Arts & Entertainment

Rihanna drops new track with PartyNextDoor: Is R9 album on the horizon?

By Javier Herrero

Madrid, Mar 27 (efe-epa).- The surprise Friday release of Believe It, a PartyNextDoor track that features Rihanna, marks the musical reappearance of the Bajan pop sensation after three years of silence.

“We missed you,” one of many fans says after the Canadian R&B artist posted the track, included in his Partymobile album also released on Friday, on his Instagram page.

PartyNextDoor was also behind the last song released that featured Rihanna vocals with the hit Wild Thoughts by DJ Khalid.

Published in June 2017, it became one the most listened to songs of the year and reached number 2 in the US billboards.

Rihanna’s last album was released in 2016. Perhaps not her most commercial endeavour, Anti still remains the most loved by critics thanks to hits like Work, Needed Me, Kiss It Better or Love on the Brain.

Produced by Jeff Bhasker, Boi-1da, DJ Mustard and Hit-Boy, among many others, it was the result of a very long recording process that took over two years, the longest until then in her career.

The result was a departure from pop music and a revival of her Caribbean roots as the singer sought to push the boundaries she had built her popularity on.

With a strong presence of dancehall, as in previous albums, she pushed her quest to represent her heritage beyond production and sang in Jamaican patois.

Based on the information published so far, a strong infusion of reggae will once again star in R9, the provisional title that has been given to Rihanna’s ninth album.

She first confirmed a new album was in the making in 2018.

Rumours abound it could be even more experimental than the eclectic Anti LP.

“I like to look at it as a reggae-inspired or reggae-infused album. It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae. But you’re going to feel the elements in all of the tracks (…) Reggae always feels right to me. It’s in my blood. It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture, or my environment that I grew up in; it never leaves. It’s always the same high. Even though I’ve explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven’t really homed in on completely for a body of work,” Rihanna said in a recent interview with Vogue.

But amid the high anticipation 2019 would give Rihanna fans new music, the album never arrived.

That is not to say the artist has been on a sabbatical. The Bajan pop icon has in recent years become the richest female music artist in the world according to Forbes.

She has expanded her brand into fashion, becoming the first black female woman to head a luxury brand for LVMH when her Fenty brand partnered with the French conglomerate.

Under her luxury Maison, Rihanna makes jewellery, ready to wear, shoes and sunglasses.

“Everybody knows Rihanna as a wonderful singer, but through our partnership at Fenty Beauty, I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real C.E.O., and a terrific leader,” Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman, said in a statement in May 2019.

In the same year she told Interview magazine she intended to finish the R9 album over the summer.

“I’m really happy with a lot of the material we have so far, but I am not going to put it out until it’s complete. It makes no sense to rush it, but I want it out. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, ‘Even if I don’t have the time to shoot videos, I’m going to put an album out’,” she warned.

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