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If you've been a fully paid-up member of the Navy for any length of time, you'll be very much aware that Rihanna really likes to troll her fans (opens in new tab). Especially when it comes to the release of her ninth studio album—otherwise known as R9—which fans have been desperately awaiting since she confirmed its existence in a Vogue June 2018 cover story (opens in new tab). On Sunday, she posted a (very good) video of a dog dancing to House of Pain's "Jump Around," with the caption, "update: me listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it." Rihanna! Why must you do this to us, when we love you so?!
Call me naively optimistic, but I do have a theory: Back in December 2018, Rihanna said in an Instagram comment that the album would drop in 2019. Wouldn't it be an extremely Riri move to release R9 on New Year's Eve? If I had literally any money to spare at this point in the holiday season, I would absolutely bet on it.
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This, of course, is not the first time Rihanna's trolled her fans about her upcoming album—remember that Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta clip (opens in new tab) she teased us with in July? And the trolling isn't limited to the album: Cast your mind back to those Poison Ivy casting rumors (opens in new tab) she hinted at in September. It is extremely easy to love the funniest person in showbusiness, but my poor heart can take so little more!
Here's the most recent thing Rihanna said about the album, in her November Vogue cover story (opens in new tab). "I like to look at it as a reggae-inspired or reggae-infused album," she explained. "Reggae always feels right to me. It’s in my blood. It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture, or my environment that I grew up in; it never leaves. It’s always the same high. Even though I’ve explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven’t really homed in on completely for a body of work." We are ready, Rihanna. But given the 10 million views on your Instagram post, you definitely already know that.
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Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.
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