How Rihanna Discovered Her Voice
From her 2007 breakthrough, Good Girl Gone Bad, to her 2016 opus, Anti, many of the important conversations surrounding Rihanna’s discography have ignored her auspicious debut album, Music Of The Solar. A lot of this oversight will be attributed to how the Bajan singer’s discography grew expansively through the years, the results of fixed experimentation and risk-taking when she might simply as simply have sat again and rested on her laurels – or royalties.
Rihanna’s origin story is well-documented: a 17-year-old aspiring singer catches the ear of Def Jam’s then-President/CEO, Jay Z, auditions for him, and is obtainable a recording contract hours later. However it could take greater than only one single to tell apart herself from the Ciaras and Ameries of the day.
Listen to Music Of The Sun now.
‘Gained’t you flip the music up?’
As her debut single – and Music Of The Solar album opener – “Pon De Replay” promised, Rihanna would have an explosive affect on dancefloors worldwide. Accompanied by a operating dancehall riddim, the budding songstress raps, “Come, Mr. DJ, music pon de replay/Come, Mr. DJ, gained’t you flip the music up.” At that second, Rihanna not solely turned a chart success, hitting No.2 on the Billboard Sizzling 100, however a trendsetter, serving to to gasoline the 00s’ dancehall revival that included Sean Paul, Girl Noticed, and Beenie Man.
Launched on August 29, 2005, Music Of The Solar positioned a younger Rihanna on the forefront of West Indies music and tradition. Her follow-up single, “If It’s Lovin’ That You Need,” took a easy midtempo R&B monitor and added a soca spin courtesy of the 1988 fusion monitor “Wee Rule,” by UK hip-hop outfit Wee Papa Woman Rappers. Backed by the flare of metal drums, “If It’s Lovin’ That You Need” was proof that Rihanna was greater than only a one-hit-wonder.
Music Of The Solar seamlessly fused native sounds from Barbados and the remainder of the Caribbean and featured influential artists from the area. “Rush” capitalized on the fast-paced power of “Pon De Replay,” with Canada’s authentic “hip-hop ambassador,” Kardinall Offishall, who jumps on a verse.
“Right here I Go Once more” options frequent collaborator J-Standing and performs into the midtempo vibes of traditional reggae, with Rihanna delivering her first “oh na na” on document, predating her 2010 hit, “What’s My Identify?” In the meantime, legendary dancehall rapper Vybz Kartel inserts his ragga type over a canopy of Daybreak Penn’s “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No),” whereas Elephant Man performs the hype man on the official remix of “Pon De Replay.”
Greater than a reggae document
Amid the heavy Caribbean influences, Music Of The Solar is far more than a reggae document. As Def Jam’s hottest signee, and Jay-Z’s protégé, it’s solely pure that Rihanna’s debut album included parts of hip-hop and R&B.
“If It’s Lovin’ That You Need” interpolates the “di di-di, dida di-day” vocal motif from Boogie Down Productions’ historic 1987 diss music “The Bridge Is Over,” whereas “Prepared To Wait” thematically takes its cue from Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile,” as Rihanna sings “Child decelerate” over a pattern of “Free” by Deniece Williams. In the direction of the tip of Music Of The Solar, she slows down the tempo much more with the soulful ballad “Now I Know.”
Outdoors of the singles, Music Of The Solar additionally options two deep cuts that embrace a 90s hip-hop soul sound. On “That La, La, La,” she confronts one other lady’s flirtatious habits in direction of her man. Produced by Full Pressure (the trio answerable for Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam’s 1985 smash “Can You Really feel The Beat”) “That La, La, La” provides a dub reggae taste to an in any other case cranked-out cheerleader chant.
In the meantime, “There’s A Thug In My Life” hints on the potential unhealthy boys Rihanna would sing of in later songs. After going in opposition to her mom’s needs (and her personal instinct, understanding that “It’s gonna trigger loopy bother”), the singer abandons the philosophy she specified by “Prepared To Wait,” over the heavily-sampled ‘A Dream’ by DeBarge.
Rihanna turned the worldwide icon she is at present, partially due to her means to implement musical kinds from throughout the globe. Although reggae and R&B are the spine of Music Of The Solar, there are moments the place she borrows parts from different regional kinds. On the seductive “Let Me,” she blends her native upbeat soca with hypnotic Center Japanese-inspired flutes, whereas “The Final Time” has parts of a Latin-pop ballad, as Rihanna croons over classical guitar strains.
On the coronary heart of the album is its title monitor, which makes use of one other DeBarge staple, “Rhythm Of The Evening,” and was co-written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren. Over a reggae melody, Rihanna suggestions her hat to the West Indian tradition that’s formed her, suggesting we will all “dance to the music of the solar.”
Upon its launch, Music Of The Solar reached No.10 on the Billboard 200 and shortly went gold, whereas her runway single, “Pon De Replay,” appeared incapable of stopping. For the Caribbean queen within the making, nevertheless, this was just the start.
Listen to Music Of The Sun now.
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