Rihanna's new album: release date, tracklist & everything you need to know
15 February 2023, 17:27
Rihanna fans have been waiting for what feels like eternity for some new songs, but don't sweat - we've got all the info on Rihanna's ninth album right here.
Rihanna is releasing a new album and we are READY. Plus, during her March 2023 cover interview with British Vogue, Rih admitted she wants to release the record this year!
"Like, honestly, it’d be ridiculous if it’s not this year. But I just want to have fun. I just want to make music and make videos," she said. "And I need the right background music with the visuals. I can’t just go shoot a video to me talking."
After unleashing her double-platinum eighth album in 2016 - which boasted hits including the juggernaut Drake-assisted 'Work', 'Needed Me' and 'Love On The Brain' - Rihanna has dominated the charts worldwide.
>> Everything we know about Rihanna's second pregnancy
Until October last year, Bad Gal had been slaying the fashion and beauty industries, but the singer finally returned with her first solo material in six years with 'Lift Me Up', taking from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.
The Bajan beauty put on an epic performance as the 2023 Super Bowl Half-Time Show headliner, announcing her second pregnancy during the set and becoming the second most-watched halftime show performer in history!
The Navy is always anticipating new material - as are the rest of the world - and are ready for the #R9 era to begin.
Here’s everything we know about #R9 so far.
What songs are going to be on Rihanna's new album?
In October 2022, Rihanna released the lead single from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, titled 'Lift Me Up', her first solo material in six years and her first music release since her joint track 'Believe It' with PARTYNEXTDOOR in 2020.
In her May 2022 Vogue cover interview, Rihanna said she's looking at her new album "completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before."
"I think this way suits me better, a lot better. It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off."
In March 2021, Rihanna confirmed that the release of a hotly-anticipated new song will be coming "soon". The singer jumped in the comment section of an Instagram post celebrating her musical achievements over the years, responding to a fan asking about new music.
A fan asked Rihanna to "celebrate by releasing a song," to which Rihanna replied, "I think I should" with a 'soon' emoji, before adding "just 1 tho lol".
In December 2020, Rihanna revealed she plans "to take my music and my brands to a different level" in 2021.
On October 31st 2020, Rihanna was spotted wearing a fur coat while entering the NoMad Hotel downtown LA for a suspected music video shoot, sparking rumours of an upcoming music release.
In an October 2020 interview with the Associated Press, Rihanna explained how she just wants to have fun with her new music. "We started with tons of writing camps," she revealed, before sighing and adding, "Now it's more what do I feel personally? What do I want to put out as an artist? How do I want to play it with my art?
"How do I want to interpret that, reimagine that? Because it's been so structured before. You do pop, you do this genre, you do that, you do radio, you do who's following you and your fans. But now, it's just like - what makes me happy? I just want to have fun with music."
"Everything is so heavy," she continued. "The world that we live in, a lot is overwhelming every single day. And music, I'm using that as my outlet. I just want to have fun with that."
"I want to go on tour but I can't, and now I'm stuck with music that I love, and now I'm trying to to figure out how I can even create visuals to that. That's a challenge as well, but I love challenges so you know I'ma get it done."
Skylar Grey teased a reggae-inspired song she worked on with Diplo for Rihanna's album in September 2020. "I was working with Diplo on a song for Rihanna. Wrote this with a guy named Hymn," she said.
"This was when Rihanna was supposedly doing some kind of reggae album. I don’t know if she’s still making a reggae album or what, but this is a song we did for it. I don’t have the whole song, I’m just going to play you a piece of it, and it probably won’t sound great because it’s an iPhone recording of the speakers," said Grey.
In February 2020, Rihanna reassured fans that new music is on the way, posting that she was in the studio with The Neptunes.
The Fenty Beauty entrepreneur shared a photo of a soundboard on her Instagram stories that reads 'The Neptunes' and wrote a caption along the bottom of the snap reading, "gang. back in da STU."
Speaking to Allure in November 2020, Pharrell Williams gave fans an update on his long-time friend and collaborators album. "Rih is in a different place right now," Williams said. "Like, wow. She’s from a different world."
He even suggested the singer might be from Venus, saying "I'm willing to bet, because Venus is gaseous, that if they had a telescope that could zoom through all that s***, you’d see Rih laying there naked."
Rihanna confirmed to Vogue in October 2019 that the album will indeed "reggae-inspired" and confessed that the genre "always feels right" to her.
"I like to look at it as a reggae-inspired or reggae-infused album," she explained. "It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae. But you’re going to feel the elements in all of the tracks."
"Reggae always feels right to me. It’s in my blood. It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture, or my environment that I grew up in; it never leaves."
She adds, "It’s always the same high. Even though I’ve explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven’t really homed in on completely for a body of work."
In her June 2018 cover interview for Vogue magazine, Rihanna confirmed that her ninth album will be a reggae album. She confirmed this once again during her interview with T magazine. The record may be influenced by Jamaican-born producer Supa Dups who has worked with the likes of Beenie Man, Sean Paul, and Elephant Man.
