Rihanna's Debut Album "Music Of The Sun" Turns 18

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via Island Def Jam Group
Once upon a time, folks believed the record-breaking icon would be a one-hit wonder.

Rihanna might not be giving us new music, but her old stuff continues to comfort fans. While it may have been difficult to project how much of a mega star she’d be, there were always strong indications. Rihanna's debut album, Music Of The Sun was a clear sign that a star was in the making. Indeed, the Barbadian came from humble beginnings, but even back then, her talent and allure were undeniable.

In the years since her debut album was released in 2005, Rihanna has risen to superstardom. She has established herself as one of the most iconic artists of all time. Her impact extends beyond music, spanning fashion, beauty, and pop culture.

The Birth Of A Popstar

Music of the Sun, Rihanna’s debut studio album, turns 18 this year. It was released on August 29, 2015, under Def Jam Recordings, and marked Rihanna’s entry into the music scene. After moving to the United States from Barbados at the age of 16, Rihanna auditioned for Jay-Z, the president of Def Jam Recordings at the time, who eventually signed her to the record label.

Music Of The Sun was heavily influenced by Rihanna’s Caribbean background. On the album, Rihanna fused reggae, dancehall, R&B, and pop elements. It is an ambitious album in which she first tried to showcase her versatility, and succeeded considerably. Tracks like “Pon De Replay” and “Here I Go Again” infuse reggae and dancehall rhythms with pop sensibilities. Furthermore, “Let Me” and “Rush” lean towards a more R&B sound. Rihanna’s vocal delivery on her debut album was also youthful and energetic. Though her vocal range and technique were not as developed and refined as they are now, her distinctive voice carried a raw charm and appeal that resonated with listeners.

The album’s lead single “Pon De Replay”, was released in the summer of 2005, three months prior to the album’s release. The dancehall-inspired track received mostly positive reviews. Peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “Pon De Replay” showcased Rihanna’s unique sound and essence. It became a club favorite and was such a big hit that many believed she would be a one-hit-wonder. Obviously, they were very wrong. The second single, “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want,” dropped soon after. It was not as successful as its predecessor, but it was also well enjoyed. It managed to peak at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Commercial Success And Legacy

Music Of The Sun performed moderately well commercially. It debuted and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified gold by the RIAA. It also charted in various international markets. The Caribbean-infused sound of the album also contributed to diversifying the pop music landscape. It helped introduce audiences to a new wave of artists infusing global influences into their work.

Her debut album was not a massive commercial success compared to her later work, nor is it Rihanna’s magnum opus. However, its impact is indisputable, and it set the stage for her subsequent albums. The album’s unique blend of genres, combined with Rihanna’s distinctive voice and charismatic presence hinted at her potential to become a major popstar.

Rihanna’s musical career is characterized by chart-topping hits, multi-platinum albums, and an ever-evolving sound. Even now, seven years after her last album, she still continues to break streaming records. While the masses would love to get a new album from the enigmatic artist, they are clearly still big fans of the older music in her discography. 18 years after her debut, fans are grateful for the album that introduced the world to Rihanna. Music of the Sun will always be the mark of the beginning of Rihanna’s illustrious music career.

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About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.