Super-Dirty Brian McKnight Song Gets Super-Awful New Title

Not all denial is bad. Here’s an example.

Last week, people were attempting to tell me that R&B crooner Brian McKnight was trying to make an unusual career comeback with the release of an “adult mixtape.” And then these same people alerted me that this track was called “If You’re Ready to Learn,” and may or may not have been about teaching many a non-academic thing to a lady. And then over the next few days, these same people spoke of alleged covers and remixes of this song, suggesting that it was picking up steam and becoming shockingly popular. And then even more people told me that he was invited to perform his allegedly nasty song at the AVN awards, the event that honors the finest in the porn world. Yes, these statements were being thrown in my direction, and then confirmed by my eyes, ears, and the Internet, but not my heart. I didn’t want to believe it, so I didn’t.

And then yesterday’s announcement. The song “If You’re Ready to Learn” had made its way from YouTube to iTunes, but rebranded in perhaps the worst possible way imaginable. Its new title:

“iFUrReadyToLearn (C.A.T.S.)”

I’d successfully blocked out the previous news by listening to my three-song playlist of “Back at One,” “One Last Cry,” and “Anytime” at high volume, but this update about the song not only becoming an official single but being spelled in a completely irresponsible way made me borderline ill. I grew up loving Brian McKnight. I loved the way he would wear linen and slowly spin in circles during an instrumental break, and every now and then wander through a field. That’s the Brian I love, not the one who uploads his own videos to YouTube and doesn’t walk through fields wearing linen anymore. I know it’s cool to listen to new music and be hip to the latest trending topic and laugh at completely insane things, but if you ever do me one favor, just pretend like Brian McKnight never came back. Remember him for his ’90s glory, not his attempt to be Trey Songz’s freaky uncle.

I’m going to be so mad when he tells us what “C.A.T.S.” stands for. I’m already mad. Damn you, Brian.

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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