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Akon thinks Chris Brown could have been this generation’s Michael Jackson, but that his alleged gang ties have prevented him from doing so.

On Monday (November 14), the “Soul Survivor” singer appeared on the latest episode of Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast, and the topic of MJ came up. Akon noted that the only entertainer even coming close to his legacy would have been Breezy – had it not been for the people he surrounded himself with.

“In this day and age, the only person, in my opinion, that could’ve achieved just as great of a legacy as [Michael Jackson], to me, would’ve been Chris Brown,” Akon told the NFL Hall of Fame tight end. “I just believe that Chris Brown wasn’t surrounded by the circle of creative people that Mike was surrounded by. Because Chris got the talent, he just needed the direction.”

He went on to elaborate, noting that the “gangbangers” in Brown’s circle weren’t able to harness his talent like Mike’s team did with him. “Imagine if Chris had Mike’s team? Just imagine that,” he continued. “It would be something different. But Chris, he got Bloods around him, he got little gangbangers around him. He don’t have the guidance. He’s smart, but he’s smart according to what this generation’s ‘smart’ attracts.”

Chris Brown has drawn comparisons to Michael Jackson for years, and has always cited the iconic singer as one of his biggest influences. Fivio Foreign, 50 Cent and even Justin Bieber are among the public figures who have called CB the Michael of his time (or “better,” in 50’s case) but the “Under The Influence” crooner feels he’s still “lightyears” behind his idol.

“My personal take on it is I wouldn’t even be breathing or even be able to sing a song if that man didn’t exist,” Brown said of the comparisons during an interview on Big Boy’s Neighborhood earlier this year. “I don’t know if they look at it as a Jordan-Kobe thing, but I couldn’t even look at it. He’s lightyears ahead. There is no competing with him.”

As for his alleged gang ties, the rumors have long persisted that Chris Brown is affiliated with the Bloods – flames he’s fanned himself with [since-deleted] videos throwing up Fruit Town Piru gang signs and using words like “bracking” on his posts. However, he’s never outright claimed the affiliation, and previously denied involvement when directly asked during an MTV News interview with Sway Calloway.

“When you’re in LA and you’re around people, you meet everybody — you meet Crips, you meet Bloods, especially in this industry that I’m in,” CB said in the 2014 interview. “I’m not in the Country world. I’m not in the all-the-way Pop world. You in Hip Hop and R&B and all of that meshes together, especially when you’re in these events or these places where everybody can be there. I’m cordial.”

Akon & Michael Jackson Were Planning To Open Music Schools In Africa

Elsewhere in his chat with Shannon Sharpe, Akon expressed regret at giving Jeezy the song “Soul Survivor,” saying it could have been his own hit record.

“One record that I gave away that I felt. ‘Damn. I shoulda kept’ was ‘Soul Survivor,’” he said. “I gave it and I said, ‘Man, I shoulda kept this record, God!’”

The 2005 single off Jeezy’s Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would go on to become one of The Snowman’s biggest hits.