Every night before we go to bed we pray to the gods for a new Rihanna album. Every night they ignore us. We keep praying anyway because we hate ourselves.
But last night something changed. We didn't get the new Rihanna record but we did get the official album name: ANTI.
PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE HAS GIVETH!
At an art gallery in LA, Rihanna also the presented the album artwork, which you can see below:
Included in the artwork are poems written in braille by artist Chloe Mitchell, who has previously worked with Kanye West. Rihanna said the poems were the result of Mitchell and RiRi's conversations about the ANTI project.
Given the poems are obviously supposed to reflect Rihanna's perspective about her life and career at this stage, we decided we should take a closer look with our critical eye to figure out what the eff the poem could mean. But first, let's take a look at the poem as a whole.
"If They Let Us"
"I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood.
It is simply because what I want to say,
what I need to say, won’t be heard.
Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve.
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.
I will comfortably breath in it, until I find the moment to be silent.
I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day.
The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom
That thumps and bumps against the walls of my cranium.
I live it and love it and despise it and I am entrapped in it.
So being misunderstood, I am not offended by the gesture, but honored.
If they let us…"
Jesus. Okay, let's break this down.
"What I want to say, what I need to say, won't be heard. Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve"
This is a note on the frustration Rihanna must feel about her very public platform. On the one hand, she is given an opportunity to speak her mind, and for her voice to be heard by more people than any of us can ever dream of. The problem is that she feels like she is being wilfully misinterpreted. For example, Rihanna might say, "I don't think I should perform with Taylor Swift", but others will interpret this as, "Taylor Swift is a skanky hoe and her boyfriend looks like he's made of plastic. Burn them." As you can imagine, sh*t hitting the fan like that ain't gonna be fun.
"What I choose to say is of so much substance, that people just won’t understand the depth of my message
Rihanna is D.E.E.P, ya'll. And, unfortunately, you're a bit too dumb to understand her. You've probably never experience pain, loss, fear, love, happiness, joy, shame, regret or all those other things that only celebrities experience. The problem, for RiRi, is that the world is just too basic. It's a shame. Truly a shame.
"So my voice is not my weakness, It is the opposite of what others are afraid of"
What are others afraid of? RIHANNA REAL TALK, THAT'S WHAT. What this deeply confusing and illogical line might be saying is the truth - Rihanna's truth - will make you question everything you hold dear. What Rihanna might not have anticipated is how little people couldn't care about "the truth" even when they are presented with it. They're like "Gimme the bangers or go home, RiRi".
Personally speaking, as possibly the only person on the planet who loves "American Oxygen", I would like to say this to Rihanna: I am not afraid of an American Oxygen remix album should you wish it upon us. Slay me, RiRi, slay me.
"I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day. The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom"
Babes has a lot going on in her head. The outside world can't even get in. The use of the word "boom" is interesting. This could be referring to a general sense of disorientation. Alternatively, it could be a reference to something more specific. Could it be this long forgotten collaboration with Jamaican rapper Baby Cham called "Boom"? The song is outrageously bad and would be best forgotten. Perhaps this song has scarred RiRi for life? She just can't get the boom out of her head. How dreadful.
"If they let us"
'WILL YOU JUST LIVE ME THE F ALONE YOU MONSTERS CAN'T A GIRL JUST GET SOME ROOM TO BREATH WHY YOU ALWAYS ON MY ASS LIKE THAT IF YOU DO NOT LEAVE ME ALONE I WILL NEVER RELEASE A HIT SINGLE EVER AGAIN...' Or something like that.
Well I think we dealt with that quite nicely. Needless to say, there will be much more analysis to come in the following days/weeks/months until ANTI finally drops. We're nearly there, just hold on a little longer!