Brown remains on probation for the Rihanna incident, so any legal issues become much more significant. Just this year, he was investigated and made to do 1,000 additional hours of community service when the service he supposedly completed was called into question. A fender bender in L.A., also this year, with new girlfriend Karruche Tran became news when it was revealed that Brown’s license was from Virginia, not California, and that he handed the other driver Tran’s license instead. The other driver later complained that Brown called her a bitch. (Charges were ultimately dropped). Neighbors in Brown’s Hollywood Hills neighborhood complained about “artistic” graffiti painted on his house, and his neighbors in an L.A. condo he previously lived in complained about loud music, dogs and Brown parking his cars in handicapped spaces.
Earlier this month, in yet another Twitter rant, Brown called out celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and Wendy Williams for talking about him on her show. All told, he’s keeping his lawyer, Mark Geragos, quite busy. The scene from this latest arraignment was reminiscent of many of Pac’s troubled media apperances– although Brown was more restrained than Pac was in some of his more scandalous moments. A front page photo of Shakur giving a photographer the finger after being shot in New York City is now classic.
Brown appeared almost frail as he was escorted out of the courtroom with security through a screaming crowd of “Team Breezy” supporters. He waved, but it’s clear from his appearance that his struggles are taking a toll. He no longer looks as happy or as healthy as he once did. It remains to be seen if Brown can have the cultural impact through his music that Shakur did. It also remains to be seen if the negative energy that dogs him will be dissipated by better choices and maturity or if the incidents will keep escalating, as they did with Shakur, leading to his untimely death on a Vegas street.
Fame comes with many rewards, but also with many challenges. Will Brown be the next Tupac? Only if he, or the people around him, continues to allow certain people, influences and situations to overrule his significant talent and erode what could be a legendary career. As many who watched Shakur’s stumbles in the 90’s recall, it’s a thin line between fame and infamy and it’s one easily crossed.