Rihanna Navy, your long wait for your Barbadian pop queen’s first album since 2016 is likely coming to an end very soon—the finished product just might not sound exactly like what you anticipated.
On July 11, Rihanna, becoming ever savvier in the game of promoting music through meme culture, posted a video to her 73.2 million Instagram followers.
Referencing in the caption her promise to drop an album in 2019, the video was a clip from Love and Hip-Hop where star Karlie Redd tearfully proclaims “Guys, it was all a lie.”
Rihanna has been mostly silent on the music front for years now, even worrying fans by selling a $230 shirt reading “No More Music” only last month, but a reply to her post has fans believing that the one lying may be Rihanna herself.
“They ain’t ready,” wrote superproducer and bonafide hitmaker Pharrell Williams, adding an emoji of the Earth and curiously prompting a flurry of negative reactions from the chaotic hellscape that is Stan Twitter.
“If the song is not iconic bop don’t ever get your ass close to Rihanna,” wrote @RihannaNepal. Many fans also expressed their distaste for the previous time Pharrell contributed heavily to a project by a major pop star, Ariana Grande’s Sweetener, which saw her partially dive into a hip-hop sound for the first time.
The “iconic bops” in question often refer to the European-inspired dance-pop explosion of sparkly synths and crisp reverb popularized by a litany of Swedish producers led by Max Martin, who trails only a couple of Beatles for the most No. 1 hit singles written.
The sound is rapidly falling out of favour for a more hip-hop influenced sound that Pharrell has been bringing—you’re a lot more likely to see a pop star like The Weeknd on top of the charts than Katy Perry—but it would appear that quite a few ravenous pop fans refuse to let go of the past.
What most of them likely don’t realize is that Skateboard P has been doing this long before he broke onto the scene as a globally recognizable solo act with 2014’s “Happy”. Not only that, his list of hit singles that defined pop music dating back decades is a sight to behold.
If you’re looking for iconic bops, here are a few: Williams has contributed to globally known hits as diverse as Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”, Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body”, and Britney Spears’s “I’m A Slave 4 U.”
Every time you yell “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” with your friends when they play it at the club? That’s all Pharrell’s doing.
He also quietly co-produced one of the most successful songs by a female pop star in recent memory: Camila Cabello’s worldwide Latin-pop smash hit “Havana”.
While not all of his music is strictly in the pop realm, he’s also proven that he can create anthems that stand the test of time, whether that anthem is for pressing social causes (Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”) or throwing stacks in the strip club (Nelly’s “Hot In Herre”).
Pharrell is an absolute legend, and his work has always managed to both adapt to current sounds and define future ones.
Oh yeah, and the last time he got together with Rihanna they gave us one of the best songs of 2017:
We’ve waited long enough for a new Rihanna project, and the fact that Pharrell is likely giving her an updated, more modern sound means she might actually score some hits instead of fading from relevance like most of the pop stars of the early 2010s.
And isn’t that what these poor, misguided fans want?