Rihanna Has Officially Returned to Music

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Rihanna at the MET Gala
Taylor Hill/WireImage

Update: Six years after her last release, and Rihanna is finally back to making music. On Friday, the singer dropped “Lift Me Up,” the lead single for Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The song is a soft ballad, posed as a tribute to the first film’s late star Chadwick Boseman. It contains lyrics like, “Lift me up/Hold me down/Keep me close/Safe and sound” and “Drowning in an endless sea/Take some time and stay with me/Keep me in the strength of your arms/Keep me safe/Safe and sound.” Listen below:

Original Post: It’s not an album, but it’s something. Rihanna just announced that she will drop “Lift Me Up” on Friday, October 28, marking the singer’s first single release since 2016. The song will act as the lead single for the soundtrack of the upcoming Marvel film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and it could possibly enter Rihanna into the Oscar race for the first time.

According to a press release, “Lift Me Up” was “written as a tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman.” The singer worked on the track with Nigerian singer Tems, Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson, and the film’s director, Ryan Coogler. On Wednesday, October 26, Rihanna released a teaser for the song, which doesn’t reveal much but does feature humming over some instrumentals.

Fans have been anticipating new music from Rihanna since the 2016 release of her last album, Anti. Over the past six years, however, the singer has been focusing on her other entrepreneurial endeavors, like her Savage x Fenty line. Then, in September, it was revealed that Rihanna would be headlining 2023’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, a surefire sign that new music was coming. So far, “Lift Me Up” is the only thing that has been announced, but again, it’s better than nothing.

Rihanna’s work on the Black Panther soundtrack could very well enter her into this year’s Oscar race. Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s song “All the Stars,” which was created for the first Black Panther film, was nominated for Best Original Song at the awards in 2019. This means we could see a race between Rihanna and Lady Gaga during the award circuit this year, as the latter artist is expected to be nominated for her track “Hold My Hand” for Top Gun: Maverick. Of course, Gaga already won an Oscar for “Shallow” in 2019 (she beat out Lamar and SZA), and “Oscar winner Rihanna” does have a nice ring to it.

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