It’s been more than three years since Rihanna released a new album, about a year and a half since she released a single (and even then, only as a featured artist, on N.E.R.D.’s “Lemon”), and just over a year since she gave a major public performance. Fortunately, on Tuesday night, she remedied one of those things: During a party celebrating her Fenty Beauty brand in London, Rihanna grabbed the mic for a short but deeply impactful karaoke session, marking her first live performance since the Grammy Awards in January 2018.
As seen in videos captured by attendees at the event—and faithfully reposted by fan accounts—not only did Rihanna sing along to Brandy and Monica’s seminal hit “The Boy Is Mine,” but she also teamed up with beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina to perform her own song “Rehab,” the Justin Timberlake–featuring single off 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad. Aina, of course, was appropriately stunned by the surreal experience: “we’d been keeping the Rih Rih event secret for months and I’m so happy it finally happened I still really can’t even believe we met, took shots with, sang karaoke with and partied with Rih!!!!!” she tweeted afterward.
To cap it all off, Rihanna also danced along to “Wild Thoughts,” her song with DJ Khaled and another of her last singles before her ominous and prolonged silence, though, sadly, she didn’t provide live vocals to that track.
With any luck, the remaining aspects of this Rihanna drought will soon be remedied as well. She’s been hinting for months that her next album will arrive sometime in 2019. In her cover interview for the June 2018 issue of Vogue, she revealed that her next album would be heavily inspired by reggae music, and in August, she posted several photos and videos on her Instagram Story showing her in front of a microphone, seemingly in a recording studio. Since then, however, she’s made only passing mentions of new music, and only in the form of homemade memes directly trolling her expectant fans. In fact, Tuesday night’s throwback karaoke sesh may simply be the latest of those memes: Singing along to a decade-old song when the world is breathlessly awaiting new music of any kind is certainly the move of a master troll.