- Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Bob Marley, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Destiny's Child, Aaliyah, Fefe Dobson, Grace Jones, Lil' Kim, Brandy
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella."
Discovered by record producer Evan Rogers, and later Jay-Z, she gained her first recognition in the music industry via her first single, "Pon de Replay". She signed with Def Jam in 2005 and gained further fame through her first two albums, solidifying her status with the breakout success of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad. Containing smash hit singles such as "Shut Up and Drive", "Don't Stop the Music", and "Umbrella" (done in collaboration with Jay-Z), the lattermost topping the charts and winning her her first Grammy Award, the album catapulted Rihanna to mainstream fame.
While Rihanna's earlier music exhibited her Caribbean roots, incorporating dancehall and reggae music, her later work would take influence from a wider range of genres including pop, dance, R&B, hip-hop and EDM. Among the variety of motives for her shifts in sound, one direct instance occurred following a dark chapter in her life, when she was physically assaulted by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, in February 2009. The assault directly inspired her next album, Rated R, and motivated its darker tone in comparison to her once upbeat and pop-laden image.
Rihanna has sold over 250 million records worldwide, making her one of the highest-selling female artists in history. She also released an astounding seven albums in twelve years, leaving her in the public eye at all times in some form thanks to annual releases from 2005 to 2012.
In the 2010s, Rihanna branched out into business endeavors under the brand Fenty. These include a cosmetics line (Fenty Beauty), an underwear line (Savage x Fenty), and a fashion line (Fenty).
In May 2022, she gave birth to her first child, a boy, with her partner, rapper A$AP Rocky. She confirmed her second pregnancy in February 2023 while performing at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show, and gave birth to a second boy later that August.
- Music of the Sun (2005)
- A Girl Like Me (2006)
- Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)
- Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded (2008)
- Rated R (2009)
- Loud (2010)
- Talk That Talk (2011)
- Unapologetic (2012)
- Home (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2015) note
- ANTI (2016)
- Bring It On: All Or Nothing (2006) as herself
- Battleship (2012) as Petty Officer (GM2) Cora Raikes
- This Is the End (2013) as herself
- Annie (2014) as Moon Goddess in Moonquake Lake
- Home (2015) as Gratuity "Tip" Tucci (voice)
- Bates Motel (2017) as Marion Crane
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) as Bubble
- Ocean's 8 (2018) as Nine Ball
- "We Found Love" (2011)
"Good Tropes Gone Bad":
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Throughout her tune "Umbrella," Rihanna puts the accent on the third syllable ("um-brell-LA").
- Actor-Shared Background: Tip from Home (2015) is an immigrant and is half Barbadian, just like Rihanna (half Afro-Guyanese, half Barbadian).
- Album Intro Track: Rated R starts with "Mad House", which incorporates a Vincent Price-like speech "warning" uneasy listeners and inviting those "who can take it".
- Alliterative Title: Talk That Talk and Rated R.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: A variation in "Rude Boy," where she challenges the "bad boy" to put his money where his mouth is.
- Alternate Music Video: The video for "Work" featuring Drake was released on Youtube as a double feature. The first version directed by Director X shows both Rihanna and Drake singing, dancing, and partying at a raucous Jamaican bar. The second directed by Tim Eren shows the two in a neon pink, blue, and white colored room alone, singing and dancing for each other.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: On her episode of the Fuse TV series Loaded, the host is talking about the different personae she portrayed in her videos, including a soldiernote , a rock starnote , a murderernote "and a car mechanic, just to name a few."note Justified, since it was setting up the video for "Stay," where she is herself.
- Author Appeal: Starting from "Disturbia", she seems to have a thing for BDSM and being dominating and it became part of her image. She's actually either a switch or a sub.
- Auto-Tune: Uses this in a few songs, notably "Disturbia" and her T.I. collaboration "Live Your Life". Justified in these two; in "Disturbia" it is used to create distortion to aid the dark atmosphere and vibe of the song, and in "Live Your Life" it's used only on the chorus, and there's a slight surprise when it's not used on her verse.
