Christopher Maurice Brown was born on May 5, 1989, in the small town of Tappahannock, Virginia, to Joyce Hawkins, a former day care center Director, and Clinton Brown, a corrections officer at a local prison. He has an older sister, Lytrell Bundy, who works in a bank. Music was always present in Brown's life beginning in his childhood. He would Listen to soul albums that his parents owned, and eventually began to show interest in the hip-hop scene.
After being signed to Jive Records in 2004, Brown began recording his self-titled debut studio album in February 2005. By May, there were 50 songs already recorded, 14 of which were picked to the final track listing. The singer worked with several producers and songwriters—Scott Storch, Cool & Dre and Jazze Pha among them—commenting that they "really believed in [him]". Brown also made some input on the album, receiving co-writing credits of five tracks. "I write about the things that 16 year olds go through every day," says Brown. "Like you just got in trouble for sneaking your girl into the house, or you can't drive, so you steal a car or something." The whole album took less than eight weeks to produce.
Released on November 29, 2005, the self-titled Chris Brown album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 154,000 copies. Chris Brown was a relative commercial success with the time; selling over two million copies in the United States—where it was certified two times platinum by the RIAA—and three million copies worldwide. The album's lead single, "Run It!", made Brown the first male act (since Montell Jordan in 1995) to have his debut single to reach the summit of the Billboard Hot 100—later remaining for four additionally weeks. Three of the other singles—"Yo (Excuse Me Miss)", "Gimme That" and "Say Goodbye"—peaked within the top twenty at the same chart.
On June 13, 2006, Brown released a DVD entitled Chris Brown's Journey, which shows footage of him traveling in England and Japan, getting ready for his first visit to the Grammy Awards, behind the scenes of his music videos and bloopers. On August 17, 2006, to further promote the album, Brown began his major co-headlining tour, The Up Close and Personal Tour. Due to the tour, production for his next album was pushed back two months. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital received $10,000 in ticket proceeds from Brown's 2006 "Up Close & Personal" tour. Brown has made appearances on UPN's One on One and The N's Brandon T. Jackson Show on its pilot episode.
In 2007, Brown founded the record label CBE (Chris Brown Entertainment or Culture Beyond Your Evolution), under Interscope Records. Brown has since signed frequent collaborator Kevin McCall, singer Sabrina Antoinette, former RichGirl member Sevyn Streeter, singer/songwriter Joelle James, and rock group U.G.L.Y.
On September 2, 2009, Brown spoke about the domestic violence case in a pre-recorded Larry King Live interview, his first public interview about the matter. He was accompanied to the interview by his mother, Joyce Hawkins, and attorney Mark Geragos, as he discussed growing up in a household with his mother being repeatedly assaulted by his stepfather. Brown said of hearing details of his assault of Rihanna, "I'm in shock, because, first of all, that's not who I am as a person, and that's not who I promise I want to be." Brown's mother said Brown "has never, ever been a violent person, ever" and that she does not believe in the cycle of violence. Brown said that it is "tough" for him to look at the famous photograph released of Rihanna's battered face, which may be the one image to haunt and define him forever, and that he still loved her. "I'm pretty sure we can always be friends," said Brown, "and I don't know about our relationship, but I just know definitely that we ended as friends." He stated he did not feel that his career was over, and described his relationship with Rihanna as having been like Romeo and Juliet, blaming the media attention in the aftermath of the assault for driving them apart. When asked if he had any memory of assaulting Rihanna, he said that he did not, but realized that it occurred, and was sorry for his actions. However, following criticism of saying he did not remember, he later said in a statement, "Of course I remember what happened. Several times during the interview, my mother said that I came to her right afterwards and told her everything." Brown said despite this, "[that night] was and still is a blur".
In May 2010, Brown released a collaborative mixtape with Tyga, titled Fan of a Fan. "Deuces", which features Tyga and Kevin McCall, was released from the mixtape in the United States on June 29, 2010. The song peaked at number one on US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven non-consecutive weeks, giving Brown his first number-one on the chart since his 2006 hit single, "Say Goodbye". It also peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. In August 2010, Brown starred alongside an ensemble cast, including Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen and T.I. in the crime thriller Takers, and also served as executive Producer of the film.
In 2011, Brown began dating aspiring model Karrueche Tran. In October 2012, Brown announced that he ended his relationship with Tran because he did not "want to see her hurt over my friendship with Rihanna." The day after the announcement, Brown released a video entitled "The Real Chris Brown", which features images of himself, Tran, and Rihanna, as Brown wonders, "Is there such thing as loving two people? I don't know if it's possible, but I feel like that."
