SOUND VS. STYLE: RIHANNA
by Jeremy Danté
anti: a person who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy or action. there are very few leaders in the game of new school urban sound. when she hit the scene; rihanna was a pretty island girl with some cute shit to say. she sang about a thug coming into her life, or having to deal with the dilemma of cheating on her lover. we’ve taken cover under her umbrella, and while she transitioned into a good girl gone bad; she never lost her heart. she has grown into a woman, and there is no greater proof than this album. of the few leaders, exists rihanna. i won’t delve into an intricate dissection of the album, track by track. you as the listener can feel on your own. ANTI cements rihanna as an artist and leader in rare, but true form.
equipped with vibes and production to usher in a new era for, not only her; but a sound that will no doubt create a ripple affect in music, ANTI is rihanna’s strongest body of work to date. from the writing, to the mystique around it’s release. rihanna is at a level that not many artists can reach. brought into stardom at the forefront of the digital revolution in music; rihanna has maintained elevated visibility, remains one of musics most downloaded artists of all time and crushes all competition, being praised as one of the most marketable celebrities in all of entertainment. in development, her growth has been very organic. we’ve celebrated accomplishments with her, we’ve grown into fashion and style with her, our hearts broke with her and our hearts have mended with her. long gone are the days of her just being some girl from barbados, but here stands a woman with a voice- not just in music, but with her message. a message of strength, and endurance- which inspires you to push forward. it’s about not apologizing for who you are, and for celebrating such individuality; despite the backlash or harsh reactions you might get.
ANTI is a body of work that will continue to live on; and unlike her previous projects, is far more holistic. in maturity alone, rihanna is fearless in her expression and her experience shines brighter than it ever has before. there is the unspoken sex appeal, a vulnerability, an edge; but never lacking a vision or purpose, all of the writing is perfectly etched to the being of rihanna herself. the sound is personalized, and new. not such a drastic departure from music we’ve heard from her before, but it cohesively blends her personality, to a sound, to an image- and to a true and unbreakable beauty that only she can create, promote and sell. with rihanna, it’s not about selling a product. it’s about branding properly. to the extreme of artistry and appeal fusing to become one being. rihanna proves that she can do anything and that she is more than just a single’s artist, which she has been widely criticized for. this body of work is a domino effect of sonic vibes that are both feminine and in your face; all the pieces fit perfectly in their place. they contrast and combine the hard and soft, in a way that many artists are, well, not cool enough to pull off. it’s about balance, development and thorough understanding of where she has been, as a girl, where she is as an artist and where she is headed as a woman and icon. this among many other moments of static in music is true, artistic clarity.