Chris Brown’s year got off to a rocky start when an argument with the-girlfriend Rihanna turned violent. Ever since he’s been doing his time - legally, professionally and publicly. While it remains unclear whether he'll ever fully drop his domestic-abuse baggage, his “I Can Transform Ya” video presents Brown finally trying to put his past behind him with a silly robo-danceathon.
Any doubt that “I Can Transform Ya” was inspired by the recent Transformers blockbusters disappears in the opening shot, when a zooming hotrod car transforms into Brown himself. If this is all just a brazen pitch for inclusion on the Transformers 3 soundtrack though, it’s a well-executed one.
Lil Wayne makes the scene early on, rapping “I can turn you from a human to a Carter” over Swizz Beatz’ layered production. Dance troupe Rej3ctz also adds extra spice, doing the twenty-first century robot all over a blank space that creates a hyper-masculine version of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” dancing. Brown is clearly looking to wow with slick dance moves and CGI splendor, hoping to sidestep journalistic naval-gazing trying to somehow tie this to Rihanna. The connection ain’t there.
Joseph Kahn took the directorial helm for “I Can Transform Ya,” the first single from Brown’s upcoming Graffiti (out Dec. 15). Kahn continues his string of 2009 hits like Lady GaGa’s ”LoveGame” and Eminem’s “We Made You.” He previously worked with Brown during the happier times of 2008 for “Forever.”
Verdict: 4/5 stars