Rihanna announced a brand-new music release following the announcement of her big NFL Super Bowl halftime show headline performance in February, and alongside her work on brands Savage X Fenty and Fenty Beauty, Rihanna released a new song Lift Me Up last week. For the first time in nearly seven years.
“Lift me up/Hold me down/Keep me close/Safe and sound”RIHANNA SINGS IN THE CHORUS.
The song is featured on the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, and serves as a tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman. The Black Panther star died of colon cancer in August 2020 at age 43.
“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. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them,” Tems, who co-wrote the track with Rihanna, Ludwig Göransson and director Ryan Coogler, said in a press release. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”
She and boyfriend A$AP Rocky stepped out days before the song’s release for date night at the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere in Los Angeles. It was the first red carpet appearance for the couple since they welcomed their first child together, a son, in May.
“I’m looking at my next project completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before. I think this way suits me better, a lot better,” she said. “It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.”
SZA has also released her long-teased track “Shirt.” The new song arrives with a music video directed by Dave Meyers and co-starring Lakeith Stanfield (who previously featured in SZA’s “I Hate U” visual). SZA and Stanfield go Bonnie and Clyde in the new Quentin Tarantino-esque visual, which features a room full of pregnant women dressed as nuns, a dead clown, and more. Watch it below.
“Shirt” first surfaced in 2020 and grew popular on TikTok, where it soundtracked a popular dance challenge and took on the name “Shirt.” “I heard y’all named the TikTok song ‘Shirt’ lol,” SZA once wrote. “I’m fine w that.” She then said back in January 2021 that she was “finalizing” the song.
In a recent interview with Complex, SZA revealed that she worked on “Shirt” with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. “That was always my dream to work with him based on his work with Brandy and Amerie,” she said. “We did like seven records in one day.”
“Her pen game is arguably one of the best pen games in the game right now. It’s almost like she’s a rapper tied up in a vocalist,” Jerkins remarked of SZA. “There’s no fear in her writing. She’s gonna say whatever she wants to say, and that’s what it is. And to me, that’s the X factor.”