Is ‘R9’ brewing? Anticipation about Rihanna’s long-awaited ninth studio album, (which RiRi’s Navy refers to as “R9”) came up when the singer announced that she would be the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show performer. However, the Savage X Fenty founder mentions in a new interview that her previous announcement does not mean that “R9” is ready yet.
“That’s not true,” she said when asked in an Associated Press interview if her Super Bowl performance meant that her next album was finished. “Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?”
The singer understood that fans would expect new music after her announcement since it was her first live appearance in six years. “The second that I announced this, I said, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to think my album is coming. I need to get to work.'”
Rihanna infamously turned down the halftime gig in 2019 to show solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who began kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016 to protest injustice, police brutality, and systemic oppression. In the latest AP interview when asked why she chose to do it now, she said that the timing and circumstances this time worked out better for her.
“If I’m going to leave my baby, I’m going to leave my baby for something special,” she said. Adding: “It was now or never for me. It was a challenge that I welcomed. It was a stage bigger than anything I’ve ever done,” she said.
To be fair, Rihanna did make a triumphant return to music with the release of “Lift Me Up,” the lead single for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Nov. 11 and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty: Vol. 4 is available to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Wednesday (Nov. 9).