It’s been 3 years, 2 months and maybe four-five seconds since we’ve heard a new Rihanna album, but who’s counting right? After rumors of completely vetoing an entire project, dropping one-off singles every few months, to recently stringing us along her ANTIdiaRy Samsung series, it looks like we are finally clear for a Rihanna record.
With a couple false starts and promising release dates, according to the bad-gal herself, ANTI has crossed the recording finish line. Which only means, it could be here any day within the next few weeks leading up to her accompanying world tour.
So with the anticipation continuing to reach a new high, we put together a timeline of all the tip-off’s leading up to Rih’s over-hyped deliverable.
February 26, 2014: Rihanna opts out of releasing a consecutive yearly album, and instead announces her contribution to the animated DreamWorks film Home. Along with staring in the film, Rihanna provided soundtrack work and original tracks to the project.
May 28, 2014: This is where things get real interesting. Rihanna tweets a series of cryptic song lyrics, alluding to a bad relationship with the hashtag #barz, off what appears to be her upcoming eighth studio album.
And I hate that all I hate just don't compare, because I love you #barz— Rihanna (@rihanna) May 28, 2014
Let me make it clear, ain't no place better, than where we're together...just me and my money #bars— Rihanna (@rihanna) May 28, 2014
And with Keri Hilson adding her two-cents of #barz, it only heightened speculation that the lyrics were a possible track the two singers were working on.
I'll go from super-woman to servant in a minute if you're worth it. #barz— Keri Hilson (@KeriHilson) May 23, 2014
September 26, 2014: The singer reunites with frequent collaborator and songwriter Ester Dean in the studio, who is also responsible for Rih’s smash hits “Rude Boy,” “What’s My Name,” and “Where Have You Been.” One of the most promising leads that #R8, was in motion.
October 25, 2014: Rihanna fans latch on to a rumored #R8 tracklist found by The Breakfast Club co-host DJ Envy. Titled Lost Files with a November 25 release date, the unofficial document pointed to features with Nicki Minaj, Drake, Big Sean and Eminem.
November 2, 2014: The bad-gal makes her return to Instagram after a six month hiatus, and to what we believe is a possible launch of her upcoming promotional run.
November 3, 2014: Rihanna covers Elle’s December issue, marking the rise of supermodel RiRi. This is the first of many cover spreads the singer
graces slays over much of the following year.
November 3, 2014: Despite the duo's chart gold hit in 2011 with "We Found Love," the electronic producer Calvin Harris told a British newspaper, “No, I’m not on the Rihanna album. I did a few things for it but they don’t get back to you, there are a lot of people involved.”
“She listens to everything, I know that, but she’s got a strong idea and identity and an idea of what her album should sound like,” Calvin continued. “It’s okay because I’m working on my stuff and it’s going fine.”
November 11, 2014: Ne-Yo confirms he's heard the album and goes further to say, #R8 is “absolutely incredible” in a London radio interview.
“The stuff I’ve heard is absolutely incredible. I can’t speak on what it sounds like because I’ll get in trouble. But I definitely feel like people are gonna enjoy it. Anybody that’s a Rihanna fan is gonna stay a Rihanna fan, and anybody that’s not might become a Rihanna fan … just gear up for it.”
November 25, 2014: Finally! We have something to vibe to. Rihanna surprises fans with a song snippet produced by MikeWiLLMadeIt. “Ain’t none of this shit promised/ Ain’t none of this promised," she sings over the looping ominous beat.
December 16, 2014: The #RihannaNavy is gifted with a second snippet, in which they dubbed “Kiss It Better.”
December 19, 2014: Rihanna surprised her most loyal fans in Paris by sending them a message, or a DM rather, to meet in the city’s Trocadero area for an actual meet-and-greet she referred to as the #R8 experience. Only continuing fans inclination of a promotional tour for the album.
January 24, 2015: Rihanna drops the smoky acoustic track “FourFiveSeconds,” alongside the star-studded collaboration of Kanye West and Paul McCartney. It’s a good sign that this is RiRi's polarizing lead single off the album, after reports that the radio-pop hit will be featured on both her and Kanye’s upcoming projects.
February 9, 2015: Kanye West reveals himself to be #R8’s executive producer. Shortly after the trio, Rih, Yé and Paul, celebrated their pop-hit “FourFiveSeconds” with an acoustic performance at the Grammy’s, the artists take their musical relationship to the next level as Kanye explains his contribution to #R8.
“I’m executive producing Rihanna’s album. I played her my album. And I said, ‘I got a few songs with Paul McCartney,” West explains. “She couldn’t get past the record [‘FourFiveSeconds’]. She had to have it on her album.” Yeah, no big deal.
February 21, 2015: The part-time model debuts her striking, editorial worthy #R8 promo photos. Shot by Paolo Roversi, the black-and-white high-fashion images, show off a more sleek and European side of the singer. Now it’s just a matter of time before the album release…or so we thought.
March 5, 2015: Rihanna teases another snippet of a track titled “Higher.” Flexing her vocals over grand strings and inviting a lover to come over for a glass of whiskey, she sings, "This whiskey got me feeling pretty/ So pardon me if I'm impolite/ I just really need your ass with me.”
In the second Instagram snippet of “Higher,” she alludes to working with songwriter/producer Kuk Harrell and Marcos Tovar, who’s been working with Rihanna since Good Girl Gone Bad.
