There’s no disputing that Rihanna is a goddess sent from heaven above to grace us mere mortals with her presence, gorgeous voice and incredible wardrobe. Basically, we like her. Like, a lot.
She’s conquered everything this year, from topping the charts to taking over fashion week to launching one of the most inclusive make-up lines ever, which is why we’re taking a moment to recognise the greatness she’s blessed us with in the past.
While we all know her big hits, Riri has also recorded some less recognised gems throughout her career that deserve just as much love as her fist-pumping banger Only Girl In The World. So, if you think you know Rihanna’s back catalogue, see if you recognise any of these..
Let us take you back to 2007, when Rihanna wore a lot of big earrings and Justin Timberlake was still pretty cool. The result is a sultry and smooth tune that compares her love interest to addictive substances. It’s actually a lot nicer than it sounds. Bonus: JT takes a quick shower in the middle of the desert in this video, so it’s worth watching just for that.
If It’s Lovin’ That You Want
Now this is what we call a throwback. Rihanna’s second ever single had a much more tropical vibe, but still involved plenty of her signature hip wagging and booty popping to get on board with. Not to mention a glimpse of Riri with long beachy waves — is there any ‘do she doesn’t suit?!
Break It Off
A collab with Sean Paul was pretty much a rite of passage for female pop vocalists of the noughties, and Rihanna’s Break It Off is one of the best. Sexy, fast-paced and with plenty of energy, we can pretty much picture ourselves grinding to this tune in a handkerchief skirt and pointed toe boots as we type.
Album Rated R saw this Bajan superstar go a little edgier, with a rock-meets-R&B vibe flowing through every track — and you don’t get much rockier than this. Rihanna enlisted none other than Guns ‘N Roses legend Slash to play guitar on this slow-paced banger that’s filled to the brim with racy and rebellious lyrics.
Ah, how we miss red-haired Riri. We also miss this tune, which features rap queen Nicki Minaj, but isn’t anything like the 1983 song of the same name (or Geri Halliwell’s 2001 remake, for that matter). It’s an empowering anthem telling you to have your pick of the guys, because there are so many out there you’ll literally never run out. Prepare to learn Nicki’s rap off by heart, too.
Cockiness (Love It)
This is when we saw Rihanna get really *edgy*, with 2011 marking the release of her sixth album and some seriously explicit songs. Cockiness is one of the best, making it almost impossible to describe in words. The first verse starts with the words “I want you to be my sex slave”, so we’ll leave it at that.
Getting back together with Chris Brown in 2012 was always going to be a risky move, but it did give life to this retro sounding tune, which is pretty much a direct response to all the haters. It’s all in the lyrics with this one, and be sure to listen out for the Michael Jackson-esque ad libs.
American Oxygen is a bit of an anomaly for Riri — released in 2015, it didn’t chart well and seemingly got lost between the brash Bitch Better Have My Money and the raw FourFiveSeconds. However, this track deserves a lot more love than it received, purely based on its political message and epic arrangement.
Phresh Out The Runway
This is an absolute winner of a tune to blast out when you’re really feeling yourself. Unashamedly cocky and confident, this 2012 song is just asking to be added to your getting ready playlist, work out playlist and basically any other playlist you have. In fact, start a new one just for this right now.
All of the Lights
Unlike some artists, Rihanna hasn’t actually teamed up with many other artists throughout her career. However, this Kanye and Kid Cudi collaboration of epic proportions is definitely one of her finest. She provides the sexy vocal hook on this loud and proud banger, as well as looking absolute fire in the electrifying video. Just watch and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
So, which is your favourite?