Rihanna is back. The music icon and mogul has returned with “Lift Me Up,” her first proper song release in six years. It’s the lead single from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack.
The emotional ballad was written to honor the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman, who originally played T’Challa/Black Panther before passing away in 2020.
“Lift me up / Hold me down / Keep me close / Safe and sound,” Rihanna sings in the heart-tugging chorus.
It was co-written by Tems, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. Göransson also produced the track.
“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,” says Tems. “I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
She adds, “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters Nov. 11. According to Kyle Buchanan of The New York Times, “Lift Me Up” plays in the end credits. It’s not the only Rihanna song, either. Another ballad titled “Born Again,” produced by The-Dream, reportedly plays after “Lift Me Up.”
There are 2 Rihanna songs in the end credits of WAKANDA FOREVER… the already announced “Lift Me Up,” which plays first, then “Born Again,” which was produced by The-Dream. Both ballads. But the rumors are true, you’re about to get double Rihanna after the drought
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) October 27, 2022
The soundtrack, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From and Inspired By, is set to release Nov. 4 via Roc Nation Records/Def Jam Recordings/Hollywood Records.
As noted above, “Lift Me Up” is Rihanna’s first taste of new music since her 2016 album, Anti. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has remained on the chart since its release.
Rihanna’s involvement in the Black Panther soundtrack seems like a strategic way to ease back into the musical landscape while cutting away some of the pressure built up from the anticipation of her next album.
It’s similar to her approach in 2015, where she contributed to three songs on the Home (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), ahead of releasing Anti.
“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,” Rihanna told Vogue in her May 2022 cover story. “It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.”
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On Feb. 12, 2023, Rihanna will headline the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show at Super Bowl LVII. She will be the first artist to headline the halftime show under Apple Music’s recently-announced partnership with the NFL and Roc Nation.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” said JAY-Z, founder of Roc Nation. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”
NFL Head of Music Seth Dudowsky, added, “We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage. Rihanna is a once in a generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career. We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another historic Halftime Show performance.”
Listen to Rihanna’s new song “Lift Me Up” below.