The Latest (1/27):
Read on for everything else you need to know about Rihanna's ANTI, including its dramatic backstory, list of rumored collaborators and much more below.
Rihanna tweeted in late 2014 that "Any news about #R8 will be delivered directly from me!!!!," referring to the working title of her eighth-studio album that eventually was named ANTI. It is the follow up to 2012's Unapologetic. There were rumors that the album would be delivered before Christmas 2014, but RiRi has since confirmed it is slated for some still-undisclosed point in 2015.
Around January 26, sources began saying that Rihanna's new album was coming in the next couple of days. When it possibly leaked on Tidal on the 27th, the rumors were kicked into overdrive that it might come as early as the following Friday on January 29. It's not clear whether the unintentional leak spurred an early release, but late on January 27 Rihanna released the album in full via Tidal for users to stream and to download for free with a code.
The album appears to be an exclusive to Tidal (for a week, according to Forbes) and isn't available on other services like Apple Music or Spotify--though, "Work" is available to buy and stream on Apple Music.
After ANTI seemed to momentarily leak on Tidal, fans took screenshots of an alleged tracklist of the album. It has since been confirmed with its collaborators, see below:
2. "James Joint"
3. "Kiss It Better"
7. "Needed Me"
8. "Yeah, I Said It"
9. "Same ‘Ol Mistakes"
10. "Never Ending"
11. "Love On The Brain"
13. "Closer To You"
Deluxe version tracks:
14. "Goodnight Gotham"
16. "Sex With Me"
Rihanna had been pretty coy about the R8 recording process. In October 2014, she posted pics in the studio “rappin’ n prayin’.” On November 25, we got a tease of a song titled “Kiss It Better,” written by Glass John (who worked on Chris Brown’s X) and produced by Jeff Bhasker (who won a GRAMMY for fun.’s “We Are Young”). In the 15-second tease, we see Nuno Bettencourt laying down a guitar track.
RiRi also posted another track on Instagram with lyrics like, "Ain't none of this sh*t promised, ain't nothing promised, ain't none of this sh*t certain, ain't none of it certain." This could be the track “I’ve Been Searching for Something to Ignite Me When I’m Alone,” which was first mentioned by DJ Skee. Skee reported that Rihanna had played 10 tracks for her label, with that song potentially being the first single.
Rihanna also has been toying with her fan group, the Navy, posting pics like this lady (we’ll call her a “funky grandma”) with the caption: “The ‘Where is #R8?’ starter pack.”
-"FourFiveSeconds" With Kanye West and Paul McCartney (not included on the final album)
The acoustic anthem is unexpected turn for the pop star, teaming up with Kanye West and Paul McCartney where we here her vocals at their rawest ever. Rih confirmed the track as the first single from her upcoming album on Twitter. It was originally revealed as the first single, but that idea seemed to have gotten scrapped.
-"Bitch Better Have My Money" (not included on the album)
Without warning on March 25, the pop star posted on her Instagram account what looked like either a new album or single cover teasing the date "March 26." It turned out to be the cover for the album's second single that went to No. 1 on U.S. iTunes Top Songs chart when it dropped a day later. Listen to it in CD quality here.
-"American Oxygen" (not included on the album)
The tribal-inspired, Alex Da Kid-produced track was used in NCAA March Madness promos in 2015. Listen to it in full here.
A short 1:12 interlude track, "James Joint" at times feels like a midi track, haunting and slow but animated, like a delicate scene in an anime or video game. "I'd rather be smoking weed whenever we breathe / Every time you kiss me," she opens the song. "Don't say that you miss me / Just come get me / Don't know why just know I want to." Listen to the full interlude here.
Speaking of interludes, Rihanna gave V Magazine a tiny bit more info about her album. "Dude, I'm in love with my interludes," she said. "'James Joint' is on constant repeat. [The album is] soulful and aggressive, whether it's lyrically, musically, or just the tone of my voice."
