Weekend Update: At Rihanna's premiere of Fenty Social Club on Instagram Live, the artist and humanitarian addressed anxious fans pleading for R9. Amidst some great perfomances and DJ sets from Lil Uzi Vert, Octavian, Stretch Armstrong, Pedro, and Kitty Ca$h, Rihanna told fans at the streaming the event to, "stop asking me about the album when I’m trying to save the world, unlike y’all president.” Rihanna has donated $5 million to efforts against Coronavirus, including thousands of dollars worth of ventilators to hospitals in her home country of Barbados.
Last month, a new Rihanna song has entered the world. Called "Believe It," it's technically just a feature on Partynextdoor's new album, but her chorus has gotten fans more than excited, as well as renewed hope that R9 may be coming soon. It turns out all Rihanna had to say was "Hey, best make me believe it / Believe you won't deceive me" (sung, to some background music, in her latest song) in order to tide us all over a bit longer.
While there were rumors it was coming by December 2019, Rihanna's new album has yet to arrive. It feels fans have been awaiting this release forever, as the star has taken the past couple of years to focus on conquering the fashion and beauty spheres. On the Sunday before Christmas, Rihanna took to Instagram to tease her fans, posting a video of a dog bopping around to music, with the caption, "update: me listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it." The multi-hyphenate does have quite the sense of humor, and the post garnered over a million likes in a few minutes, but the post did lead many to believe that an R9 holiday release was imminent.
A few days later, in a comment on her mother's Instagram, the superstar joked that she was hiding "from the Navy," the name for Rihanna's most devoted fans. Monica Fenty had posted a picture of toy bears, each wearing a Santa hat, each with the name of one of her children. The bear named Robyn had its hat pulled over its eyes, sparking fans to say that R9 was indeed hiding under the hat.
Earlier this year, Universal Music France and several French journalists have hinted the world could get the new tracks they have been waiting for by the end of 2019, as reported on by BET. There's no exact date (or word from Rihanna herself), but the star's inclusion among musicians we already know are releasing projects soon (like The Weeknd and Migos) hints that whether she makes a formal announcement or pulls a Beyoncé with a surprise drop, we don't have long to wait.
In an interview last May with T Magazine, the musician had explained that her next project features significant reggae influence and that its likely title is R9. "I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this," Rihanna said of the inspiration behind her leanings. "'R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?' How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull?"
The Barbadian singer's last album was Anti, which came out in 2016 and featured hits like "Desperado" and "Work." In recent years, she had slowed down music activities to capitalize on her position as a style icon. After capturing major attention for moments like the crystal naked dress by Adam Selman she wore to the CFDAs and her over-the-top yellow Guo Pei look for the Met Gala celebrating 2015's "China: Through the Looking Glass," she embarked on majorly successful endeavors like Fenty Beauty, Savage x Fenty, and her new LVMH ready-to-wear brand, which naturally has the simple name, Fenty. In addition to this, she co-chaired the Met Gala in 2018 and has filed trademarks that have led fans to believe she may one day launch a home line as well as develop wine and spirits.
All this entrepreneurship would consume anyone's life, let alone someone who is arguably one of the world's most popular musicians. But fans still missed her presence in that space, and now that it's been three years, the artist is delivering. It's still necessary to treat all this as speculation at this point, especially with how busy the multi-hyphenate is with her fashion and beauty endeavors, but perhaps just a few short months, we'll see what Rihanna-the-style-mogul looks like in the music space. Here's hoping for some stunning fashion fantasies in her music videos.