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Thread: Parallels between Michael Jackson & Bobby Brown

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    Parallels between Michael Jackson & Bobby Brown

    Thought this deserved it's own thread after a bit of a spillover in another thread

    But yeah, I've always thought there were a lot of similarities between Michael Jackson & Bobby Brown. Bobby was always sort of hyped up as the second coming of MJ, which makes sense as New Edition was named such because they were supposed to be the new edition of the Jackson 5. Both Bobby & MJ used different things to cope with being a child star, but where Michael began his lifetime of trying to recapture his childhood in his adolescence and teen years, Bobby started using drugs, especially coke (as opposed to just cutting ads for it).

    When it came time for both of their first adult solo albums they got guidance from a trusted senior producer, Quincy in Michael's case and Babyface & LA Reid in Bobby's case. They also both capitalized on the hot genre at the moment - for Michael that was Disco and for Bobby that was New Jack Swing, though overall they were quite firmly rooted in the R&B universe.

    Don't Be Cruel sold about the same as Off The Wall did in the US (7x platinum), and was arguably more successful in the singles market, with Bobby getting a #1 with My Prerogative as well as 5 Top 10 singles (Every Little Step, Roni, Rock Wit'cha, and the title track Don't Be Cruel). It was successful in the same way as Off The Wall was in that it was a through and through R&B album that was still able to crossover to white audiences and sell a great deal of records.

    But as we all know, it didn't last, and his career flatlined after Don't Be Cruel in large part down to his substance abuse issues and messy personal drama that followed.

    I guess the question is, was Michael's childish nature in his early life (from his teen years into his late 20s, prior to the allegations which obviously changed everything) what kept him successful? If he had been focused on pursuits of the flesh like Bobby Brown would he have ever felt the need to best Off The Wall, or perhaps even if he wanted it, would he still be hungry enough to do it?

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    Interesting point. B Brown was at one point well and truly the next in line as he was the total package in terms of an artist but he'd carved his own lane instead of trying to be like Mike. Whereas MJ sang about the groupies Bobby did them four at a time with a few lines to wash em down.

    In terms of image you couldn't get more poles apart than these two and people really downplay Bobbys impact on the game as he singlehandedly changed the sound of the era and created the whole bad boy of R&B image with the rap crossover beats laced with pop hooks. So much so that MJ swagger jacked him hard for Dangerous because had it not been for B you think MJ would've ever checked for Teddy? That one move reinvented MJ in a sense and kept him current/on trend otherwise Dangerous could've very easily become Invincible before Invincible with others at the helm as evidenced by the songs that didn't make the cut and how the title track just bangs with the NJS production but is eh at best on its original beat.

    Had Brown had someone like Joe literally holding him down he could've controlled himself better rather than doing what he did but then we've seen what happens when MJ broke free of that control and bought himself zebras, rollercoasters and a new face...

    Its interesting how Bobby liked uppers and MJ went for downers though, speaks volumes on their personalities and inner natures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toomuch View Post
    Interesting point. B Brown was at one point well and truly the next in line as he was the total package in terms of an artist but he'd carved his own lane instead of trying to be like Mike. Whereas MJ sang about the groupies Bobby did them four at a time with a few lines to wash em down.

    In terms of image you couldn't get more poles apart than these two and people really downplay Bobbys impact on the game as he singlehandedly changed the sound of the era and created the whole bad boy of R&B image with the rap crossover beats laced with pop hooks. So much so that MJ swagger jacked him hard for Dangerous because had it not been for B you think MJ would've ever checked for Teddy? That one move reinvented MJ in a sense and kept him current/on trend otherwise Dangerous could've very easily become Invincible before Invincible with others at the helm as evidenced by the songs that didn't make the cut and how the title track just bangs with the NJS production but is eh at best on its original beat.

    Had Brown had someone like Joe literally holding him down he could've controlled himself better rather than doing what he did but then we've seen what happens when MJ broke free of that control and bought himself zebras, rollercoasters and a new face...

    Its interesting how Bobby liked uppers and MJ went for downers though, speaks volumes on their personalities and inner natures.
    Yeah, if Bobby would have stayed on the same path as MJ did, I imagine his next album would have been as genre varied as Thriller was. I do think that Brown had the better New Jack Swing with Babyface and LA, so to speak, as I always thought Teddy Riley's was a bit too minimal for my tastes. Babyface brought a certain lushness that I always thought was missing from MJ's NJS outside of Remember The Time. You're totally right about his influence on the bad boy-leaving-the-band - George Michael kinda did the same but for pop boy bands.

    And as for the drugs, yeah. The worst thing is that I never really got the impression MJ did them for the fun of it or to get "****ed up". He suffered all the worse for it but never had much fun unlike Bobby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vega View Post
    And as for the drugs, yeah. The worst thing is that I never really got the impression MJ did them for the fun of it or to get "****ed up". He suffered all the worse for it but never had much fun unlike Bobby.
    Thats one of the reasons why I always dude had the crappiest life ever. I mean he couldn't even have a laugh getting high and did it mainly to sleep.

    A drugged up, thugged out Michael Blackson who kept it Gary, Indiana level hood with a sheen of crossover polish on him however - now that would've been a sight to see and thats what B Brown could've been - the equal yet opposite side to MJ but that tightrope is thin enough to walk on when sober, let alone when you're high as a kite and think you're floating.

    Browns versatility was something far beyond MJs though because he wasn't scared of being vulnerable or taking chances plus he wasn't focused on chasing hits because he just did what he wanted to do. Much in the way that Rick James made Prince Prince I do believe that had B not strayed from his path he would've bought out a next level MJ in the 90s that we never got to see because Mike was so far ahead of the game that he literally had no competition but B could've easily given him that impetuous to step his game up because it was obvious he wanted the crown as much as MJ enjoyed wearing it and I truly believe they both would've reveled in it.

    With the J5/NE parallels everyone always bet the bank on Ralph being the breakout star and the groups MJ so seeing B come through like he did was like seeing Randy say he was leaving the Jacksons and drop a solo album as good as OTW - That would've made the whole world sit up and take notice and that's what B did because people really weren't checking for him like that back then.

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    I couldn't see Bobby bring the equivalent of MJ not even when he was popular...
    I was a king under your control...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TroubleMan84 View Post
    I couldn't see Bobby bring the equivalent of MJ not even when he was popular...
    Were you around in the 80s to witness his wave in the flesh? From where I was sitting he was the closest one out there and coming for the crown with an intent to go head to head with MJ and what he didn't have in terms of raw talent he certainly had in showmanship. The similarity and contrast between them as mentioned was great and I do believe the "rivalry" would've pushed them both to outdo themselves and in the process keep MJ a bit saner because otherwise he was so far ahead of the game that to consider anyone competition was foolish.

    B Brown on the other hand:



    Insane performance, perfect vocals and breath control with huge amounts of energy and worked the crowd. He was visceral in a way that MJ was otherwordly and everyone I knew - irrespective of race - grooved with Bobby back in the days because he could make a hit and every one of us thought he had next because he certainly had the skills.

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