For a while now, we’ve been casually referring to Rihanna’s forthcoming eighth album as R8 (due to Rihanna mysteriously using R8 in promo). Now there’s a real title and artwork, as revealed by Rih on Wednesday at the MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles.
The album is titled ANTI. Because Rihanna is a rebel and the antithesis of all that’s expected. Pop artists have succumb to the pressures of doing The Most with their album packagings/roll-outs and Rihanna is not immune.
Thus, Rih revealed her album title in a somewhat Yeezian way, at an art exhibition, and posted this on Instagram:
As for the artwork, Rihanna commissioned seven oil paintings. Artist Roy Nachum painted the main front cover, which features an image of future queen Rihanna with a crown over her eyes holding a balloon in front of a popping blood red background.
This more abstract art, which I’m not mad at, is a departure from her other albums, which all show her face and/or body. The Braille in the back is all poems by Chloe Mitchell. One of them, “If They Let Us,” includes these lines: “What I choose to say is of so much substance/ That people just won’t understand the depth of my message/ So my voice is not my weakness/ It is the opposite of what others are afraid of/ My voice is my suit and armor/ My shield, and all that I am.”
So if you’re following, the Braille art from Rihanna’s previous singles, “FourFiveSeconds” and “Bitch Better Have My Money,” turned out to be her overall artistic theme, as well as one threading Nachum’s entire body of work. Rihanna said during the unveiling, “This is my favorite album cover I’ve ever done.” And, regarding the concept, “Sometimes the ones who have sight are the blindest.”
Rihanna’s rep noted in a press release that, “This is the first time an album has ever incorporated physical Braille. The Braille inscription will also allow people who are blind to experience an entire album by touch.”
Sorry if you want a real-life release date for ANTI. It’s “coming soon.”
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Images via Getty, Instagram