By: AALIYAH MINNIEWEATHER
For the past 15 years, Rihanna has enjoyed a very successful music career accompanied with popular hits, albums, and a massive fan- or should I actually say “stan” base. Her status in the music world and pop culture has elevated even more in the past decade, with her, Beyonce, and Nicki Minaj being the most prolific black women in music in the last 12 years.
Rihanna’s catalogue as of currently, consists of 10 studio albums (if you want to include the remix albums), 82 singles and EPs (extended plays), 12 compilation albums, and 13 videos. After 8 proper pop studio albums, the whole world is waiting on Rihanna’s return with her ninth album, which is referred to as ‘R9’ as of right now. Rihanna, just as much as anybody else, is allowed to take as many breaks as she wants to. Lately, her focus has been her brand and her fashion lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty. The main reason for her fans’ high-level anticipation for her return is because ‘R9’ was announced directly by her in 2018, to be released sometime in 2019. The proclamation didn’t come to fruition and now her fans are hungrier than ever, which lead some to ask this question:
Will ‘R9’ ever come?
The hopeful answer to this answer to this question, seems to be ‘yes’.
In an article titled, “Rihanna’s ‘R9’ Album: Everything We Know So Far” written by Heather Snowden, published by Highsnobiety, it is reported that, “singer-songwriter Skylar Grey hopped on Instagram to share some tunes she’s been working on, including a reggae-influenced song with Diplo and RiRi.” Grey is credited in the article as saying, “I was working with Diplo on a song for Rihanna. Wrote this with a guy named Hymn. […] This was when Rihanna was supposedly doing some kind of reggae album. I don’t know if she’s still making a reggae album or what, but this is a song we did for it. I don’t have the whole song, I’m just going to play you a piece of it, and it probably won’t sound great because it’s an iPhone recording of the speakers.” If you’ve followed Rihanna since the early days of her career or have indulged in a brief life history research about her, you would know that she is originally from Barbados and moved to the states when she was about 15, hence the reggae influence in much of her catalogue. If Skylar Grey is to be believed, Rihanna will be tracing directly back to her roots and this upcoming album will be reggae-influenced in its entirety.
A couple of months ago, Rihanna took a minute to announce to her fans that music was still a passion of hers and that she hasn’t completely neglected the process of creating her next album. In an article published by Billboard, titled “Rihanna Hasn’t Forgotten About ‘R9’, Says Navy Can Expect It Sooner: ‘Music Is Still My Baby’”, and written by Heran Mamo, she is reported as saying, “I love making music, so I never neglect it. I always get to it and get back to it. But there’s other things on the carousel now, so I have to pay attention to everything and stay on top of everything. I’m just that way, and music sometimes takes a hit naturally because these other things are crucial in terms of timelines and production, and there’s so much that people will never understand that goes on behind the scenes.” She also said, “Music is still my first love, so I can’t wait to put something out that I’m really proud of and excited about. It is probably gonna be sooner than my fans think, but I’m just gonna leave that alone…. I got enough stress and questions and ‘R9, where’s the album?’ comments. They don’t leave me alone, but I haven’t neglected them. I still gotchu, music is still my baby.” I believe that Rihanna is gracious enough to not leave her fans hanging when it comes to releasing new music, no matter how much they irritate her about it. After all, she spent about the first 7 years of her career releasing albums and projects back to back, every year. Whether she did this because she was trying to keep her momentum or she genuinely liked releasing things, we don’t know. But, clearly Rihanna is very efficient when it comes to releasing her music and feeding her fans. And because she spent so many years releasing songs and albums at first, a break was much needed on her part, especially since she had done a great job establishing herself.
Regardless of anything, in the end, customers won’t mind that they had to wait so long because according to Rihanna, the wait will be for good reason. In an article titled “Rihanna promises her new album will be “worth the wait””, written by Will Richards and published by NME, she’s reported as saying, “I’m always working on new music. Just because I haven’t released an album in a few years doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on it.” She continued on, saying, “I’m not just going to put music out because people are craving it. I’m going to make it worth the wait – and it will be worth the wait.” She indeed makes a point when she basically says that sometimes, fans can be way too entitled and needy when it comes to asking for music from their favorite artists whether they be a rookie or a veteran. Sure, it seems some artists neglect their careers and forget that they are artists first, and celebrities second. However, that isn’t the case with Rih. She now has to operate an entire lingerie line, a clothing line, and a makeup line. We also can’t forget that she initially spent a whole decade releasing music. If there’s one particular person in the business that deserves to rest on her laurels for the rest of her life and work on other things, it’s Rihanna. Later in the article by Richards, he reports on Rihanna making a point that everything she does, it has to be outstanding and worthwhile. She said, “That’s why I will never put an album out for the sake of it or do a movie for the sake of it or a fashion collaboration for the sake of it. I have to believe in it.” And I think we can relate to her on that one when it comes to doing something that’s our job. Why settle for being just good, average, or mediocre just because you can, when you can be absolutely great?
Needless, we probably won’t have to wait too long for R9 to be released. At least, I hope not.
If fate is on our side, the album will hopefully be out late this year or sometime next year.
That seems pretty likely, if you ask me.