With songs like “Pon de Replay” and “Man Down” Rihanna has already triggered a taste for a dancehall album sometime in her career as a pop musician. Also, being a native of Barbados which is an element in her audible mark, it is a delightful wonder to hear the songstress explore her roots. Based on a recent report by Rolling Stone, the “Work” singer has been working on her next album and the album is a certified dancehall-reggae album.
Over the past year, the biggest Jamaican producers and singers throughout the dancehall-reggae turf have submitted material for Riri’s next album, striving for a chance to be featured the high profiled project. But of course, this is not new for the genre. R. City, Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor, Ricky Blaze, and more, who have worked with Sean Paul, Beyoncé, and Vybz Kartel are notables who have flashed their works Rihanna’s way. One dancehall producer states Rihanna’s team has received 500 records in lieu of the album’s making. “[Rihanna’s team] have, no lie, 500 records for this project [from] different producers and writers,” the producer 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.”
Out of the 500 pool, only ten records will be chosen. Before material is found to tweak worthy and finalized, a contract from Rihanna’s team is presented to the producer. One producer finds the opportunity to be healthy for the livelihood of dancehall-reggae music in the American market while another producer fears the megastar will dilute the Caribbean sound with pop elements, sidelining the genre. “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,” a producer recalled to Rolling Stone.
This is not Rihanna’s first time touching the Caribbean sound. Her debut lead single “Pon de Replay” is a pop and reggae fusion medley which is an avid representation of her Barbadian roots. She went on break the charts with reggae founded songs “Break It Off” feat Sean Paul, “Rude Boy,” “Whats My Name,” and most recently “Work.” A release date or time period has not come near being a public topic of discussion or basic awareness, but being this gem has been in the works for over a year, there is hope for a late 2018 release.