Singing star Rihanna, who has become a force in the beauty and fashion industries and starring in the film “Ocean’s 8,” is also a reggae music fan favorite. The style icon from Barbados said in an interview with Graham Norton that she was actually “in the studio” making a reggae album for the first time since “Music of the Sun” in 2005. In honor of 50 years of reggae, Boombox has provided a ranking of the top reggae tunes recorded by Rihanna. The list, along with Boombox’s rationale for the rankings, is as follows:
- “Man Down” from the album ”Loud” released in 2010. This album sold eight million copies worldwide and included the Number 1 hits “Only Girl (In The World),” “S&M” and “What’s My Name?” While this tune peaked only at Number 59 on the charts, its influences from Bob Marley and Queen add to its chilling story about a woman who killed her predator and became a fugitive. Critics have called it one of Rihanna’s “most captivating vocals.”
- “What’s My Name?” featuring Drake from “Loud.” The chemistry between Rihanna and Drake can’t be ignored in this song, which won a Grammy nomination in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category in 2012. Called a “pivotal” moment in Rihanna’s career, the song represents the singer coming into her own as an artist.
- “Dem Haters” featuring Dwane Husbands from the album “A Girl Like Me” released in 2006. A standout song in which Husbands’ accompaniment highlights Rihanna’s wisdom in this pop/reggae hybrid.
- “Kisses Don’t Lie” from “A Girl Like Me,” This tune honors Rihanna’s Bajan heritage and offers a gritty combination of rock and reggae.
- “Pon de Replay” from the album “Music of the Sun” released in 2005. This song introduced Rihanna to the world and was on the demo tape that caught the attention of Jay-Z who signed her to Def Jam Recordings in 2004 when she was just 16.
- “Work” featuring Drake from the album “Anti” released in 2016. According to Boombox, this song is “disguised” as a party anthem, but its lyrics discuss a woman trying to save a failing relationship. It is one of Rihanna’s catchiest tunes though.
- “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” front “Music of the Sun.” While this song was not as popular as “Pon de Replay,” its energy made it a fan favorite nonetheless.
- “No Love Allowed” from the album “Unapologetic” released in 2012. Boombox describes the tune as an “eerie-but-catchy” story about a murder. The album produced chart-topping hits like “Diamonds” and “Stay,” but this song is a stand-out.
- “Rude Boy” from the album “Rated R.” Released in 2009. Recorded at a difficult time in Rihanna’s life, the album offers bleak assessments of love and relationships. This song provides some hope when compared to the other darker tunes on the album.
- “Give Me A Try (Remix)” with Sizzla in 2006. Teaming up with Sizzla, the dancehall superstar, the remix is a perfect flirty and slow track that left fans hoping for more collaborations between the two artists.
- “Break It Off” featuring Sean Paul from “A Girl Like Me.” The infectious chorus of the song showcases its Caribbean roots and reggae beat. A playful take by Rihanna, this is the fourth single from the album, and it peaked at Number 9 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2007.
- “Redemption Song” 2010. In a salute to Bob Marley, which was performed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to benefit Haiti relief efforts, Rhianna said she listens to this song “when my back is up against the wall.” An acoustic ballad that has been recorded several times by others, this version shows a special vulnerability that only Rihanna could give it.
- “Cheers (Drink To That)” from “Loud.” This is the perfect soundtrack to sing along to when having a few favorite beverages at three in the morning. Laid-back and patois-heavy, the tune is a complete crowd-pleaser.
- “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” featuring Vybz Kartel from “Music of the Sun.” A song that Boombox says “flaunts” the singer’s Caribbean charms as she puts her unique spin on the fan favorite.
- “Here I Go Again” from “Music of the Sun.” This song offers the perfect mix of pop and reggae and is an instant mood-brightener. Its reggae-influenced melody meshes perfectly with its memorable lyrics.
- “Selfish Girl” “A Girl Like Me.” This song illustrates the new and upcoming star’s innocence in its lyrics and mood.
- “Crazy Little Thing Called Love: from “A Girl Like Me.” Different from Queen’s song of the same name, Rihanna’s take has been described as a continuation of “SOS,” but with a noticeable dancehall rhythm.
Source: The Boom Box