-"Only If for a Night," retitled "Goodnight Gotham"
Women's Wear Daily revealed that "Only If for a Night" will premiere via a short film for Dior starring RiRi, the new face of the high-fashion brand. Get the first taste of the song and film right here.
-"Work" featuring Drake
Deemed the official "first single" off ANTI, the minimal reggae-pop track was premiered with little warning on BBC Radio 1 on January 27. It's a suitable follow-up to Drake and Rih's island-flavored collab "What's My Name."
On DJ Skee’s radio program, he told listeners, “For overall sound, you can still expect the big ballad vocal songs accustomed to Rihanna, but I would say they’re almost mixed with hard-hitting beats. A little edgier than typical Rihanna, if that makes any sense. In terms of producers, she’s been in with a lot of people. They still haven’t announced or determined the final track listing because there have been a lot of records cut, but I know Stargate is definitely in the mix.”
(Of course, Rihanna immediately discredited the report, tweeting: “@Dash_Radio NOBODY IS TUNING IN TO LISTEN TO YOUR F***ERY!!!” followed by her disclaimer that any info would come directly from her.)
Ne-Yo offered a little bit more info to Capital XTRA, saying, “The stuff I’ve heard is absolutely incredible. I can’t speak on what it sounds like because I’ll get in trouble, but I definitely feel like people are gonna enjoy it. Anybody that’s a Rihanna fan is gonna stay a Rihanna fan, and anybody that’s not might become a Rihanna fan.”
And “Diamonds” songwriter Sia told VH1 about a track that she wanted to keep for herself: “There’s one that I just gave to Rihanna. [Laughs] Like as soon as I played it for her manager, he flipped over it, and [when] he left the house I felt sick. I was like, ‘F*ck.’ It was going to be on my record, but he was over, and I was playing him loads of jams. And I was like, ‘Maybe you’ll like this one…’”
In February 2015, Florence Welch, of Florence + The Machine, divulged Rihanna has a new track on the record that samples "one of [her] favorite songs from Ceremonials." Fans speculated the song is "Only If for a Night" when Rihanna reportedly registered a new song called "A Night" on ASCAP featuring Welch on songwriting credits. The song was later confirmed by Women's Wear Daily, though eventually was titled "Goodnight Gotham."
"I was so thrilled 'cause I'm such a huge fan," Flo said. "She sent me the song and I said of course. It's a sample. I don't want to tell everything about the song, but I think it's a sample...I love it when stuff like that happens. When people re-imagine your music, I love that when it has all these different forms." See her chat about this at 8:20:
On March 17, 2015, Rih gave a quick update on her album, saying it'll be worth the wait because it's going to be "timeless."
"I've made a lot of songs that are just really, really big songs," she told MTV News. "Not that they weren't real music, but I wanted to focus on things that felt real, that felt soulful, that felt forever. I wanted songs that I could perform in 15 years. I want an album that I could 15 years, not any songs that were burnt out. I find that I get on stage now, I don't want to perform a lot of my songs because they don't feel like me so I want to make songs that are timeless."
On October 8, Rihanna said she still isn't finished with her eagerly awaited eighth album. "It's not done!" she told NME in a cover story. "To me it's never done until it's done. Until the final moment." If fans are growing impatient, she added that she "can’t wait to give them something great," so expect big things.
Despite seeming like Rihanna's new album is just around the corner, on December 14 it appeared that the highly-anticipated album is still in the process of coming together, according to Rih's "Diamonds" songwriter Sia.
Speaking to BBC’s Jo Whiley, Sia revealed Rihanna recently met with her to hear a few songs that could be ANTI additions. "She came over to my house the other night," the singer-songwriter says. "The other night she came over and listened to half of 25 songs I played her, ’cause she’s still looking for songs for her new album."
On January 25, it appeared that ANTI Day was imminent. Rihanna uploaded the above photo on Twitter, captioned with "listening to ANTI," seemingly indicating her new album was finished and ready for listening.
