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    Carry On, Chris Brown, Carry On

    Chris Brown, Twitter http://twitter.com/MECHANICALDUMMY

    Chris Brown is on the up and up.

    At the singer's first checkup hearing since he was sentenced for attacking Rihanna in February, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg said she had received "an extremely favorable progress report" on him from the probation department.

    Brown, who arrived early for his afternoon appearance today, was sentenced in August to 180 days of community labor (which he's been serving in his home state of Virginia), five years' probation and ordered to complete a one-year antidomestic violence program.

    So far, he's keeping up with the court's expectations. Schnegg said Brown has provided the court with DNA samples, paid all fines and court fees, performed more than 100 hours of community service and completed seven domestic violence classes to date.

    The thumbs-up from the judge came at a great time for Brown, who's been busy shooting music videos and working on his new album at a pace that has rivaled only, well, Rihanna.

    Plus, he just kicked off his Fan Appreciation tour to thank the loyal "Run It" lovers out there for sticking by him through this turbulent year. He has carte blanche to travel within the U.S. but would need to get the judge's permission to leave the country.

    Brown's next progress hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18.

    And as he prepares for the release of his fourth studio album, Rihanna is kicking off the publicity for the "rollercoaster of emotions" that is Rated R, also her fourth studio effort and her first since 2007.

    "I was having mixed emotions about what I wanted to talk about because I didn't really want to talk about love at all, because I thought that it was kind of expected and I didn't really believe in love at that point," the Barbados-born songbird told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM morning show today.

    But talking about what happened to her and sharing her feelings has worked like a tonic.

    "Yes, absolutely," she replied when Ryan asked whether she had started to believe in love again. "Because I realized that it was real. It was very real. When I couldn't think about anything else, that definitely solidified to me that, you know, love is real."

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    Catch up on Rihanna's side of the story right here.