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For a few years there, Chris Brown seemed primed to be the pop star of his generation.
His self-titled debut moved more than 3 million copies after its 2005 release, he scored acting roles in Stomp the Yard, This Christmas and on The O.C. and even released a hit single, "No Air" with American Idol darling Jordin Sparks.
And his rise up the ranks was being mirrored by another young musician. Having been discovered in her native Barbados when two American record producers were vacationing there in 2004, Rihanna had a succession of quick hits with her 2005 dancehall-inspired tune "Pon de Replay," and "SOS" off her 2006 follow-up disc A Girl Like Me. By the time she was accepting Video of the Year at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards for the impossibly catchy "Umbrella" rumors that something was happening with Brown, her duet partner at the music network's annual shindig, had reached a deafening pitch.