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It’s been over a year since Rihanna released ANTi, the double-platinum, No.1-reaching album that spawned the juggernaut “Work” and defied what many, including us, expected of her. And despite some major Grammy snubs (courtesy of the ever-formidable Adele and inescapable Lemonade aftermath), RiRi showed no signs of defeat, maintaining unwavering presence by strongholding our airwaves and eardrums with more album singles (including “Kiss It Better,” “Needed Me,” and “Love on the Brain”) and distinctive guest appearances everywhere (see: Drake’s “Too Good,” Calvin Harris’ “This Is What You Came For,” Future’s “Selfish,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty,” Mike WiLL Made-It’s “Nothing Is Promised,” and a yet-to-be-revealed collabo with DJ Khaled).
The singer has yet to provide any details into the release of new music. But, to be fair, she’s been busy being honored by both Harvard University and the Parsons School of Design; stunning (as she is prone to do) at both Coachella and the Met Gala; flexing her acting chops on A&E series Bates Motel and possibly an upcoming Twitter-conceived film; and expanding her design empire into jewelry and more Fenty x PUMA merch.
But if she wasn’t going to speak up, Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw has done so for her. According to Idolator, during a backstage interview at the BBC station’s Big Weekend music festival, he told The Daily Star, “I heard she’s got new music soon.” Adding about possible release dates, he reportedly said, “Well, I don’t know. It’s the end of the year.”
Despite the vague details, Grimshaw may not be too far off. Rihanna has been registering songs with both ASCAP and BPI (the British Phonographic Industry) since last month which could give us a major clue as to what we can expect on #R9. Here are the tracks we know of, so far.
Travis Scott, co-writer: Despite being blamed by songwriter-producer Glass John (“Kiss It Better”) as the reason ANTi was delayed, La Flare (real name Jacques Webster) and RiRi went on to collaborate on “Woo,” tour together, and reportedly date. And now it seems they’ve reunited.
Hit-Boy, co-writer: The super-producer, real name Chauncey Hollis, served as the brain behind the boards on Jay Z and Kanye West’s “Niggas in Paris,” Beyonce’s “Flawless” and “XO,” and G.O.O.D. Music’s “Cold” and “Clique,” among many (like many) others. He’s also previously worked with Rihanna on ANTi’s “Pose” and “Woo,” and Talk That Talk’s “Watch N Learn.”
Allen Ritter, co-writer: The songwriter and producer has contributed to more tracks than we have space to list but, for now, consider: Kanye West’s “All Day,” Drake’s “Controlla,” Big Sean’s “Blessings,” and Travis Scott’s “Pick Up The Phone.” He also co-wrote RiRi’s “Work.”
Tink, co-writer: The Timbaland-approved singer, real name Trinity Home, has seven mixtapes under her belt (one of which spawned her charting, Aaliyah-sampling single “Million”) and a debut album on the way.
Derrus Rachel, co-writer: Having already formed a relationship with RiRi after nabbing writing credits on ANTi’s “Desperado,” “Woo,” “Needed Me,” Rachel has also contributed to DJ Mustard’s “10,000 Hours” featuring Ella Mai.
Supa Dubs, co-writer: The Kingston, Jamaica-born producer, real name Dwayne Chin-Quee, boasts credits on Drake’s “Controlla” and “Too Good,” PartyNextDoor’s “Not Nice,” and Nina Sky’s “Turning Me On.”
Kranium, co-writer: Hailing from Montego Bay, Jamaica, the reggae and dancehall singer, real name Kemar Donaldson, had his own Billboard charting hit in 2015 with "Nobody Has To Know" which peaked at no. 32 on the Reggae Digital Songs list.
Derrus Rachel, co-writer: See above.
Buju Banton, co-writer: The icon and veteran dancehall-reggae musician, born Mark Anthony Myrie, has been sampled by everyone from Cypress Hill to Selena Gomez and, for Rihanna, working with him could be a dream come true considering she named his 'Til Shiloh album one of her top 3 to listen to on repeat.
Ryan Gladieux, co-writer: The multi-talent recorded JoJo’s “Fuck Apologies,” engineered Pitbull and Kesha’s “Timber,” and produced Flo Rida’s “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” featuring Robin Thicke.
Paul Salva, co-writer: The DJ made waves back in 2012 when his remix of Kanye West’s “Mercy” was put in radio rotation and has since been behind the official reworks of tracks from Chromeo, Nelly Furtado and, prophetically, Rihanna’s own “Needed Me” and “Sex With Me.”