Rihanna’s 7th studio album is possibly her most balanced effort to date.  Balancing ballads, pop hits, and urban-friendly tracks throughout the LP, which has led to critical and commercial success as this is surprisingly Rih’s first album to reach No. 1.   In a recent interview with Complex, the Bajan artist talks about working with Future, Eminem, and Mike WiLL Made It, and why she chose to work with these hip hop heavy hitters.

Rih Rih usually chooses to work with artists she’s a personal fan of.   In working with Atlanta’s Future, the R&B icon handed the reins over to him in recording the song, and then she dropped her verses.  She also talks about working with Slim Shady, and felt that he could capture the theme she was going for on the track “Numb”.  As a fan of “Bandz”, Rihanna wanted to have her version of a “strip club anthem”, and grabbed the producer of Juicy J’s hit, Mike WiLL to record "Pour It Up."

Check out excerpts from the interview below.


Then there’s the other half, where the writers write the songs and then they send it to you, and we had a couple of those that kind of just blew our minds. Like the record with Future to be specific.
For that one, I just called him and told him, “Just write me a song for you, don’t write me a song for me. Just write a song you would love.” Because I picked up that he had some songwriting skills that could kind of work for a female. A female could also achieve those melodies and it would work. And he sent me that record and the minute I heard it, I was like, “Oh my God. Oh my goodness.” It was really shocking. And sometimes you get ones like that that you have nothing to do with. [Laughs.] It was perfect.

What did you hear from Future that made you want to work with him?
I heard a couple songs on his album that just had some unexpected melodies. I wanted him to just write something that people wouldn’t really expect to come from him. But I didn’t want to say that, because I didn’t want to make him overthink it. I just wanted him to write something that he loves, because he already knew he was writing it for me. It was supposed to be me singing the hook on "Loveeeee Song," but I really loved his tone on it. I said we’re definitely keeping him on it. Because I love his demeanor on the record.

I love it, because I love “Turn on the Lights.” He’s such a sensitive thug.
[Laughs.] Yeah, that one for sure. For sure. The melodies in that? Ugh, sick.

 “Numb” is very different from your previous collaboration with Eminem. How did this one come about?
The moment I worked with him on “Love the Way You Lie,” I wanted to work with him again, and we did “Love the Way You Lie Part 2.” And then I wanted to work with him again. [Laughs.] I just love working with Eminem. He’s just one of my favorite rappers, and his lyrics—he’s a true poet, and I enjoy that about him. For this song, I needed someone with not only his skill, but his personality. And I needed someone who really understands the perspective and the metaphor in the song of going numb and being numb to everything around and to say, “Fuck you.” Eminem is definitely the perfect guy for that.

And what made you pick a Mike WiLL Made It record over something else?
Actually, it picked me. It was one of those where I was sent a track. As a matter of fact, the writers and Mike Will were in the studio and Chris went over there and came back and said, “There’s this crazy song that Mike Will made, you should listen to it.” So I had somebody from the label bring it for me so I could hear it. Argh—like right away I knew like this was going to be my record. Like, I knew they made it for me, but I just hadn’t heard it yet. But when I heard it, I just knew that I was keeping it. It’s one of my favorite ones. Right away I couldn’t stop listening to the demo, over and over.