On June 14, 2012, Drake and his entourage were involved in a scuffle with Brown at a nightclub called WIP in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. About eight people were injured during the brawl, including San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker, who had to have surgery to remove a piece of glass from his eye. Drake was not arrested. Brown's attorney alleged Drake was the instigator. In January 2013, Brown was involved in an altercation with Frank Ocean over a parking space, outside a recording studio in West Hollywood. Police officers in Los Angeles said that Brown was under investigation, describing the incident as "battery" due to Brown allegedly punching Ocean. Although Ocean alleged that Brown had threatened to shoot him, he said he would not press charges.
On October 30, 2013, Brown voluntarily decided to enter rehab. After Brown completed his 90 days, the judge ordered him to remain a resident at the Malibu treatment facility until a hearing on April 23, 2014. The deal was if Brown left rehab, he would go directly to jail. On March 14, 2014, Brown was kicked out of the rehab facility and sent to jail for violating internal rules. He was expected to be released on April 23, 2014, but a judge denied his release request from custody either on bail or his own recognizance. At his May 9, 2014 court date, Brown was ordered to serve 131 days in jail for his probation violation. He was sentenced to serve 365 days in custody; however, he was given credit for the 234 days he has already spent in rehab and jail. He was given early release from jail just after midnight on June 2, 2014, because of jail overcrowding calculations that count one day in custody as two days.
The leadership of the Iglesia ni Cristo, a Philippine-based religious sect, filed a fraud complaint against Brown for not appearing at a New Year's Eve show held at the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned Philippine Arena on December 31, 2014. The Iglesia ni Cristo's chief legal advisor, Glicerio Santos IV, acting on behalf of their Maligaya Development Corporation, who manages the Philippine Arena, requested assistance from Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on prosecuting the case. De Lima confirmed that she issued a Lookout Bulletin Order against Brown, meaning that he would have to confront and disprove the allegations of fraud in order to acquire an Emigration Clearance Certificate which would allow him to leave the country. In late afternoon of July 24, 2015, he was permitted to leave the Philippines. As of 2016, he is banned from entering Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
On June 24, Brown released a new song titled "Liquor". Shortly after, it was announced that "Liquor" was the first single from his seventh studio album. On August 22, 2015 the singer officially declares from his Twitter profile that the new album will be titled "Royalty" in honor of his daughter, Royalty Brown. On October 16 he has revealed the album cover, portraying Chris with Royalty in her arms in a black and white picture. On October 13, 2015, Brown announced that Royalty will be released on November 27, 2015. After it was revealed that the album has been pushed back to December 18, 2015, in exchange on November 27, 2015, he released a free 34-track mixtape called Before the Party as a prelude to Royalty, which features guest appearances from Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, Wale, Tyga, French Montana and Fetty Wap. On October 16, 2015, the album cover was revealed. The album was released on December 18, 2015, and it debuted at number 3 on the US Billboard 200, selling 184,000 units (162,000 in pure album sales) in its first week, marking an improvement over Brown's last three studio albums. It also became his seventh solo album consecutive top ten debut in the United States.
In the early hours of August 30, 2016, a woman called 911 to report that Brown had threatened her with a gun inside his house. Police were called, but Brown denied them entry without a warrant. When they returned with one, Brown refused them entry and began what news sources referred to as a "standoff" with the LAPD, including the robbery-homicide division and SWAT team. During this time, Brown was seen posting videos on Instagram, in which he rails against the police and the media coverage of the activity at his house. He denounced media reports that he was "barricaded" inside his house, complained about the helicopters flying overhead, and called the police "idiots" and "the worst gang in the world." He said that he was innocent and "What I do care about is you are defacing my name and my character and integrity". Brown was arrested and later released from jail on $250,000 bail. On September 1, 2016, Brown's Lawyer, Mark Geragos, stated that there was no standoff and that, with regard to the LAPD search, "nothing was found to corroborate her statement."
In February 2017, Tran was granted a temporary 100-yard restraining order against Brown, and eventually a 5-year restraining order against the singer, claiming he threatened to kill her.
Music critics have commended Brown’s introduction to R&B, recognizing his modern day adaptations as well as versatility. Vibe’s Iyana Robertson says "As traditional R&B flourished around him, the young singer began an evolution of the genre". She saw his debut single "Run It!" as a "prelude to what Brown would continue to do for the next decade: relentlessly disrupt the constructs of rhythm and blues." By his sophomore album Exclusive, she says he was "tapping more Electric up-tempos, swimming deep in Hip-hop waters and annihilating the Pop arena". Describing the Grammy Award winning F.A.M.E. as "his most diverse offering to date", she remarked "There was no level of musical flexibility comparable. There still isn’t."