A documentary about Rihanna’s Super Bowl show is apparently in the works

Written by on 25/11/2022

Rihanna’s return to music is finally under way, but despite getting two tracks from the Black Panther score, in a recent interview with the Associated Press, Rihanna set the record straight about her forthcoming Super Bowl performance: that fans should see the performance as an unconnected, entirely separate event to the arrival of a new album. “Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?” she said. “The second that I announced this, I said, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to think my album is coming. I need to get to work.’” Luckily for us, even if new music isn’t right around the corner, we could have a Rihanna documentary to indulge in soon too.

According to our oh so reliable sources over at The Sun newspaper, and reported later by RollingOut.com, Apple TV+ have reportedly hatched a deal with RiRi to document her Super Bowl performance rehearsals and the show itself, similar to Lady Gaga’s Five Foot Two.

“She will be recorded during rehearsals and meetings in the lead-up to the big night and give an insight into what her life is really like now that she is returning to pop as a mum,” an insider source told The Sun. “Rihanna is a massive force to be reckoned with when it comes to music and so Apple has paid millions.”

Of course, the Navy have been subject to a number of false starts in the past few years, so don’t be surprised if this winds up being untrue. What they thought might be a new single would have wound up being… a new highlighter stick instead, which is what led many to believe her announcement on Instagram for the Super Bowl — just her arm holding the NFL football — might be another decoy. Fans are gearing up for the event to look something like this: 

We jest! So what are the cold hard facts about R9, Rihanna’s forthcoming album, and the new Black Panther tracks? Come on gays, let’s break it down.

Has Rihanna been in the studio?

Short answer: yes, and quite frequently, which is why folks have been confused as to why we haven’t heard any new solo material in quite some time. Paparazzi have spotted Rihanna and her boyfriend, A$AP Rocky, in an LA studio over the past week, adding to a slew of sightings over the past two years.

So what’s the deal with the Black Panther music?

A few weeks ahead of the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on 11 November, Disney gave us what many have construed as a nod towards what to expect from the music. In a video released on socials, the ‘R’ from the glistening Wakanda Forever logo is pulled into the foreground, with 28 October listed underneath.

Later, Rihanna posted the announcement on her own socials, revealing she’d written “Lift Me Up”, a track for the film in collaboration with Tems, composer Ludwig Göransson and the film’s director Ryan Coogler. The song is said to be a tribute to the life and legacy of the late actor Chadwick Boseman, who previously starred in the franchise. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Tems said she wanted to write “something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life.”

“I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them,” the musician said in a statement. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”

On the day of the movie’s release, we got our second taste of new Rihanna music, and it was another ballad called “Born Again”.

Fans already have their opinions:

Of course, these are just excerpts from the Black Panther score and aren’t necessarily representative of what R9 — whenever it materialises — will sound like.

What were the reviews like for Lift Me Up?

Obviously, expectations for the first Rihanna song in six years were sky high, and the reactions from fans and critics was strong to mixed. Some praised RiRi’s vocal prowess:

Others were just happy to have her back:

In their review, Rolling Stone wrote “the track allows Rihanna’s impressive vocals to shine as she’s backed by a piano and minimal string instruments”, while Consequence of Sound signalled the song’s arrival with the statement: “Our long national nightmare has finally come to an end”.

But not everyone is quite so smitten. Some have framed it as disposable, while others are reminding us that it’s just a Black Panther track, not a sign of things to come sonically. But maybe some people just had the wrong idea?

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What’s the next Rihanna album called?

While elusive artists like Frank Ocean and Lorde have peppered teasers on social media, enough for fans to start at least making wild guesses at what’s coming next, Rihanna fans have nothing for Rihanna’s next standalone record. It’s unlikely her music will bear any of the same titles of her fashion or beauty ranges.

What will Rihanna’s next album sound like?

Now this we have heard hints about. Speaking at a Savage x Fenty show this time last year, RiRi told journalists: “You’re not going to expect what you hear.” Genre-wise she’s done it all, from EDM to rock-pop to R&B. She told Vogue, back in October 2019, that the record would be reggae inspired, which would align with her more recent statements.

In terms of collaborators, well, Rocky is with her in the studio, so a feature wouldn’t be a huge surprise. In pre-COVID times, she also posted on Instagram Stories alluding to being in the studio with The Neptunes, the production duo of Pharrell and Chad Hugo. One of Rihanna’s most recent vocal features was, of course, with N.E.R.D. on “Lemon”. That was so long ago that that music might have been scrapped, but knowing they’ve worked well together before, it’s likely Pharrell will be involved somehow. 

How do I get tickets to see Rihanna at the Super Bowl?

Tickets for the following year’s Super Bowl go on sale shortly after the event happens in February, so die-hard football fans have had the chance to snag tickets to the event for seven months now. But following Rihanna’s announcement as the half-time performer, there was an unprecedented surge in ticket interest. According to AceOdds.com, who picked through Google Trends data, there was a search increase of 9900% for Super Bowl tickets in the 24 hours after she posted that cryptic football pic.

If you’re looking to head down IRL, instead of watching it on TV like the rest of us, you better be prepared to fork out serious cash! Ticketmaster have a series of VIP packages that currently lead to dead links, which makes us think they’ve sold out completely.

There are, as always, resale tickets via VividSeats — but they’re not cheap. Nosebleed stadium seats are currently going for around $4800, if you fancy seeing Rih-ANT-a. Tickets for the lower pitch levels are priced between $15,000 and $40,000.

What is the next Rihanna album’s release date?

Every time Rihanna has loosely dated new music, saying it’s coming “soon” or, as she said in 2018, “next year”, it’s never materialised. So it’s best to stop hoping quite so hard for a solid timeline. Speaking around a Savage x Fenty launch, Rihanna told Access Hollywood that “In the past, I’d shoot out an album in three months, but now, I don’t have the luxury of doing that because I have this other baby.” The baby she was referring to was Savage x Fenty; now she has an actual baby. But with her first live performance in nearly half a decade lined up, it’s not unlikely that a Rihanna single, at the very least — could be with us within the coming year. No promises though.

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