It Sure Sounds Like Rihanna Is Starting Her Next Album Over From Scratch

It Sure Sounds Like Rihanna Is Starting Her Next Album Over From Scratch

Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show is just three days away, and she sat for an interview about it today with the show’s presenting sponsor, Apple Music. Speaking to Nadeska Alexis, RiRi said it’s been a huge challenge to narrow down her catalog into one 13-minute performance and “there’s probably about 39 versions of the setlist right now.” She also briefly addressed the subject of new music.

Rihanna hasn’t released an album since 2016’s Anti. New songs since then have been scarce; her recent pair of ballads from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever were her first releases since a minor PartyNextDoor collab in 2020. The focus has been on building her makeup and lingerie empire and having a baby with A$AP Rocky.

But for a long time there, Rihanna was working on an Anti follow-up, colloquially referred to as R9 by her fanbase. Way back in 2018, “every songwriter in Jamaica” reportedly was working on the album, which supposedly went heavy on the dancehall. In 2019 she confirmed R9 would be a reggae record. Now it seems like that material might be lost to the void.

During the Apple interview, Rihanna talked like someone who was just getting started on a new project. “Musically I’m feeling open,” she said. “I’m feeling open to exploring, discovering, creating things that are new, things that are different, things that are off, weird, might not ever make sense to my fans, the people that know the music I’ve put out. I just want to play. I want to have fun with the music.” That sounds like it could lead to something cool, but also: I want to hear all that music she was working on five years ago!

Check out the interview and a new promo for the halftime show below.

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