Chris Brown, born in Tappahannock, Virginia, started as a rapper. Chris took pride in his singing. At age 13 in 2002, Brown was discovered in his father's gas station by a production team who were looking for local talent. By August 2008, Brown, who had adapted the stage name "C Sizzle," and T.J. attracted the attention of Tina Davis, Def Jam Recordings' senior A&R executive, and auditioned them in front of Island Def Jam Music Group CEO Antonio "L. A." Reid. Afterwards, Reid offered to sign both of them on the spot but Brown claimed Allen had become "greedy" during the prolonged negotiations that spanned two months. Davis advised Brown not to sign the deal. Davis later lost her job due to restructuring after Island Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella Records merged. That same day, Brown hired her as his manager and moved in into her New Jersey home. After weeks of label searching, Brown had a deal with Jive Records, known for their pop and R&B artists such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and R. Kelly, by Christmas Eve 2008. He also dropped out of the 10th grade at Essex High School in Virginia in favor of tutoring. Brown recorded the album in Miami with Mark Pitts, the Jive A&R who signed Brown to the label. They recorded up to 50 songs. The album was initially titled Young Love, but the idea was discarded as "too kiddie".
"Run It!" takes place in a party setting, with Brown explaining, "It's really a guy checking for a girl, or a girl checking for a guy...asking to see if they can run it. If they can be eligible to be your girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever. 'Let me see if you can run it; show me what you got.'" "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" discusses the first conversation someone has with a girl: "Fellas, first thing they say when they see a girl is 'Yo! Yo!'. I'm saying it like that, but technically not like that. She takes my breath away, all I can say is 'Yo, let me just talk to you for a minute. Chill with me for a minute.'"