In the six interminable years since the singer’s last album, fans have been not-so-patiently waiting for new music, while, of course, she’s given them a revolutionizing beauty brand, lingerie, luxury fashion line and perfume instead.
But now that she has music on the brain again as the official headliner of the upcoming Super Bowl, she’s covering her bases by joining forces with another pop culture behemoth: Marvel’s hotly anticipated sequel “Wakanda Forever.”
Rihanna will make her official return to music with the lead single “Lift Me Up” from the soundtrack, which will be released on Friday.
The song was “written as a tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman,” who played the title role in the first film and died of cancer in 2020 at the age of 43.
“After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life,” said Tems, who wrote the song with Ludwig Göransson, director Ryan Coogler and the music superstar. “I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
“Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor,” she added.
After a week of rumors, the studio teased the collaboration with a post on social media Tuesday night alongside the eyes emoji.
In the clip, a single R from the movie’s title takes center stage alongside the date Oct. 28, 2022.
Rihanna then responded to the Instagram post with some cryptic emojis of her own, commenting simply: “🙅🏾♀️ ❤️.”
“Lift Me Up” will be Rihanna’s first solo effort in over six years following the release of her critically acclaimed eighth studio album “Anti” and the first full track since her feature on PartyNextDoor’s song “Believe It” back in 2020.
Buzz surrounding her return to music has been building ever since, but reached a fever pitch earlier this month when New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan teased that the Grammy winner was possibly recording the end-credits song for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Marvel appears intent on recreating the magic from the first film’s soundtrack, which was overseen and curated by Kendrick Lamar, who contributed original songs alongside SZA, Travis Scott, Jorja Smith and more.
“All the Stars,” the soundtrack’s chart-topping lead single from Lamar and SZA, went on to garner multiple accolades, including Grammy and Academy Award nominations.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” returns to the fictional African kingdom as its citizens grapple with the loss of its king, T’Challa (the late Chadwick Boseman), while facing a new threat from below the surface. Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright, who many assume will take up the Black Panther mantle, are all reprising their roles in the film.
Ryan Coogler returns to direct the sequel, which is set to hit theaters Nov. 11.