Akon says he believes Chris Brown’s alleged affiliation with street gangs has prevented him from reaching the same level of fame and success that Michael Jackson attained during the peak of his career.
Making his comments on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast, the international singer-songwriter explained his take.
“In this day and age, the only person, in my opinion, that could’ve achieved just as great of a legacy as [Michael Jackson] would’ve been Chris Brown,” he told the sports commentator and NFL Hall of Famer. “I just believe that Chris Brown wasn’t surrounded by the circle of creative people that Mike was surrounded by. Because Chris got the talent, he just needed the direction.”
Akon, 49, added: “So, imagine if Chris had Mike’s team. Just imagine that. But Chris, he got Bloods around him. He got little gangbangers around him. He don’t have the guidance. He’s smart, but he’s smart in what this generation attracts.”
The “Locked Up” singer also says the 33-year-old superstar still “has the opportunity” to be on Jackson’s level. On the contrary, Sharpe did not agree, replying, “It’s too late now.” The host noted that Breezy is doing well for himself regardless.
Chris Brown has been rumored to be affiliated with the Bloods street gang for years. However, he’s denied any affiliation with gangs on several occasions, including during a 2014 MTV interview with Sway Calloway.
“When you in LA and you’re around people, you meet everybody,” Brown explained during the interview. “You meet Crips. You meet Bloods– especially in this industry that I’m in. I’m not in the country world. I’m not in the all-the-way pop world. You’re in Hip Hop; so Hip Hop and R&B, all of that kind of meshes together, especially when you’re in these events or in these places where everybody can be there. So I’m cordial at the end of the day. It’s never disrespect, it’s just cordial.”