Fans were convinced that Rihanna's 'Work' collaborator PARTYNEXTDOOR had shared a sneak peak at a new track between the pair on Snapchat when he teased a song in March 2019.
People quickly denied that Rihanna was the female vocalist on the song, but considering tracks go through a lot of different singers during the demo stage, could it end up on Rihanna's new album?
In December 2018, Rihanna's go-to vocal producer Kuk Harrell described her upcoming ninth studio album as "amazing," adding, "It's incredible, and that's all I'm going to say."
According to Breathe Heavy, the star allegedly registered two new songs on ASCAP titled 'Phatty' - a reggae influenced song - and 'Only One Who Knows' at the end of 2017.
'Phatty' was reportedly penned by Rihanna and reggae artist Buju Banton - Ri is a big fan and even filmed a Snapchat of herself listening to his music earlier this year. Furthermore, Ri was spotted heading to a recording studio in New York wearing a shirt with Banton’s face on the front - so fans think this collab is a strong possibility.
A song called 'Louvre' was allegedly listed as a new single, but the report was later rubbished by Ri herself.
What Rihanna's new album called?
In November 2019, Rihanna fans were convinced the singer revealed the name of her ninth album in an Instagram post. Alongside a pouty red-lipped selfie, Ri wrote, "this year has been quite an overwhelming one, and I’m working on that ish called Balance. brb."
The Fenty Beauty head honcho sent fans into a frenzy with the capitalisation of the final word in her caption. "Balance better be the name of the album sis", wrote one. "Balance is the name of the album!!" wrote another. "Is her new album called Balance?" questioned one fan.
While the official title of Rihanna's ninth studio album is currently unknown, fans have been affectionally calling it 'R9' since the release of her previous album, 'ANTI'.
During an interview with T magazine, Rihanna confirmed that she does not yet have a title for the album, but joked that she's considering naming it 'R9' thanks to the name her loyal Navy have given it.
"I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this ‘R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?'” she said. "How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull?"
When will Rihanna's new album be released?
Following the announcement of Rih's 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, fans were hoping to finally hear the superstar singer's ninth album. However, Rih later told Entertainment Tonight that the performance will 'celebrate the music that I’ve made' rather than focus on new music.
"Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?" she said, adding that she "needs to get to work" on her new album.
In February 2022, while attending her Fenty event in Los Angeles over Super Bowl weekend, Rihanna confirmed that new music is most definitely on the way.
"Yes, you’re still going to get music from me," she told Entertainment Tonight, before joking, "My fans would kill me if they waited this long for a lullaby," a nod to her first pregnancy with A$AP Rocky. The singer added that she was taking "one thing at a time."
In September 2021, at the launch of her third Savage X Fenty fashion show, Rihanna confirmed that her new music is going sound "completely different" to her previous work.
"You’re not gonna expect what you hear, just put that in your mind. Whatever you know of Rihanna’s not gonna be what you hear," she told AP.
"I’m really experimenting, and music is like fashion, you should be able to play, I should be able to wear whatever I want and I treat music the same way. So, I’m having fun, and it’s gonna be completely different."
In July 2021, Rihanna was spotted filming what was reportedly a music video in New York City, with her boyfriend A$AP Rocky also seen on set.
During a promotional interview for Fenty Skin, Rihanna revealed that fans can expect her new album "sooner than [they] think". She said, "It’s probably going to be sooner than fans think but I’m just going to leave that alone because I’ve got enough stress and questions like, “R9, where’s the album?” They don’t leave me alone. I haven’t neglected them, I still got you. Music is still my baby."
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, RiRi confirmed that the album is going to be worth the wait. "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. And 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."
In July 2020, it was reported that Rihanna was further delaying the release of ninth studio album to launch her debut skincare range, Fenty Skin. "Rihanna’s ninth album is on hold indefinitely," a source said.
"She wants to make her millions with beauty and is planning a new skincare line to go alongside her Fenty Cosmetics range."
They added, "Fans hopes for [a ninth album] will be kept on hold while Rihanna builds her beauty empire as she plots to become the next beauty billionaire. She’s realised there is more money in the beauty game than music as record sales die down and live touring faces big competition."
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight in February 2020, Rihanna admitted she likes to "antagonise" her fans when it comes to album delays.
"To be continued," RiRi teased when asked about her new album. "I like to antagonise my fans a little bit… Well, they antagonise me, too! So they get it right back."
At the launch of her new Savage X Fenty line during New York Fashion Week in September 2019, Rihanna confessed that her loyal fans would have to wait a little longer to hear the album.
She said, "Whatever I do is gonna be confident whether it’s the album, perfume, lingerie, make-up, or fashion. Y’all gonna have to wait. Navy, I’m so sorry."
However, she did add that she's working on it, telling Entertainment Tonight, "I still got an album to finish. You gonna ask me about Super Bowl? My fans about to have my neck."
In June 2019, Rihanna shared a video of herself in the studio at 5:40am, and trolled her fans with the caption. She wrote, "Behind the scenes of 'Where's the album?'"
Then, at the beginning of August, reports emerged claiming that a "big female pop star" has allegedly been booked from some of the biggest late night talk shows in the US for an "unprecedented TV takeover" on Thursday, 8th August. Fans were soon convinced this was RiRi herself.
