Rihanna and Chris Brown raised eyebrows this week when they unveiled a musical collaboration on two songs three years after his notorious beatdown: He appears on a remix of her hit "Birthday Cake," while she cameos on Breezy's "Turn Up the Music" remix.
But if you're wondering who got the ball rolling on the whole reunion, The-Dream—who produced the "Birthday Cake" remix—has the answer for you…
That would be Ri-Ri.
"It was Rih's idea," the hitmaker tells Billboard. "[Rihanna] is a friend of mine. And it's like, 'You wanna do something? Then cool, let's do it.' I don't know how she got the logistics and how it happened—maybe she'll talk about it one day. I showed up at the studio, and it was like, 'All right, cool, let's finish this record,' which we probably should have finished the first time we did it."
According The-Dream, he approached the project solely on its musical merits and ditched any controversial baggage that came along with it.
"For me, it's just music: two talented people doing…two records together, and that's what it was," he says. "It wasn't about an incident that happened."
But he adds that the ex-couple's collaboration points to something else.
"I think [the topic] that should be more on the tongues is: How do we proclaim to be a nation of forgiving…but we can't actually do it?" he asks. "It actually makes you look weaker than your adversary, if you don't have the power to forgive but you lie and say that you did."
"If [Rihanna] can forgive," he says, "that's where she is mentally. As a friend, it's like, 'OK, cool. Let's roll.'"
OK, cool—sure. But will the public be able to forgive?