Rihanna releasing new song for ‘Black Panther’ sequel

The drought is nearly over.

At midnight, Rihanna will release her first song as a lead artist in over six years. Titled “Lift Me Up,” the song is the lead single (and the first of two Rihanna tracks) from the upcoming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” original soundtrack.

According to a press statement, “Lift Me Up” is a tribute to the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the original “Black Panther” film. Apparently recorded in five different countries, the track was co-written by Rihanna, Nigerian singer Tems — best known for her stunning feature on the international WizKid hit “Essence” — Oscar-winning producer Ludwig Göransson and “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler.

“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,” Tems said in a statement. “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 honour.”

“Wakanda Forever,” the highly-anticipated sequel to the immensely popular 2018 Marvel movie “Black Panther,” hits theatres on Nov. 11. On Wednesday, Rihanna and rapper A$AP Rocky made their first red carpet appearance since the birth of their child when they attended the film’s premier in Los Angeles.

A few fans at the premier offered some early feedback on the Rihanna track.

Rihanna’s last album was 2016’s “Anti,” an eclectic left-turn for the pop sensation, which dabbled in hip hop, psychedelic, doo-wop, country and even included a Tame Impala cover. Since then, she’s made various appearances as a feature artist and appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 album “DAMN.”

She also appeared on an exceedingly mediocre track on the Toronto singer PartyNextDoor’s 2020 album, but we don’t have to talk about that. (PND gave Rihanna “Work,” and this is what he gets in return?)

That’s not to say that the 34-year-old Barbadian hasn’t been busy. Over the past few years, she’s turned her Fenty Beauty cosmetic brand into a global brand and business juggernaut, and became one of the few likable billionaires in the process (she’s currently worth an estimated $1.4 billion USD.)

Last year, Rihanna managed to become even more of a titan when she was declared a national hero by the Barbadian government and bestowed with a title, “the right excellent,” as the island bade farewell to Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and celebrated becoming a republic for the first time in history.

In September, Rihanna confirmed that she will be performing at February’s Super Bowl halftime show in Glendale, Arizona. The show comes three years after the singer declined to perform at the Super Bowl out of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

So yeah, she’s been busy. But that won’t tamper expectations for her appearance on the “Wakanda Forever” soundtrack, which arrives Nov. 4.

The first “Black Panther” soundtrack, which was curated by Kendrick Lamar and featured songs from SZA, Travis Scott, The Weeknd, Future and James Black was highly-acclaimed — a rare feat for a movie soundtrack these days. The album was nominated for eight Grammys, winning two of them.

Here’s a look at what Rihanna’s fan base — known as the Rihanna Navy — is saying ahead of Friday’s release.


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