22-year-old Barbadian wonder Rihanna has one of the most beautiful voices making music today. Her sound is unique, immediately recognizable, and she is a one-woman hit machine. Last year, Jay-Z used her on — “Run This Town” — to break up the monotony of the rap with an interlude that was actually melodic and musical. Rihanna saved that song and gifted Jay-Z a massive hit.
This Summer, Rihanna stars on Emimen’s new album — “Recovery” — as her magical voice makes the hit single “Love the Way You Lie” actually listenable. I wish I could loop her hook and make an entire song with just her singing those few lines.
Rihanna’s singing is sorrowfully joyous as her resignation to her impending death brings out the angel in her voice that cannot ultimately repress the demons in Marshall’s rap.
It’s easy to rave about Rihanna’s voice and talent — but let’s quantify her effect on increased sales for Eminem.
Here’s this week’s Billboard Hot 100. In the first chart position is Katy Perry with her sludgy “California Gurls” — starring Snoop Dogg — which, curiously, is just the opposite musical recipe of Emimen’s hit song. Katy sings. Snoop raps. Marshall raps. Rihanna sings.
In the second chart slot is “Love the Way You Lie” — in its debut week.
Katy Perry’s record was released two months ago. Emimen’s was released 10 days ago. Two months from now, Kathy Perry will be history and Eminem will rule the charts — thanks to the massive hit Rihanna created for him to break into the Hot 100.
Adding even more punch to the evidence of Rihanna’s vocal power can be found on the “Biggest Jump” on the Billboard charts.
“Love the Way You Lie” is already in the top slot in its debut week. Eminem’s entire album is trending upward taking six of the 10 “Biggest Jump” slots this week.
There is no financial doubt that if you are a washed up rapper, Rihanna means new money to you — but the curious thing about her young career is how Jay-Z and Eminem recognize how use her singing better than she does. They let her unadulterated voice shine through. They made her tone an unprocessed and pure presence in the midst of their rapped viciousness.
Rihanna’s work as a solo artist is overproduced and uninspiring. Her biggest gift — that clear, ringing, inspiring voice — is lost in all the hammering beats and processed brackwash.
I’d love to see Rihanna mean money for Rihanna — and I want to hear her sing an a cappella Blues album. Sing the the old songs. No modern updating. Her voice — in situ — is stunningly modern enough. Apply her magical voice to the historic standards and she’ll shine from the depths of the Blues. Let Eric Clapton produce the album.
Doing a Blues album can be the kiss of death for a dying career — see Cyndi Lauper’s failed “Memphis Blues” as a prime example — but class musical acts like Steve Miller and Tom Petty have proven just last month that The Blues is on the rise again, and Rihanna can push that musical renaissance even higher with her clean and sparkling voice.