- Bathtub Scene: The music video for "Stay" has Rihanna lounging in a bathtub for the entire song. It's supposed to be a bath of angst, but the Male Gaze camera shots make it clear it's also for Fanservice, although she's only ever seen from the shoulders up, with Toplessness from the Back or with her curled legs providing Scenery Censor.
- Belly Dancer: Rihanna incorporates a few belly-dancing moves, as well as her backup dancers, in a beach at night in the video for If It's Lovin' That You Want.
- Better Partner Assertion: "Sex with Me" has her bragging she's better at sex than the girlfriend of the person she's singing at.Sex with me is amazing, with her, it'll feel alright
The sex doesn't get any better, make it long, let it be all night
- Billing Displacement:
- The 2008 song "Live Your Life" was overwhelmingly seen as a Rihanna song in the eyes of most listeners, despite the fact that T.I. reached #1 with parent album Paper Trail and was coming off the success of "Whatever You Like."
- "Take Care" is the title track to Drake's second studio album and its biggest hit. It's better recognized as a Rihanna song.
- In "Unfaithful", the line "I might as well take a gun and put it to his head, get it over with" has the word gun bleeped out.
- Amazon.com's downloadable version of Good Girl Gone Bad censors the word "ass" in "Breakin' Dishes."
- Break-Up Bonfire: "Breakin' Dishes" has her singing about burning the clothes of her cheating lover.I'm roasting marshmallows on the fire
And what I'm burning is your attire
- Broken Bird: Rated R and Talk That Talk show hidden issues and some of her workaholic choices show some kind of brokenness in her.
- Broken Record:
- "Numb", in terms of brokenness: "'Cause I'm going numb / I'm going numb / I'm going numb / I'm going numb..."
- "We found love in a hopeless place / We found love in a hopeless place / We found love in a hopeless place…"
- "This is What You Came For" also qualifies: "But she's looking at / You-ooh-ooh / You-ooh-ooh / You-ooh-ooh / You-ooh-ooh..."
- "You can stand under my umbrella-ella-ella / eh, eh, eh / under my umbrella-ella-ella / eh, eh, eh / under my umbrella-ella-ella / eh, eh, eh / under my umbrella-ella-ella / eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh..."
- Car Song: Ignoring all the implications in the lyrics, "Shut up and Drive" is this on the surface. It was even used during a driving scene in Wreck-It Ralph.
- Censor Box: The pages for "Hard" in the CD booklet for Rated R include a color picture of her nude and holding a big "CENSORED" sign in front of her.
- Censored Title: As a pathetic attempt at them trying to Think of the Children!, "S&M" was retitled "Come On" by BBC Radio, in response to their ruling that the song could not be played on the air before 7 PM. The same edit of the song removed instances of the words "sex", "chains", and "whips", each with a Sound-Effect Bleep in the form of a vinyl scratch. As well, the eponymous "S S S & M M M" hook was removed altogether.
- Dark Action Girl: In "Bitch Better Have My Money". At one point she even throws her cellphone out the window and shoots it perfectly.
- Darker and Edgier:
- Her entire career after Chris Brown assaulted her, starting with Rated R. "Russian Roulette" is especially worth noting, as it is possibly her darkest song to date.
- Rated R and Talk That Talk are much darker then the albums which came before them. Good Girl Gone Bad is very dark compared to the albums before it.
- "Bitch Better Have My Money" is her darkest music video yet, with kidnapping a man's wife and humiliating her, torturing and murdering him, and Rihanna herself covered in blood. The video opens with a warning for language, nudity, and violence.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "You da One", for the most part. Parts of "Diamonds" also.
- Destructive Romance: Her hit with Eminem "Love the Way You Lie". The relationship is "mutually destructive".Just gonna stand there and watch me burn?
Well, that's alright, because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry?
