Rihanna‘s ninth studio album has been one of the most hotly anticipated LPs of the last few years. Over a period of more than a year, rumors have surfaced that the Roc Nation heavyweight has sourced as many as 500 records from the day’s top producers, in search of soca, dancehall, and reggae rhythms that pay homage to the singer’s Caribbean roots. Reports suggest that Skrillex, Alesso, Calvin Harris, and yes…even Diplo, whose music Rih once famously referred to as “reggae songs at an airport,” could be involved in the new album’s compilation.
Now, in a new interview with the New York Times’ style outlet T Magazine, Rihanna has confirmed the upcoming LP, which is expected sometime this year, is in fact a reggae project, lending credence to the notion that Major Lazer‘s frontman and the hitmaker behind soca-inspired crossover smash “Sorry” may have production credits on the forthcoming record. As for the porject’s name, Rihanna hasn’t given it much thought, though her fanbase, dubbed The Navy, may have already named the album for her. “So far it’s just been R9, thanks to the Navy. I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this ‘R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?’ How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull,” asks the Barbadian pop deity.
R9 is officially underway, and it looks like reggae-pop is primed to have a big moment in the near future.