He began his music career as a member of the R & B group New Edition.
A pioneer of New Jack Swing music, Brown released his debut solo album Don't Be Cruel in 1988. With hits like "My Prerogative", the album made Brown famous. The following year he contributed a song to the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack.
He married pop-R&B singer Whitney Houston in July 1992. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Brown's drug and alcohol troubles threatened to overshadow his music.
In February 2004 Brown was arrested and jailed in Georgia on a parole violation related to a previous drunk driving conviction.