March 25, 2015: “Bitch Better Have My Money” drops, and it’s instantly the get-money-anthem. If you were leaning towards a chilled-out folk vibe for the album, you thought wrong. Produced by Deputy, it’s a grimey take that showcases her much-loved ratchet side as she’s sing/rapping about turnin’ up for what belongs to her.
March 30, 2015: Rih debuts “BBHMM” with a performance at the iHeartRadio Awards. Dressed as a cross between the animated supervillian The Joker and something Bishop Don Juan would flex in, she emerges out of an aircraft wearing a black bodysuit, thigh-high neon green boots with matching fur coat and sunglasses. The internet and meme world goes crazy.
April 6, 2015: Rihanna premieres the full studio version and video of her Alex Da Kid-produced “American Oxygen,’ a striding, American Dream-themed anthem presumably featured on her upcoming album.
April 14, 2015: At this point, the world may never know if Rihanna’s #R8 will actyally be released, but there’s another preview to hold her navy over. The song teaser is reportedly titled “A Night,” which fetaures a sample from Florence + The Machine’s “Only If For A Night.” The track is featured in her latest behind-the-scenes Dior ad campaign video, as she’s seen fiercely posing to the moody record.
April 20, 2015: The artist shares “James Joint” interlude, on her favorite holiday of course, and called it “one of her favorites off the album." She posted the track on her official website.
“I’d rather be smoking weed whenever we breathe / Every time you kiss me / Don’t say that you miss me / Just come get me,”she muses on the seductive track.
July 2, 2015: Rihanna drops her “BBHMM” video, and it’s lit. The bloody and totally badass video is one of the bad-gal’s best visuals to date. Hope is restored!
September 17, 2015: The singers covers NME, talks #R8 delay.
“To me it’s never done until it’s done. Until the final moment,” she told the magazine. “No matter what I post online, within three comments there’s somebody saying, ‘Where is ‘R8’?’ I could post anything. Nothing else matters. They don’t care about anything but that. But it makes me excited, because I can’t wait to give them something great.”
At this point, we'll just believe it when we hear it.
October 7, 2015: Okay, okay, just when we started not to care, (well not really) she unveils the artwork and the official title for the album. The moment took place at a Los Angeles gallery, where she shared
#R8 ANTI, with fans and industry elites. Curated by Israeli artist Roy Nachum, it shows a reworked abstract photo of a young Rihanna that was taken on her first time at daycare, with a gold crown covering RiRi’s eyes. After nearly three years of putting up with endless teasers, magazine covers and Instagram snippets, we have confirmation the album is indeed not a hoax.
November 19, 2015: ANTI’s release date reaches a new high when Rihanna launches a new website for her eighth studio album, in which she partners with Samsung. On ANTIDiary.com, fans are able to unlock exclusive content related to her new album, on an optimized site for mobile use. ANTI still doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s rumored to drop November 27 on TIDAL and December 4 for all platforms.
November 22, 2015: Rihanna premieres ANTIdiaRy commercial and the first promo commercial during 2015 AMA’s. The clip runs for a one minute and finds a fresh-faced Rihanna appearing in a white children’s bedroom. She then follows two kids down a dark, luminous hallway, starting the taunting Samsung series.
November 23, 2015: ANTI World Tour dates are announced, The Weeknd, Big Sean, and Travi$ Scott to support.
December 28, 2015: Rihanna songwriter blames ANTI album delay on Travi$ Scott. So at this point, Rih and Travi$ are a couple, well according to a string of PDA sightings, and not everyone is too thrilled about it. Songwriter Glass John, who wrote a potential ANTI track that Rih teased on Instagram last December called “Kiss It Better,” took to Twitter to let off a lengthy rant where he blames Travi$ Scott for the LP delay.
I'm fighting to get "Kiss It Better" to the world... But Travis Scott has been delaying it— Johnny®™ Wintour®™ (@JohnnyWintour) December 27, 2015
I can no longer be on the low w/ my wife... So now I'm letting it be known— Johnny®™ Wintour®™ (@JohnnyWintour) December 27, 2015
why do you think all the songs me and @ChrisBrown do are about Rihanna— Johnny®™ Wintour®™ (@JohnnyWintour) December 27, 2015
Travis Scott made her put out "Bitch Better Have My Money"......— Johnny®™ Wintour®™ (@JohnnyWintour) December 27, 2015
It was suppose to drop on my birthday 11.6th so then me and her could tell the world about us— Johnny®™ Wintour®™ (@JohnnyWintour) December 27, 2015
Then it was supposed to drop on chrismas... But travis keeps putting doubt in her mind— Johnny®™ Wintour®™ (@JohnnyWintour) December 27, 2015
Yikes. But his "wife" though? Interesting.
January 4, 2016: It’s a new year, and time for a new ANTIdiaRy. Rihanna unlocks the seventh room of her ANTIdiaRy: The Office, yet it’s still unclear when she plans to drop her long-awaited album.
January 26, 2015: The pop star, took to Twitter to share a selfie of herself listening to a finished ANTI album. Clearly such a special occasion, as she wore a golden headphone crown that retails for nearly $9,000. Just hold on #RihannaNavy, we’re almost home.
January 27, 2016: Rihanna premieres Drake collaboration “Work,” and her first official (like, for real this time) album single.
"First single 'Work' featuring Drake from ANTI is here," Rihanna wrote across her social media channels.
And even better news, according to Billboard, ANTI is expected to arrive this week. (*prayer hands)