First the artists who were rumored or did NOT make the cut...
Calvin Harris & Tinashe: The Scottish superstar DJ offered one track, saying, "I had an album to finish, so I did that. But I did one track, and Tinashe wrote the top line, and I did all the music. I love it," he said. "But I don't think she was into it. So I don't know what is going to happen to that because it's really good."
The R&B chanteuse confirmed a leaked song "5AM" was the track meant for Rih's album. Listen to Tinashe do her best Rihanna impression on the banger right here.
Sia: The "Chandelier" teased a song she gave to Rihanna. "There's one that I just gave to Rihanna. [Laughs] Like as soon as I played it for her manager, he flipped over it, and [when] he left the house I felt sick. I was like, 'F*ck.' It was going to be on my record, but he was over, and I was playing him loads of jams. And I was like, 'Maybe you’ll like this one…'" It does not appear she made the final cut.
Alicia Renee: The Roc Nation songwriter broke down in tears over Rihanna’s rendition of one of her songs. She also responded to a fan who suggested that R8 would “sweep the 2016 GRAMMYs” with a “YASSSSSS.”
Keisza: The Canadian "Hideaway" artist told Digital Spy that Rihanna recorded two or three of her songs, and, "The one that Rihanna has cut is one that I never in a million years expected her to pick out, so it was super interesting. It just shows that people want to evolve and try new things."
Ne-Yo: The long-time RiRi collaborator (“Unfaithful” / “Hate That I Love You”) said that his own contribution may or may not make the cut.
Charli XCX: According to a September 10 interview with the Mirror, the "Boom Clap" singer was brought in to write for the album. "I'm a really big Rihanna fan and I think she's such an incredible artist," she said. "She's my favorite pop girl. She's the real deal. I've actually been to a couple of writing sessions for Rihanna’s new record. It was really fun to put together a couple of tracks." It appears her contributions didn't make the final cut.
Kanye West: Back in June, paparazzi snapped pics of Rihanna and Ye leaving a Los Angeles studio. West announced on the 2015 GRAMMY red carpet that he's playing a major role for Rihanna's upcoming LP. "I'm executive producing Rihanna's album," Kanye told Ryan Seacrest while talking to E! "I played her my album. And I said, 'I got a few songs with Paul McCartney. She couldn't get past the record. She had to have it on her album."
According to the final production credits though, 'Ye is not listed as the album's executive producer.
Now, the confirmed collaborators:
Drake: The singer's past "Take Care" and "What's My Name?" collaborator return for the lead single "Work."
SZA: The underrated R&B songstress from Top Dawg Entertainment (home to Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q) trades off verses with Rih on album opener "Consideration."
Natalia Kills: The English singer confirmed that she worked on a song for Rihanna on Twitter. She co-wrote on the track “Kiss It Better.”
Timbaland: The veteran producer is listed as a contributor on "Yeah, I Said It."
DJ Mustard: The Roc Nation producer told HipHollywood back in January, “I’m finna go in [the studio] with Rihanna. I’m gonna do a lot with my labelmates. We’re going straight to the club. Whatever I do is going to the club. When I see artists I wanna work with, I kinda start doing stuff in their pocket, but it’s still me. So I’m just doing what I think she would like, and if she don’t like it, we’ll just figure out something else in the studio, and I’ll just keep making beats till we figure it out.” No word on which tracks they figured out. You can hear his famous "Mustard on a beat, ho" on "Needed Me."
The Weeknd: The "Can't Feel My Face" star has a co-writing credit on album standout "Woo."
James Fauntleroy: The singer-songwriter (who wrote on Justin Timberlake's latest LP and featured on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly) wrote on a slew of tracks including "Desperado," "Close to You," "James Joint" and "Higher."
The-Dream: Rihanna's longtime collaborator ("Umbrella," "Hard," "Right Now") reunites with his go-to gal on "Woo."