Well, that's alright, because I love the way you lie
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the "Bitch Better Have My Money" video, her credit was ruined by a Jerkass accountant and when he won't fix it, she kidnaps and humiliates his wife and when that tactic didn't work, she tortures and murders him Dexter-style.
- Dragon Lady: In the video for "Princess of China", Rihanna plays the eponymous princess of China, and she both dresses up and acts like the stereotype of a sexual and domineering powerful Asian woman, even spending most of the song as a Reclining Reigner on throne room.
- Dye Hard: Rihanna is naturally brown-haired, yet several of her videos and performances feature her with dyed hair, most often black or red.
- Emasculated Cuckold: "Unfaithful" is written from the perspective of a woman that's cheating, and feels guilty about it. She specifically sings about how the affair is hurting him because he knows she's happy with her lover.
- Exhort the Disc Jockey Song: "Pon de Replay," features one of the politest versions of the trope with the line, "Hey Mr. DJ, won't you turn the music up?"
- Fake Orgasm: In "Rude Boy", she pointedly tells her lover she's not going to fake an orgasm to stroke his ego if he can't satisfy herBabe if I don't feel it I ain't faking no-no
- Fan Disservice: The "Bitch Better Have My Money" video gets a warning for, among other things, nudity. Said nudity takes place during and after Cold-Blooded Torture.
- The Fashionista: She's become very well known in fashion circles for her cutting-edge sense of style and appreciation for couture. She has her own fashion and jewelry lines with Puma and Chopard and was once crowned "Fashion Icon of the Year" by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
- Feet-First Introduction: In the music video "Shut Up and Drive", the first thing see Rihanna's character is her heeled feet as she steps out of her car.
- Flipping the Table About 2:25 into the music video for "Hard", Rihanna flips the table during a card game.
- Friendship Song "Umbrella" is about being there for your friends.When the sun shines, we'll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be your friend
Took an oath, I'ma stick it out to the end
- Funny Background Event: Put her in the audience at a music function and watch her expressions.
- During the 2013 VMAs, each time the camera cut to her in the audience, she just stared off into space with an unimpressed look on her face, despite all the excitement around her.
- At the 2017 Grammys, she spent the show taking swigs out of a sparkly flask and making faces. During A Tribe Called Quest's performance, one of the camera feeds caught her gleefully pulling out her phone and FaceTiming one of her friends with the phone aimed at the stage.
- Genre Roulette: She is supposedly a R&B singer but has done everything from electronic (including techno, house, EDM, trap, and dubstep), reggae, folk, dance-pop, new wave, hip-hop, synthpop, latin music...
- Good Bad Girl: Part of her image, to the point she has an album called Good Girl Gone Bad. The Title Track describes a woman who tries to be a good and loyal girlfriend to her partner, but eventually gets sick of it after he cheats on her one time too many (in addition to being emotionally neglectful and controlling), giving him a taste of his own medicine. See also her song "S&M": "I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it!"
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Talk That Talk and Rated R's artwork theme. "S&M" discusses it. It has generally been played with since 2007.
- Hotter and Sexier:
Suck my cockiness
- Starting with Good Girl Gone Bad and, apparently, especially the case for Talk That Talk, which VH1 called "the dirtiest pop record since Madonna's Erotica.
- Cockiness (Love It) definitely proves this:
Lick my persuasion
Eat my words and then
Swallow your pride down, down
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: "Shut Up And Drive" is basically a massive amalgam of sexual innuendos spun into the language of cars and driving.
- Incompatible Orientation: Her song "Te Amo" tells the story of a straight girl being romantically pursued by a lesbian, who in love with her but the straight girl doesn't return her affection and tries to let her down gently.
- The Illuminati: Much like Lady Gaga, she now uses a lot of Masonic and Illuminati symbolism in her videos.
- Intercourse with You: Many songs from Good Girl Gone Bad and beyond. Special mentions go to "Rude Boy", "Only Girl (In The World)", "Skin", "S&M", "Birthday Cake", and "Cockiness".
