Diva. Sex symbol. Fashion visionary. Activist. Social media maven. The biggest pop star in the world—or at least one of the biggest. All of the above could be used to describe Rihanna, and it still wouldn’t quite capture everything RiRi means to popular music and culture at large. It’s an influence that she has built over time, and a particular staggering one when you look back on her entrance into the Top 40, 2005’s “Pon de Replay.” Rihanna released the upbeat, light-hearted single as a 17-year-old, and it immediately established her as a force to be reckoned with. It was one of only two singles from her debut album Music of the Sun, but the album from the newcomer charted in the U.S. top ten anyway.
With each subsequent release, Rihanna refined her sound and noticeably pushed it forward. Sophomore effort A Girl Like Me was released less than a year after its predecessor, and gave Rihanna her first No. 1 single in the pulsing “SOS.” As the title so clearly indicates, 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad was an obviously deliberate shift to more adult themes, but she pulled it off—the Jay Z-featuring “Umbrella” holds up as one of the best songs in her catalogue. While all of her albums have landed in the top ten—including Rated R (2009), Loud (2010) and Talk That Talk (2011)—It was 2012’s Unapologetic that finally gave her a No. 1 album. She topped the charts again in 2016 with Anti, a triumph of a project that offers ballads (“Love on the Brain”), Drake-featuring jams (“Work) and everything in between.
Rihanna Offers Free 'ANTI' Download
(Update 02/02/16) With just about three weeks until she sets off on tour, Rihanna has released her new album "ANTI" on the interwebs. TIDAL users can stream the album for free, the rest of us can head here and use the code "ANTI" to get the download. (Update 11/23/15) In support of her new album,…Read more