Pop artist and actress, Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was featured on the cover of Vogue Magazine in a cover-story that included her revealing plans to create a reggae album. I’m sure the news of this has reggae producers far and wide clamoring for her attention.
What’s not to say about Rihanna? She’s extremely talented; has a great voice, amazing rhythm and happens to be an emerging actress. I guess it’s become the norm to hear her name in the tabloids, topping charts or playing it cool in movie trailers. So when she says that she plans to release a reggae album for her ninth studio release, there’s a bit of flare from the white noise of her general news.
The project has me intrigued what someone with her background can pull out of herself inside a reggae setting. As the article points out, Rihanna is from Saint Michael, Barbados and was discovered at 16 by music producer Evan Rogers who brought her to New York. This is why Bob Marley’s song “Buffalo Soldier” resonates with her the most, apparently. Her biggest inspiration is Bob Marley where it’s said that she has a shrine built in his honor inside her home. In her interview with Vogue she says “I’m gonna sound like a real tourist when I tell you my top Bob songs,” as she lists off “Three Little Birds,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “Redemption Song.”
There’s no word on where she’s at in the production or process of this record and the only producer mentioned was Supa Dups, who has worked with SOJA, Rebelution, Dirty Heads, Sean Paul and (so many) more.
My guess is she finds her way into collaborating with one or more of the Marley brothers and I’d love to see her do something with Ziggy. Would a Bob Marley cover be a shocker? Probably not. If she does do a reggae album then there’s likely a tour to follow, and with her budget, most of any guest appearances on the record will be making an appearance in a full live production set-up unlike the typical reggae show.
As our own Andrew Aroche pointed out, it would be great to hear another layer of soul unfold in a reggae setting that allows her Barbados accent to come belting out. I’d love to see her full depth of what she can do inside a reggae genre working with authentic reggae producers, musicians and vocalists.
What do you think? Would you give a Rihanna reggae album a fair listen or dismiss it as mainstream trash? The great news about reggae is how adaptable it is to those that treat it with authenticity and respect. I think there’s more to be excited about than cautioned towards — Time will tell if this comes to fruition.
Watch: Rihanna – “Redemption Song” (Live from 2006)