- The Lad-ette: "G4L" (which stands for Gangsta For Life) shows off her gangsta side.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: "Shut Up And Drive" acknowledges some of it's Double Entendre.Got you where you wanna go, if you know what I mean
Got a ride that's smoother than a limousine
- Last Note Nightmare: A gunshot is heard at the end of "Russian Roulette".
- Lighter and Softer: Loud has more upbeat songs than Rated R and her role in Home (2015), an energetic, brightly-coloured children's movie
- Lipstick Lesbian: Both Rihanna and collaborater Shakira's characters are this, both being very feminine lovers in "Can't Remember To Forget You".
- Love Makes You Crazy: A theme in Good Girl Gone Bad, Rated R, and Talk That Talk, but especially on "Fire Bomb", "Rehab", "There's A Thug In My Life", "Stupid In Love", and "Good Girl Gone Bad."
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Where Have You Been" is rather dark musically for a song about finding someone extremely special out of nowhere.
- Lyrical Shoehorn:
- In "Umbrella" there's a lyric that goes "When the war has took its part..." Irritating, but "taken its part" wouldn't scan.
- In the chorus of "Disturbia," she informs us that the titular state of mind "ain't used to what you like." That should probably be the other way around, in order to make any sense at all.
- Making a Splash: In her music video for "Umbrella", she's shown manipulating water thrown her way.
- Marionette Motion: The "Disturbia" music video has Rihanna and the background character move in a creepy puppet-like manner, to add to the creepiness and surreal factor of the video.
- Meaningful Name: "Unapologetic", in light of the backlash of her personal life, namely her reconciliation with Chris Brown.
- Mood Whiplash: On the album Loud, the tracklisting seems to be randomized. Point being that the slow, sad "Fading" is inbetween the upbeat "Cheers (Drink to That)" and "Only Girl (In the World)".
- In "Unapologetic", the sharp contrast between "Right Now" and "What Now", despite having similar titles.
- Ms. Fanservice: Rihanna is an attractive woman who is famous for her sexy and fashionable clothing (once she was crowned the "Fashion Icon of the Year"). Starting from "Disturbia", many of her songs tend to portray her as a Dominatrix and she tends to wear revealing or fetishistic outfits in her videos and performances, with many of her songs featuring Male Gaze shots and Three Minutes of Writhing.
- The Muse: Is one to Drake, who wrote several songs ("Firework", "Take Care" and possibly "Made Man") based on their relationship and frequently collaborate with her.
- My God, What Have I Done?: "Man Down" is about shooting someone to death in the heat of the moment and being horrified afterwards.
- Non-Appearing Title: G4L. However, the phrase 'Gangsta For Life' does appear.
- Obligatory Bondage Song:
- "S&M" and its remix featuring Britney Spears.
- In "Cockiness (Love It)", she calls herself a "dominatrix".
- Obsession Song: "Rehab", "Roc Me Out", "Fire Bomb", and "Drunk On Love".
- Once per Episode: Even when she moved on from reggae pop, Rihanna's album had at least one song in the same vein. "Man Down", "You da One", and "No Love Allowed".
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Suffers from this a bit as Raikes Battleship. It's odd, as there's no particular reason for her character to need a standard American accent in the first place.
- Pimped-Out Dress: The 2015 Met Ball gown◊. The designer's previous big commission? The motherfucking Olympics.
- Power Trio: In "Run This Town" she is The Spock to Jay-Z's Kirk and Kanye West's McCoy.
- Rearrange the Song: As mentioned above, the interlude version of "Birthday Cake" is about female sexual empowerment and wanting to be pleased. The version with Chris Brown on it is about rough aggressive thankless make up sex after apparently a long time not being together.
