Wonderland.

RIHANNA’S R9

Our favourite mogul and musical icon says her new album might be closer than we think.

Rihanna Fenty R9

via @badgalriri

Rihanna Fenty R9
via @badgalriri

2020 is the year of the comeback, it seems all of our faves have crept out of the woodwork with the fiercest tunes we’ve heard in a hot minute, sonically pissing on the lamppost of the next decade. Could you imagine how bleak the last few months would’ve been without them? Still, as all of pop’s biggest names resurrect their icon status, a certain beloved mogul is being a little too quiet for our liking.

Of course, we could only be talking about Rihanna. It’s hard to imagine a time where we’d receive a Fenty-approved bounty of pop classics almost every year, but that was then, and this is now – not that we can blame her for focusing on her other creative empires. In the last decade Rihanna has not only cemented her place at the top of the fashion pyramid – what with her excellent street-style concoctions and very own fashion house of Fenty – but also conquered the beauty industry too.

With outlets teasing that RiRi’s long-long-long-awaited R9 might be in our midst sooner than expected, Wonderland have decided to do a little digging of our own. Rih-Navy, this one’s for you!

“It’s going to be worth it.”

Fans can drive themselves to insanity speculating all the release details tied to their fav’s upcoming projects, sometimes ruining them all together with leaks or other nasty business. Rihanna’s camp has to be securer than any banking vault in the world as no snippets, lyrics or images have left her circle. Some fans would be inclined to deny it’s existence entirely, what with the recent launch of Savage X Fenty and Fenty Skin, but we can confirm it is on it’s way. “I am always working on music and when I am ready to put it out in the way that I feel fit, it’s gonna come out,” Rihanna told Entertainment Tonight.

“You’re not going to be disappointed when it happens. It’s going to be worth it. I’m not just gonna put it out just because people are waiting. It’s taken this long, I’m gonna make it worth it.”

Sound

Though the genre has died a death in modern music, with artists pulling from the deepest recesses of all styles to make something new, Rihanna has been fairly upfront about where she’s taking her sound this era. In an interview with Vogue back in November, Rihanna shared she was working on a reggae-inspired album, putting her own twist on the rocksteady style: “It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae,” she said. With some allusions to bashment too, perhaps we could even expect a few dubby tracks to be on the cards? We could definitely see Rihanna rocking it behind the decks, maybe even MCing herself.

Release Date

This one’s a little murky. Rih told Entertainment Tonight that fans can expect something sooner than they think, though declined to give a date for fear of letting down the Navy. “In the past I’ll just shoot an album out in three months, but now I don’t have the luxury of doing that because I have other babies,” she told Access Hollywood over the weekend. If you’re feeling down about the news, don’t worry. Remember how long we waited for ANTI? You can do this!

Exclusive

Hitmaking singer-songwriter Kamille, an ex-stockbroker who’s penned tunes for the likes of Little Mix, Stormzy and Mabel, revealed it’s kind of hard out here getting on the #R9 train. “I think she gets so many songs and the vibe must change every single day because she is just a queen and her mood changes with the weather – she can do whatever she wants,” she told the Daily Star’s Wired column.

”I’ve tried to get on the album. What I’ve heard is that it’s so good. So I am praying one of my songs made it. A lot of us artists have tried tirelessly to get songs on this album.” But who could these other artists be?

Collabs

Though Kamille may or may not have cracked the #R9 code, the rumour mill has certainly been churning, with names like The Neptunes (Pharrell), Starrah, RAYE and Nadia Rose hotly tipped to be involved with the top-secret project. It wouldn’t be a far cry to suggest Fenty ambassador’s such as Normani and Fenty Skin model A$AP Rocky are in the mix too. Though the fan responses are mixed, only time will tell.

Tour

One accidental slip, as reported by 97.1 AMP and NME, was a select few tour dates across the US. New York, Atlanta and Cleveland were just a few of the locations Rih was considering across April and October last year. Who knows what got in the way? With all music venues closed for the foreseeable, we won’t be getting our hopes up for anything else this year either.

Finished?

R9 was originally teased in 2018 – and given that Rih used to complete her Pop bibles in just months whilst on tour, many believe the hard part to be over. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Rihanna release without a little teasing. The singer has taken to her various social media’s a few times to let fans know she knows we’d consider selling kidneys for a spare ten-second snippet of anything on the project. One Instagram caption from December 2019 reads: “update: me listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it”, which of course sent fans into an absolute frenzy. If it wasn’t for COVID-19, who knows, we could be out vibing to it right now…

Words
Bailey Slater
RIHANNA’S R9

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