It's now November, which means it's been almost two years now since Rihanna last blessed us with an album. But a recent uptick in public activity, a rash of cryptic hashtags, and a couple of allegedly leaked tracklistings have fueled suspicion that she's got something new on the way. Is it the long-awaited eighth album, or nah? We've dug through the rumors, news, and clues. Here are some signs a new album is definitely on the way–and one big reason all this activity may be a false alarm.
5 Signs There Is An Album On The Way
1. She's been spending time in studios. A lot of time. And at least some of it seems to be dedicated to working on her eighth album.
2. Collaborators have been talking and Tweeting. Among the people who've mentioned new work with Rih: DJ Mustard, Kanye West, Ester Dean, Nicki Minaj, Kiesza, Nicky Romeo and David Guetta, Rodney Jerkins, Ty Dolla $ign, and more. In the words of Chris Martin, who collaborated with Rihanna on "Princess of China": "It's like trying to win American Idol, getting a song on Rihanna's album. It's hard. Everyone wants to write songs for her."
3. She's swamped newstands. Rihanna's on the cover of both Elle and Esquire UK's (very sexy) December issues. Why would she be doing all this press– this posing nearly-nude for strangers in a studio somewhere, when she could be hanging and posing for pictures on a yacht at sunset with her girls– if she doesn't have something big to announce?
4. She's finally back on Instagram. @BadGalRiRi is back! Her amazing account was 86-ed by Instagram last May after she posted nipple-baring pictures from her LUI magazine shoot, but last weekend the social network officially welcomed her return. The timing here–as with the rash of covers–could be part of a concerted effort to remind the public just how badass she is before she drops an album.
5. Those alleged internal memos. We say album, because there have now been a couple of leaked internal memos announcing Rihanna albums due out in the next couple of months. The first surfaced in late October on a site called SpyGhana. According to that memo, Roc Nation has an album titled Lost Files, with features from Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Big Sean, slotted for release on November 25. It was printed on legit-seeming record label letter head, but it also says a press release was supposed to go out on November 4th and that didn't happen. But a second alleged memo has since made the rounds, this one calling the album Outstrip and giving it a December 15 release date. FADER reached out to Roc Nation about both leaks, and received no comment back.
One Reason There Might Not Be An Album Coming
1. Because it might be a clothing line instead. All this effort to reenter the public's imagination seems like a clear sign that Rih's up to something, but that something might not end up being a new album after all. Over the summer, it was reported that Rihanna trademarked her surname, Fenty, for potential use in all things apparel and cosmetics (e.g. Fenty Clothing, Fenty Intimates, Fenty Beauty, Fenty Nails, Fenty Corp). So maybe it's not music that she's getting ready to push, it's a makeup line of her very own. A consolation prize we would still be psyched for.
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