Rihanna is undeniably one of the most iconic artists of our time. Be it a pop star, fashion killer, tycoon, beauty guru, cover girl, or any other title she decides to add to her impressive résumé, she is the definition of a living icon. Music first introduced the world to the self-proclaimed “bad gal,” and hopes of new music keep fans tapping into the self-made billionaire mogul. And after seven long years of waiting, Rihanna has finally begun her musical comeback.
The Grammy-winning singer kicked off her return in September 2022, when Apple Music and the NFL declared her the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show headliner. The next month, she released her first original solo song since she dropped her 2016 album “Anti” — a track titled “Lift Me Up,” which was featured on the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack. Rihanna’s latest offering has since scored her an Oscar nomination, her first ever, but now her Navy base is clamoring for more.
In recent years, Rihanna has kept listeners at bay with fun collaborations like “Wild Thoughts” with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller, “Loyalty” with Kendrick Lamar, “Lemon” with N.E.R.D., and “Believe It” with PartyNextDoor. However, that hasn’t stopped fans from inquiring about details for her next album, which are still very scarce. The project’s last concrete update came in a November 2022 interview with Associated Press, in which Rihanna denied rumors that her Super Bowl performance meant her new album was imminent. “That’s not true,” she said. “Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?”
Even if Rihanna’s “R9” isn’t quite yet on the horizon, that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit all the great music she’s released thus far — and trust, there’s plenty. Rihanna’s impressive discography dates all the way back to 2005, when the then-17-year-old made her debut as a Def Jam artist and released her first album “Music of the Sun” — which featured her explosive breakout hit “Pon de Replay.” The rest is, as they say, history.
Over the next 10 years, Rihanna would go on to release genre-bending, tour de force albums like “Good Girl Gone Bad,” “Rated R,” “Loud,” “Talk That Talk,” and more — all of which created defining eras in her career. From bass-pumping house tracks and thumping club bangers to electric guitar riffs, dancehall mixes, and moving ballads, Rihanna has, time and time again, found a way to effortlessly evolve her sound. Her musical risks have culminated in a feat that very few artists today can achieve, which speaks volumes to how her daring artistry continues to set the standard.
In honor of her return to the stage, we’re revisiting every iconic era from Rihanna’s catalogue.