Rihanna has returned with “Lift Me Up,” the lead single from the soundtrack to Marvel’s upcoming film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It is the pop star’s first solo single since releasing her eighth studio album Anti in 2016. The song was co-written by Rihanna, Tems, Ludwig Göransson, and Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler and pays tribute Chadwick Boseman, the original Black Panther star who passed away in 2020.
Announced just this week, Rihanna’s return to music has been the subject of much discussion, speculation, and fan frustration. She initially began recording a reggae album, reportedly recording over 500 songs for the project with collaborators that included Pharrell and Koffee (Shaggy was reportedly asked to audition). However, soon after the birth of her first child in 2022, she told Vogue that she was looking at the project “entirely differently.”
The massive success of Rihanna’s Fenty brand led some to believe that music had taken a backseat, though she dismissed that idea in a 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “I am always working on music,” she said, “and when I am ready to put it out in the way that I feel fit, it’s gonna come out.”
Rihanna hasn’t been entirely absent from music since releasing Anti. She had a run of features on some hugely successful singles in 2017, appearing on “Wild Thoughts“ by DJ Khaled and “Loyalty“ by Kendrick Lamar, the latter winning Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. She also featured on “Lemon,” the comeback single from N.E.R.D., and Future’s “Selfish.” She went quiet till 2020 when PARTYNEXTDOOR enlisted her for the single “Believe It.”