The singer has reportedly rented out the entirety of the exclusive Osea Island, which is located just off the coast of Essex in Blackwater River, where musicians can record their music in a secluded environment.
In March 2019, Rihanna's best friend Jennifer Rosales teased that the album was completely finished as she took her baby son to see Aunt RiRi at the studio.
"When tia @badgalriri gives you the first listen. #newmusic" she captioned an adorable image of her son in headphones which was originally posted by Rihanna.
At the end of January 2019, Rihanna's producer The Dream confirmed to US radio station Hot 97 that her new album is almost finished. "She's cooking, she's about done," he said. "She's about done. Super close."
Rihanna also teased a video of her in the studio recording new music, where a snippet of her vocals can be heard.
#R9: Rihanna shared a video of her working in the studio pic.twitter.com/TEf4wfxgfc— Rihanna News (@TeamOfRihanna) 7 January 2019
In December 2018, Rihanna confirmed that the album will be releasing in 2019. "But when is the album dropping Robyn? Can we have a release date for that?"
"2019," Rihanna replied, sending fans into a frenzy.
In April 2018, reports surfaced that RiRi is currently working on not just one album, but two - one full of "chart-friendly songs", and another comprised of "moody and experimental tracks" - and may release them as a double-disc album.
On 15th June 2018, during an interview on The Graham Norton Show with her Ocean's 8 castmates, Rihanna revealed that she is currently working on new music. "I am actually in the studio at the moment,” she said. When Norton asked her if the album was coming in time for Christmas, she replied "You’ll just have to wait and see."
@madblackthot chica, I know the topic is currently Bey, but did you see what Rihanna said last night on Graham Norton about the new album???? pic.twitter.com/KP1Kx7jRnu— C.C. (@CammieColtMTV) 17 June 2018
On 24th August, Rihanna teased fans with some snapshots of herself appearing to be recording something. At the time the photos were taken, Ri was rumoured to be in the Caribbean following a string personal and work commitments.
Could this be the beginnings of #R9? And is it going to have a reggae vibe?
Who features on Rihanna's new album?
In January 2020, Shaggy revealed that he was approached to appear on the reggae project, but turned down the offer to audition. "There’s a lot of great people involved but for me, I didn’t need to audition to be on the record, I'll leave that to younger guys," he told The Daily Star.
However, a representative for Rihanna debunked Shaggy's claim. "We are working on an album, not a talent show, so why would she (Rihanna) require Shaggy or any other artist to audition?" they said during an interview.
They claimed that while Rihanna has already gathered all of the material for her album, she invited Shaggy to submit some work so she could "see if it fits with the flow of the album" after he showed interest.
During her interview with T magazine, Rihanna confirmed that her former collaborator - and rumoured ex-boyfriend - Drake will not be featuring on the album.
"Not anytime soon, I don’t see it happening. Not on this album, that’s for sure," she said, so don't expect a follow-up to 'Too Good' or 'Work' in the near future. She also denied rumours of a Lady Gaga collaboration.
'Too Good' In February 2019, a report claimed that Rihanna was spotted at a 'business lunch' with Jay-Z. The pair were allegedly overheard talking about "music and what they can do together."
Jay-Z famously signed Rihanna back in 2004, and went on to collaborate with her on her singles 'Umbrella' and 'Talk That Talk,' while she sang on his 2009 hit 'Run This Town'.
During the course of 2017, Rihanna appeared alongside the likes of Pharrell ('Lemon'), Kendrick Lamar ('LOYALTY'), DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller ('Wild Thoughts'), Calvin Harris ('This Is What You Came For') and Future ('Selfish'). These - and more of her frequent collaborators - are hotly tipped to be working closely with Ri on her new album.
Writing camps are reportedly underway for the Bajan beauty's new album, with artists including Chase & Status, Raye and Diplo all vying for a spot on #R9. Despite recently revealing that Rihanna turned down his music, Diplo let the news slip during an interview with iHeartRadio.
On the topic of Rihanna, he said: "We talked a little bit because she's writing a lot of new music right now for her next project and, hopefully, we can connect."
The songstress has been spotted leaving recording studios in London, New York City and Paris since the release of 'ANTI'.
Singer H.E.R has revealed that she is working on "secret projects" with Rihanna.
In June 2018, rumours surfaced that Cardi B could potentially feature on Rihanna's lead single for her ninth album. Fans on Twitter have allegedly claimed that a radio station in Dallas, TX, says the collaboration will drop in August.
Rumor has it that Cardi B will be featured on Rihanna's upcoming lead single! Lets hope it's true!— (Ch)ART Craze (@ChartCraze) 20 June 2018
What does the artwork for Rihanna's new album look like?
No artwork has been revealed for #R9 yet.
When does Rihanna's tour start?
No tour dates have been confirmed. Ri's last tour - The Anti World Tour- ran from March 2016 to November 2016, and included 75 shows across dates in North America, Europe and Asia. The starlet wrapped up the European leg of the tour in the UK over two dates at V Festival 2016.