Album Update: Rihanna’s Dancehall-Inspired ‘R9’ Is Coming Together

Rihanna's #1s Ranked
We revisit, review and rank all of the biggest hits of RiRi's decade-long career.

2018 may be the year Rihanna returns to music. The 30-year-old mixed things up when she dropped her eighth album, Anti, in 2016. After years of riding supersized pop beats to the upper reaches of the charts, she went in a different direction on the hip-hop and R&B-infused project. Her decision paid off. The LP’s lead single, “Work,” became her second-longest running number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album has gone triple platinum in the US. It is safe to assume she will continue exploring different territory this time around. In an interview with Vogue earlier this year, she hinted that she would be paying tribute to her Caribbean roots when it is time to drop R9. The siren listed the Jamaican-born Supa Dups as an inspiration but remained fairly tight-lipped about what to expect.

Rolling Stone did a bit more digging into the release and unearthed some exciting details they shared today (July 19). In particular, it seems RiRi has been working on the project for more than a year now. Speaking to a variety of sources who are allegedly involved with the LP, they learned the diva has amassed upwards of 500 records. “They’ve been having writing camps and trying to keep them quiet for almost a year and a half now. I’ve been flying to Miami, flying to L.A., cutting records nonstop for this project,” one source said. The end goal is to land on 10 songs that will make up the final tracklist.

“Every artist, every producer, every songwriter in Jamaica or of Jamaican descent has been working on [Rihanna’s album] and has little snippets of publishing or production credits on it,” a source revealed. Producers including R. City, Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor and Tyshane “Beam” Thompson and singers such as Kranium and Chronixx are rumored to be involved. Apparently, Ri’s team has already whittled the hefty number tracks down to about eight, but they aren’t totally satisfied yet. “Her A&R is still asking for records,” they said.

News of Rihanna’s latest venture is still forthcoming, but major labels are already preparing for the impact of the release. As evidenced by previous hits, the icon has the ability to shift the sound of pop music, and no one wants to fall behind. One producer claims he is being asked “if I had any songs that [Rihanna] didn’t take.” However, it is worth noting that the superstar is rumored to be simultaneously readying two albums. If true, it is assumed that the second LP will be more pop-oriented. Read the rest of the article here and revisit “Work” below!

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