Following an almost eight-year hiatus, Bajan superstar Rihanna is reportedly expected to make a huge musical comeback with “two albums worth of material” and a world tour after recently signing a $32 million deal with Live Nation.
According to the Mirror, Rihanna is expected to sign off on the tour once she’s fully ready to return to work. The report said the tour could be as early as 2024.
A source told the UK publication: “Rihanna is quietly planning a comeback tour after signing with Live Nation. The deal was created to facilitate a world tour and her creative team is quietly at work in Los Angeles putting it all together as she raises her family. She’ll press play on the live show once she’s ready to go back to work and has two albums’ worth of material to release once she’s back.”
The news comes two months after the Bajan star gave birth to her second son, Riot Rose Mayers, who was reportedly born on August 1, 2023, at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Rihanna announced her second pregnancy at the Super Bowl halftime show in February. Her first son, RZA Athelston Mayers, was born in May 2022.
In 2021, Rihanna had assured her fans that the completion of her upcoming Reggae-inspired/infused R9 album, on which several Dancehall and Reggae artists are rumored to appear, still remained high on her agenda.
Speaking shortly before one of her Savage X Fenty projects, the singer had said: “You’re not going to expect what you hear. Just put that in your mind. Whatever you know of Rihanna is not going to be what you hear and I’m really experimenting. Music is like fashion. You should be able to play. I should be able to wear whatever I want. I treat music the same way. So I’m having fun and it’s going to be completely different.”
In 2019, Rihanna had confirmed with Vogue Magazine that her new album was going to be “Reggae-inspired or Reggae-infused” and that it was “not gonna be typical of what you know as Reggae, but you’re going to feel the elements in all of the tracks.”
The Man Down singer, in elaborating on why she chose the Reggae route for her new album, explained that “the genre was an important part of her becoming who she is.”
“Reggae always feels right to me,” she said. “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.”
Since 2016, several unreleased songs credited to Rihanna have been registered with her music publisher BMI, some of which had input from Jamaican Dancehall artists and producers, in line with the reported Reggae theme of R9.
They include Lock and Key with Kranium and producer Supa Dups, Private Loving with Demarco and UK singer Monique Lawz, and Gwan Look Pon It with Konshens and Jamaican-born, UK-based producer Knox Brown.
Two other songs with a hint of Dancehall inspiration, Waist Line Down and Nah Left, were reportedly registered in 2018, but have since been removed from the ASCAP website, another music publisher.
“While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Koffee is writing for R9, it would be a fitting choice given that Rihanna’s new album is Reggae-inspired,” Time had noted.
It Wasn’t Me singer Shaggy reportedly considered working with Rihanna for a song on the album, but ultimately decided against it since he was unwilling to “audition.” “They approached me for the Rihanna project yes. There’s a lot of great people involved but for me, I didn’t need to audition to be on the record, I’ll leave that to younger guys. But from what I hear it should be good,” Shaggy had said.
A Rihanna rep later said the singer would never have asked someone like Shaggy to audition. “After Rihanna had already gathered all the material for the album, Shaggy contacted her asking to be a part of the album,” they explained.
“She explained to him that the album was pretty much completed and they were just working on mixing, mastering and deciding which songs to actually use. However, she invited him to submit some materials so she could see if it fits with the flow of the album. That was by no means asking for an audition, it was more going out of her way to get him on the album.”
Rihanna’s last album, the critically acclaimed ANTI, was released almost eight years ago and included songs such as Work with Drake, Love on the Brain, and Needed Me.
Her last concert tour was the ANTI World Tour, which began on March 12, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida, and ended on November 27, 2016, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Her last performances were at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime show in February 2023, and at the 95th Academy Awards in March 2023.