Don’t lose faith, Rihanna fans , for 2019 could still be the year Robyn Fenty drops her ninth studio album. Yep, three years since 2016’s ANTI, everyone’s favorite bad gal is still clocking studio time to release a collection of tracks that will — let’s just say in blind faith — be stacked with bangers.
The 31-year-old artist has been teasing new music for some time, but as she told chat show host Graham Norton last summer, we’ll have to wait patiently for the juicier details. In January a teaser showed a glitter-filtered RiRi at work in the studio, along with a two-second melody that already has fans believing she’d come to save 2019. Check it out below.
Since then, we’ve been gathering all the information we can find about the album that has been temporarily dubbed R9, from the release date to potential collaborations and album artwork. So keep scrolling for everything you need to know about Rihanna’s new album.
Rihanna’s new album release date
Thanks to a comment penned by Rihanna herself, it looks likely that the new album will drop at some point in 2019. A specific release date, however, is yet to be announced.
On March 12, Rihanna’s best friend and project manager Jennifer Rosales reposted a photo originally shared by Rihanna, depicting her child with the caption “When tia @badgalriri gives you the first listen 😎. #newmusic.” This could suggest that we’re getting closer to hearing new Rihanna music.
However, in a new interview for the cover of Interview magazine, Rihanna seemed to hint that the wait might be longer.
“It really does suck that it can’t just come out, because I’m working on a really fun one right now. I’m really happy with a lot of the material we have so far, but I am not going to put it out until it’s complete. It makes no sense to rush it, but I want it out. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, “Even if I don’t have the time to shoot videos, I’m going to put an album out,” Rihanna told the magazine.
When asked directly if she had a release date in mind, she said “I wish I knew. I have blocked off a solid period of time for the studio next month,” which hopefully still means we’re on track for a 2019 release.
Rihanna’s new album tour
As NME pointed out on February 21, many RihRih fans have noticed that leaked tour dates have popped up in Google searches, the first date appearing being Portland, Maine on April 12, 2019. Unfortunately, this date came and went without a peep so it’s unclear if we’ll be getting a new album tour this year.
Rihanna’s new album tracklist
No tracklist for Rihanna’s R9 has been revealed as of yet, but based on previous albums, it’s probably safe to assume that we can expect between 10 and 14 new tracks.
Rihanna’s new album cover art
Currently, we know nothing about the artwork Rihanna has selected for R9. The ANTI cover, which was designed by Israeli artist Roy Nachum, is her favorite to date, so perhaps we can expect something equally as conceptual on the next album.
Rihanna’s new album guest appearances
In an interview with Vogue in May 2018, Rihanna revealed that she had plans to work on a reggae album, which could be what R9 is. Based on that statement, Vogue speculated that she could be working with Supa Dups, a producer who has worked with genre icons including Beenie Man, Sean Paul, and Elephant Man.
At the moment, all potential album guest appearances are pure speculation, but if previous collabs are anything to go by, we could see inclusions from Pharrell Williams (“Lemon”), Kendrick Lamar (“Loyalty”), DJ Khaled (“Wild Thoughts”), Calvin Harris (“This Is What You Came For”), or Future (“Selfish”).
Rihanna’s inspiration for the new album
In a new interview with Vogue, for the publication’s November 2019 issue, Rihanna revealed that R9 is reggae-inspired.
“I like to look at it as a reggae-inspired or reggae-infused album,” she said. “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. 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.”