Rihanna has been known to not show the way she feels in her music, some people may say she is just a club anthem artist. In 2016, Robyn Rihanna Fenty released a project where she actually gave us strength, pain, and vulnerability. And what did the higher ups in the music industry do, Nothing. This year, the Grammy academy seemed to down play Rihanna's biggest album, Anti.
Rihanna’s ANTI sales skyrocketed like no other. After nabbing 1 million downloads in just 14 hours and topping the Billboard 200 back in February, Rihanna’s latest album reached new levels that this artist has ever seen with any album in her career. On May 5, ANTI was certified double platinum by the RIAA, becoming the first 2X multi-platinum album of 2016. Additionally, her Drake-assisted single “Work,” which spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, is the first 3X multi-platinum song of the year. Which spent nine weeks as the top song in the country, moving her past The Beatles’.
She placed third in Spotify’s most streamed artists, behind only Drake and Justin Bieber. In everyone's end of the year list, Anti was nearly universally dubbed as one of the best of 2016 — in close competition with Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Which in my opinion the Grammy's should have focused on Rihanna's Anti and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Those two albums were on literally everyone's phone playing in heavy rotation. I mean, who was really playing Adele's entire album on a constant loop? But for Rihanna to receive a mind blowing eight nominations at this year's Grammy awards and not receive one, is sort of disrespectful to Rihanna as an artist.
"I WANTED SONGS THAT I COULD PERFORM IN 15 YEARS; I WANTED AN ALBUM THAT I COULD PERFORM IN 15 YEARS,"
Her songs have topped the charts for 12 years straight. With songs such as her 2007’s "Umbrella" with Jay Z, 2009’s "Run This Town" with Jay Z and Kanye West, 2010’s "What's My Name" featuring Drake, and 2011’s "We Found Love" with Calvin Harris became worldwide anthems. We Found Love is the 24th-highest-selling single in American history and sat at No. 1 on 31 charts in 25 countries.
Rihanna teased us with her album Unapologetic, that album peeled back the layers of a 28-year-old superstar. Basically giving us a sneak peek of what she was actually feeling at the moment because before then nobody really understood Rihanna as a human, we only knew her as an artist. She should us Flaws and all. We only knew her as this hurt little girl and scared to actually speak out and show her true self. Her focus changed following the domestic violence incident with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. Involuntarily, the image of the innocent singer from the islands who had become a regular centerpiece on Top 40 radio had evaporated. She became a centerpiece in an ugly and much-needed conversation.
Literally, everything from "James Joint" and "Sex With Me" was a roller coaster of frustration and emotion. She studied the future of a passionate relationship on "Desperado." She hit every note to express the demand for the most knowledgeable rule of dating, no-strings-attached sex on "Yeah, I Said It." The very relatable of finding love again on top of a toxic relationship gives you "Never Ending." The heart wrenching "Love on the Brain" — a subtle homage to Amy Winehouse’s "Wake Up Alone" — is a continuous chase that can easily last a lifetime, for a soulmate.
“I WANTED TO KIND OF GET BACK TO — NOT THAT THEY WEREN’T REAL MUSIC, BUT I JUST WANTED TO FOCUS ON THINGS THAT FELT REAL, THAT FELT SOULFUL, THAT FELT FOREVER.” - RIHANNA
And despite being skipped over for Album of the Year at the 2017 Grammys, Anti is hands down 2016’s most well-rounded personalized album to date. Anti speaks to each part of our emotions. The self inflicted pain of being lost in love, emotionless sex, drunkin nights where you want to talk to that special someone, and our deepest pain. Anti works because, despite millions and millions of records sold worldwide, she was willing to push herself outside of her comfort zone. Or maybe Anti is an mixture of it all.
“I USED TO FEEL UNSAFE RIGHT IN THE MOMENT OF AN ACCOMPLISHMENT — I FELT THE GROUND FALL FROM UNDER MY FEET BECAUSE THIS COULD BE THE END, AND EVEN NOW, WHILE EVERYONE IS CELEBRATING, I’M ON TO THE NEXT THING.” - RIHANNA SAID, JUST THREE MONTHS AFTER ANTI RELEASE.
Either way Rihanna has given us her heart and left it on the table, it's up to her if wants to leave it their for us to appreciate it or tuck it back in for people to miss it when it's gone.