If hip-hop is the new pop culture, then the shiny plasticity of manufactured pop stars is no longer relevant. In this paradigm shift, the phrase ‘real recognise real’ is an important one. Even if you aren’t writing your own lyrics and cooking up your own instrumentals, the product needs to be believable. We’ve witnessed the rebirth of Justin Bieber last year, and One Direction’s Zayn Malik has his sights set on making music that he can actually listen to without cringing.
While Rihanna’s music already has an edge and credibility over the formerly mentioned pop princes, it doesn’t seem like an effortlessly cool 27-year-old who – at least on Instagram – appears to spend the majority of her life smoking weed in tropical locations, really puts ‘SOS’, ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ or ‘Only Girl In The World’ at the top of her playlist. In an interview with MTV News last year she described an urge to move away from making big songs. “I wanted to focus on things that felt real, that felt soulful, that felt forever,” she said. “I want an album that I could perform in 15 years. I find that when I get on stage now, I don’t want to perform a lot of my songs because they don’t feel like me.”