- Revenge by Proxy: The video for "Bitch Better Have My Money" has Rihanna's character kidnapping and torturing the Socialite wife of the accountant who left her bankrupt.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The whole idea behind "Bitch Better Have My Money"'s music video is Rihanna getting revenge on an accountant who left her bankrupt. So she enlists two minions to kidnap his wife and torments her until he pays up. When that failed, she tortures him Dexter-style. The video ends with Rihanna naked on a chest of money... and covered in blood.
- Sanity Slippage Song:
No more gas in the rig
- The lyrics to "Disturbia" are about how she's slowly losing her mind
Can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said
Can't even speak about it
Out my life, out my head
Don't want to think about it
Feels like I'm going insane, yeah
- "Question Existing", "Roc Me Out", "Drunk On Love", "Man Down", and "Where Have You Been".
- Sarcasm Mode: Her chorus in Eminem's "Love The Way Lie"; in the music video, it's very clear that it is very sarcastic.
- Sequel Song: "Love the Way You Lie Pt. Two" to the original Eminem track. "Numb" also alludes to the previous themes in Rihanna and Eminem's collaborations.
- Sex Goddess: Several of her songs feature her boasting about her sexual prowess, such as "S&M" ('Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it), "Rude Boy" (Buckle up, I'ma give it to you stronger, hands up, we can go a little longer) or "Sex with Me" (Sex with me, so amazing).
- Sexy Surfacing Shot: The "Where Have You Been?" music video has her emerging from a lake in a barely-there scale bikini.
- Shopping Cart Antics: The music video for "We Found Love" features Rihanna being pushed around in a shopping cart by her lover.
- Singer Namedrop: "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z:Jay, Rain Man is back with little Ms. Sunshine.
Rihanna where you at?
- Snakes Are Sexy: She did a Medusa-themed photoshoot for the December 2013 British GQ in which she was nude and dressed only in snakes.
- Stepford Smiler: The man described in "Unfaithful". Poor guy.
- The Stoner: She's very open about her marijuana habit, even seen lighting up joints in "Bitch Better Have My Money".
- Stripperific: Frequently dressed like this, specially in album\single art. Hell, she even plays an alien stripper in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
- The video for "Pour It Up" is set in a strip club.
- Supermodel Strut: She often confidently struts like a supermodel during her shows and presentations, and a few of her music videos, such as the beginning of "Shut Up and Drive" where she does a hip-swaying strut down the garage or in "Only If For a Night" which has her doing an exaggerated, purposeful strut in several fancy outfits for most of the video, at one point even doing it with a Classy Cane.
- Surreal Music Video: "Diamonds", which is has plenty of unexplained imagery and symbolism throughout.
- Take That!: Several ones to Chris Brown during "Man Down" (from Loud) and the music video for "We Found Love" (from Talk That Talk), which were released after the infamous domestic violence case he committed against her.
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Rihanna presents a much more hopeful version with the first line of her chorus in 'The Monster'. But the second line may imply that she is crazy and simply imagining stuff.I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed.
Get along with the voices inside of my head.
- Three Minutes of Writhing: Most of her music videos are of her pretending to walk the catwalk in barely-there outfits.
- Umbrella of Togetherness: "Umbrella" uses this as a metaphor, with her reassuring her friend that she has their back by claiming they can stand "under her umbrella".Now that it's raining more than ever,
Know that we'll still have each other.
You can stand under my umbrella.
You can stand under my umbrella.
- The Unintelligible: Subverted in "Work". Upon first listening, she appears to be slurring the lyrics, but upon closer inspection, she's actually singing in her home dialect of Bajan Creole.
- Viewer Pronunciation Confusion: Contrary to popular belief, Rihanna pronounces her name as "Ree-AN-na" not "Ree-AH-na".
- Whip of Dominance: "S&M", being an Obligatory Bondage Song, naturally has her singing about whips, singing about how they "excite her". The music video also has Rihanna wielding riding crops while acting domineering.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Drake shows up suddenly in both "What's My Name?" and "Work".
- Wrench Wench: The first part of the music video for "Shut Up and Drive" is basically girls walking around in skimpy clothes or red jumpsuits fixing cars.