When Rihanna‘s Kanye West and Paul McCartney team-up “FourFiveSeconds” dropped in January, fans and industry insiders presumed a new Rihanna album was coming soon. After all, her last LP was in 2012 — even 10 months ago, it had already been the longest gap between Rihanna albums ever.
Now, we may have reason to believe Rihanna’s eighth album is around the corner. On Wednesday night (Oct. 7) at Los Angeles’ Mama Gallery, Roy Nachum — an Israeli artist living in New York — debuted artwork he’s designed for Rihanna’s eighth studio album at a private viewing. And that wasn’t all Rihanna had planned.
Sauntering into the gallery mobbed by fans and press alike, Rihanna said a few words and announced that the project officially has a title: Anti. “This is my favorite album cover I’ve ever done,” she said to screaming fans before a black sheet covering her album art was taken down (not by her, of course: “I’m not going to climb up that ladder in these heels”).
The cover features an image of a young Rihanna holding a black balloon, with a gold crown covering her eyes. Over the red-and-white canvas cover, a poem written by Chloe Mitchell is written in Braille. The Braille and sight-obscuring crown follows the theme of all the album art so far, which Nachum is making as a statement on vision and vision impairment. As Rihanna said after its unveiling, “Sometimes the ones who have sight are the blindest.”
Anyone expecting to hear new music from Anti left disappointed, with the only Rihanna song of the night being “Bitch Better Have My Money.” We also left without a release date.
Thus far, three singles expected to be on Rihanna’s new album have been released. “FourFiveSeconds” peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100, “Bitch Better Have My Money” hit No. 15 and recent single “American Oxygen” stalled at 78. Rihanna has topped the survey 13 times, tying Michael Jackson for third-most Hot 100 No. 1s ever.
–Additional reporting by Joe Lynch