The moment #RihannaNavy has been waiting for has almost arrived. But no fear Rihanna fans, the time is near (we think). With dozens of rumors concerning Rihanna’s upcoming album ‘R8‘, we thought it would be helpful to compile what we know, what we don’t know, and what everyone is hoping for. It’s almost been 3 years since Rihanna dropped Unapologetic, so expectations are assumably high. But we think Rihanna has and will rise to the occasion, because after 10 years of being in the industry, the Barbadian talent has only become better with age. So, without further delay, here is What We Know About Rihanna’s Upcoming Album ‘R8’.
1. “It’s going really, really great.”
According to Rihanna, that is. And it’s probably true. We don’t think Rihanna would release anything she isn’t proud of, which could likely be the reason R8 is far past it’s original release date. But as the saying goes, all good things come with time, and having been in the industry for 10 years now, Rihanna knows when an album needs some work. According to Rihanna, her intention for the album is timelessness, for the songs to not only represent this current chapter in her career, but to also make a lasting impact in pop music. Above all, we want Rihanna to make an album she’s proud of. And it looks like she’s doing just that.
2. The 3 singles: FourFiveSeconds, American Oxygen, Bitch Better Have My Money
Rihanna has hit the magic number of singles typically released before the drop of an entire album. With three singles out, all wonderfully different from the other, fans highly anticipate that R8 will come out soon. Out of the several rumors circulating, some people are saying that the reason R8 has yet to drop is due to the fact that Rih Rih’s already released singles have failed to make a large impact on the charts, or manage to stick in people’s favor. Granted, this being said only in consideration of how popular and contagious Rihanna’s singles have been in the past, but it is a keen observation nonetheless. Though, from the sounds of Rihanna’s recent singles, we’re thinking the young talent has a different agenda than pop stardom: we think she wants to make a difference. And we’re behind her all the way.
3. She’s been busy.
Rihanna has been testing the patience of her fans this year by putting off the release of R8, but it’s a necessary trade-off for being able to pursue other interests. You can find Rihanna’s name in department stores, specifically the perfume aisle. The young entrepreneur has been dipping her toes in other industries for awhile, but now, she’s taking her ventures more seriously, and hopes to become more of a fashion icon than she already is. We don’t think this will mean a break from music, but we can now understandably see why Rihanna’s album is taking awhile to drop. R8 has moved from the back burner to being Rihanna’s next big thing to happen, but in the mean time, check out her bubbly new scent RiRi!
4. Rihanna released four albums in November.
There are a few reasons to be hopeful for a Fall 2015 release, one of them being that Rihanna has released her last four albums exclusively in November. Another reason to think that she will be gracing us with R8 in just two months is that she teased the album last year on Black Friday. Why would Rihanna tease R8 a full year in advance? We’re not sure. But Rihanna has recently said, that after being in the industry for 10 years, she’s looking to celebrate with her fans. And what better way to celebrate than releasing R8 this fall? So, if Rihanna hasn’t dropped an album by Thanksgiving, be sure to roll out of your turkey stupor to check for R8 on Black Friday.
5. Big Sean, Sam Smith, and Kanye, Oh My!
In just a few years, collaborations between musicians have become a staple for building album hype, boosting ticket sales, and landing at the top of the charts. So, the question remains: Who has Rihanna been working with for R8? We have already been blessed with three singles off R8, one of which features Kanye West, who also acts as executive producer of the upcoming record. The same single includes Sir Paul McCartney, who donates the simple strum behind Rihanna and Kanye’s “acoustic trap” ballad. It’s been rumored that Big Sean will appear on R8 since heposted a picture of them together in the studio, and since Rihanna doesn’t appear on his new record, we assume he is on hers. Another possible contributing voice is Sam Smith, who claims to know more about the album than most people, alluding that he was a part of it. And maybe some songwriting contribution from Florence? It would be amazing if these two incredible women got together for R8.
6. She’s traveling through both charted and uncharted territory.
For her new album, Rihanna has been in contact with Jamaican dancehall singer Popcaan and DJ Dre Skull, two artists who could definitely put an authentic, Caribbean spin on R8. The Haitian superstar could certainly utilize her roots to put soul into the record, and as we saw ten years ago with the release of “Pon de Replay”, Rihanna knows how to do it. But in addition to already charted territory, we can already see Rihanna going to new depths on R8. On “FourFiveSeconds”, Rihanna creates an entirely new genre—“acoustic trap”—by layering the simple strumming of Paul McCartney with her and Kanye’s verses of typical rap content. Similarly, “B!tch Better Have My Money” put a dark twist on the typical summer anthem, proving Rihanna isn’t aiming to create a purely pop-friendly record. We’re excited to see what else Rihanna has in store for R8, because from what we’re hearing, it’s not going to sound like anything else she’s done before.
7. Surprise release on Tidal?
According to a few reports, the reason R8 is taking so long to drop could be due to the fact that Tidal—Jay-Z’s new music streaming service—has the reigns on its release. We have no idea if this is true, but because enough people are saying it and Rihanna shares a longtime affiliation with Jay-Z, we don’t doubt it. In a pretty assured article by Mic mag, it’s stated that R8 is set up for a surprise release. And since this has been the era of surprise album drops by the industry’s biggest names, we seriously don’t doubt that one either. So, will R8 have a surprise release through Tidal? We think it’s likely, and above all, we hope the surprise comes soon.
8. And finally…Tour with Kanye?
Okay, we’re not just dreaming. I’m sure you remember when the rumors started, following a charity auction hosted by Rihanna. Listings for both a “Rihanna Tour Experience” and “Kanye West Tour Experience” package were held up for auction, with similar descriptions on the tags: “Be Kanye West’s special front row VIP guest for his upcoming North American 2015 tour. Experience a rare opportunity meet & greet with the icon.” Neither of the artists made a comment as to why these items were held up for auction without any previous tour announcement, and none have been made since. Kanye is the executive producer of Rihanna’s upcoming album, so really, we think it’s possible. Not to mention the game-changing joint Glow in the Dark Tour that took place back in 2008, where Kanye featured Rihanna as a prime guest. Could there be a Glow in the Dark II in the works? We think it’s possible, but even if it isn’t, we desperately hope these two decide to tour soon.