Published Jul 19, 2018Last year, Rihanna popped up on tracks alongside Kendrick Lamar and N.E.R.D., but a new report has revealed that the pop star is working on not one but two new albums simultaneously.
Rolling Stone reports that Rihanna has been working on one full-length that draws influence from her Caribbean roots, according to various sources close to the project. This echoes a previous story in Vogue this past May, when Rihanna first mentioned the possibility of releasing an album indebted to dancehall and reggae music.
Two of those sources also suggested to Rolling Stone that the singer is also working on a pop-oriented full-length.
Rolling Stone named a lengthy list of producers and singers connected to the dancehall that are said to have submitted material for the album. They include Supa Dups, R. City, Chronixx, Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor, Linton "TJ Records" White, Ricky Blaze and Tyshane "Beam" Thompson. A source added that Skrillex and Boi-1da have also attended sessions.
"[Rihanna's team] have, no lie, 500 records for this project [from] different producers and writers," a dancehall producer who asked to remain anonymous told Rolling Stone. "They're only choosing 10 records. They've been having writing camps and trying to keep them quiet for almost a year and a half now. I've been flying to Miami, flying to L.A., cutting records nonstop for this project."
Rolling Stone spoke to a second producer who said if Rihanna and her team like a submission, they will do "some tweaking." The producer added, "I didn't even get the final [version of the song I turned in], I got the semi-final, and then I got the contracts. They ask my opinions, but you wouldn't expect Rihanna to work with people that don't do good work — they did some good work on it."
On the other hand, a third producer told Rolling Stone of worries that Rihanna and her team were diluting the Caribbean aspects of the music.
"Their whole thing was, 'Yo, we're gonna make this [album] real dancehall, [real] Caribbean,'" the producer told the publication. "Rihanna is Bajan, so let's make this a full project like that. To me, it hasn't been going that way. They're kind of mixing it up, putting in the pop. If the reggae artists and producers won't get the chance on the pop album, at least let us survive on the dancehall album. They're changing up the direction continuously."
Another producer added that labels have already begun reaching out "asking if I had any songs that [Rihanna] didn't take." The source added, "People are already gearing up to go in that direction [towards dancehall] because somebody as big as her is doing that. If an artist like Rihanna comes out and does [an album influenced by Jamaican pop], that's definitely going to shift the needle."
Rihanna's last album was 2016's ANTI.