By Courtney E. Smith
Rihanna’s last album, Unapologetic, came out in November 2012. Considering she hasn’t gone a year without releasing new music since 2007, it’s like we’re in some kind of terrible Rihanna draught. It would be a major surprise not to get a new Rihanna album in 2014—and MTV is already calling it a “most anticipated pop album of the year.” We tried to anticipate RiRi’s every move and predict what paths she might take for her 8th studio album.
The “Roc Nation Is The New Motown” Route
We already have reason to believe this is the road Rihanna is heading down, considering she just dropped a new single with fellow Roc Nation management artist Shakira (which is sure to be added on to any new Rihanna album) and since Roc Nation label & management signee DJ Mustard said he’s been working on a new album with her.
Collabs we’d like to see from that pool of artists include: another banger with Calvin Harris (we’re not over “We Found Love” yet), J. Cole on a verse, Meek Mill on a verse, a Haim remix and some kind of crazy, sexy, over-the-top Kylie Minogue track. And we’re looking at potential production partners in the Roc Nation stable like Switch (Major Lazer, Beyoncé, M.I.A.); Kuk Harrell, a longtime RiRi vocal producer (Justin Bieber, Usher, Mary J. Blige); and No I.D. (Kanye West’s production mentor, Common, Jay Z).
It’s a lot like that Motown model, where Berry Gordy had his in-house stable of songwriters, producers and artists and they all worked together to make the biggest soul hits imaginable. Minus the part where Gordy kept most of the money.
Using Extreme Sex, But With The Idea of Normalizing Female Sexuality Route
Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking Rihanna is going to pop out an album full of ballads. If her Instagram account taught us nothing in 2013, it was that Rihanna does not give an F. Or a PH, in her case. She’s bringing us monster club hits. An interesting conversation popped up around the release of her self-directed “Pour It Up” video after the clip’s original director, Vincent Haycock, took his name off the project. It was reviewed as being sort of not great and overly sexualized, but hold the presses: What if we’re in for much, much more of that from Rihanna because she’s trying to normalize the conversation around female sexuality?