Next year, Rihanna will be taking to the big stage as the headliner for Super Bowl LVII’s halftime show. As such, the world is anticipating what to expect from the Barbadian star, especially since she’s been quiet on the music front of late.
It’s been 17 years since Rihanna liberated her debut studio LP Music of the Sun, a beautiful mix of pop, R&B, and dancehall. Since then, she’s continued to reinvent herself through a variety of styles and genres, dabbling in everything from emotionally charged ballads to booming party cuts perfect for your nearest stadium. Through it all, Rihanna has sold over 250 million records worldwide, making her the second bestselling female artist of all time behind Madonna. She’s also amassed enough gold, platinum, and diamond plaques to solidify her as a bonafide legend in the industry. It’s hopeful that Rih’s forthcoming appearance means there will be many more accolades to come, as fans have been looking for a new album from the billionaire mogul since 2016’s Anti.
Below, we have compounded 11 songs that would make for a dream Super Bowl setlist, complete with solo chart-toppers and larger-than-life collaborations throughout. We will see which of these — if any — will be utilized come Feb. 12.
1. “Stay” feat. Mikky Ekko (from Unapologetic)
Released in 2013, “Stay” is a ballad that stars some powerful piano-led production, making this the kind of song that would fit in perfectly for a huge performance. It contains the kind of raw emotion that shows just how versatile Rihanna became during the height of her career.
Produced by: Justin Parker, Elof Loelv, Kuk Harrell, and Mikky Ekko
2. “Don’t Stop The Music” (from Good Girl Gone Bad)
“Don’t Stop The Music” is one of many hits from Rihanna that saw her delving deeper into the dance genre, making this the kind of rave-worthy tune that will have everyone in Glendale, Arizona’s State Farm Stadium on their feet — whether they’re only in attendance for the sports or not.
Produced by: StarGate
3. “We Found Love” (from Talk That Talk)
Continuing the dance/electronic theme, 2011’s “We Found Love” stands as one of Rihanna‘s best-selling singles of all time. The track also landed on Calvin Harris’ own album 18 Months, marking his first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100. It would be surprising if this song didn’t make the cut for the Super Bowl halftime show.
Produced by: Calvin Harris
4. “Umbrella” (from Good Girl Gone Bad)
Just imagine the moment when, in the midst of an already breathtaking set, Rihanna switches to this massive hit single. Add in a possible appearance from NFL partner JAY-Z, and you have what could amount to absolute pandemonium — both within the venue and in the houses of the millions tuning in.
Produced by: Kuk Harrell and Tricky Stewart
5. “B**ch Better Have My Money”
Given the song’s explicit nature, “B**ch Better Have My Money” — said to be inspired by Rihanna‘s previous accountant woes — is probably the least likely song to make the Super Bowl setlist. But given Rihanna’s penchant to go against what is expected, one can still hope that an iteration of this powerful number makes its way to the big performance.
Produced by: WondaGurl, Kuk Harrell, Travis Scott, Kanye West, and Deputy
6. “Only Girl (In the World)” (from Loud)
Another arena classic, “Only Girl (In The World)” would be a perfect addition to Rihanna‘s Super Bowl performance, which would more than certainly include plenty of synchronized dancing throughout. As the video shows, a live rendition of the Loud standout could also come with plenty of fireworks under the night sky, making Rihanna’s set even more larger than life.
Produced by: Kuk Harrell, Sandy Vee, and StarGate
7. “Diamonds” (from Unapologetic)
This inspirational number quickly became one of Rihanna‘s most universally known songs, eventually topping charts all over the globe (including Billboard’s Hot 100). As many from different countries will be watching, “Diamonds” could end up being one of the most memorable moments from the halftime show set.
Produced by: Sia, Benny Blanco, and StarGate
8. “Rude Boy” (from Rated R)
Released in 2010, this liberating number includes elements from Rihanna‘s more dancehall-oriented vibes and would help to diversify what’s sure to be an amazing performance. As sexual themes can be heard throughout, this might also be looked at as too hot for television, much in the same way as “B**ch Better Have My Money.”
Produced by: Rob Swire & StarGate
9. “Work” feat. Drake (from ANTI)
Just as an assist from Hov would turn the heat up on Rihanna‘s halftime show, an appearance from Drake would definitely help to make the Super Bowl set one of the most watched. Rihanna and Drake’s chemistry has always been palpable in music videos, and re-creating that feel on such a stage would be talked about for years to come.
Produced by: Sevn Thomas, Allen Ritter, Kuk Harrell, 40, and Boi-1da
10. “Hard” feat. Jeezy (from Rated R)
“Hard” is the kind of hard-hitting cut that would bring the world to its knees as a possible halftime show opener. Jeezy‘s inclusion would add to its flare, especially if the militant themes used in the song’s visual were applied on stage. Simply put, it’s another high-energy cut that would quickly set the bar for what’s to come during the presumed 10 to 15-minute show.
Produced by: Makeba Riddick, Tricky Stewart, and The-Dream
11. “Wild Thoughts” with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller (from DJ Khaled’s Grateful)
As the most recent song on this list, 2017’s “Wild Thoughts” marks what many would consider to be Rihanna’s last big hit to date (she did also appear on PARTYNEXTDOOR’s moderately successful single “Believe It” in 2020). If there’s anyone that would increase the energy levels of a stadium, it would certainly be the always animated DJ Khaled. A surprise appearance from a guitar-wielding Santana — whom the song samples — wouldn’t hurt, either.
Produced by: DJ Khaled, L.V.M., and DJ Nasty