The singer caused controversy when she teamed up with her ex-boyfriend for a remix of the song and to work on his track 'Turn Up The Music'.
Rihanna has now told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM radio show that she approached Brown about the duets.
"I reached out to him about doing 'Birthday Cake' because that's the only person that really, it made sense to do the record," she said. "Just as a musician, despite everything else, that was going to be the person.
"You know, I thought about rappers, and I've done that so many times, and the hottest R&B artist out right now is Chris Brown. So I wanted him on the track, and then in turn he was like, 'Why don't you do the remix to my track?' and it was a trade off."
Rihanna added that she doesn't want her fans and Brown's devotees to clash, saying: "We did two records. One for my fans. One for his fans. And that way our fans can come together. There shouldn't be a divide, you know? It's music, and it's innocent."
Brown was convicted of assault after an altercation with Rihanna in 2009.
Listen to Rihanna's 'Birthday Cake' featuring Chris Brown below: