."
Recently, the rapper and Rihanna seemed to be moving toward some small reconciliation; she moved to her her restraining order against him loosened so that he could appear at award shows, and perhaps even more tellingly, began following him on Twitter.
Brown is seemingly humble about his recaptured success. While he got caught in an online exchange in which he he made homophobic comments (for which he apologized) and had a meltdown behind the scenes of Good Morning America after being asked about the Rihanna controversy, Brown seems to understand that his actions have consequences, and is looking to positively influence his fans.
"What I like most about being Chris Brown is being able to influence the world with my music and smile, being able to
inspire the world, fans singing your music, seeing people dressed like you but at the same time them wanting to be
themselves, be individuals," he tells the magazine. "I recognize my music touches people and everything I do negative or positive affects people all over the world. So that’s definitely a blessing and a curse."
He's very adamant about that blessing and curse part; as someone who has experienced the highs and lows of his personal life from underneath the magnifying glass that is the public eye, the lack of freedom does trouble him sometimes.
"The thing I dislike most about my life is living up to everybody’s expectations, never being able to be like, 'F*ck it,' and do what I want to do, not care about someone’s opinion," Brown laments. "As artists we’re opinionated, but we definitely do care about the public’s opinion because that’s our consumer."
For more, click over to The Source magazine. The issue hits newsstands on June 21st.
HuffPost Entertainment is your one-stop shop for celebrity news, hilarious late-night bits, industry and awards coverage and more — sent right to your inbox six days a week. Learn more