In the outtakes of her Complex cover story, Rihanna opens up about whether or not she was as pressed about netting a number one album as much as everyone else, reveals how Chris Brown helped her record “Pour It Up,” and discusses what she enjoys about her duet partner, Future.
You have twelve No. 1 singles which is already a huge accomplishment, but how important was it for you to get that No. 1 U.S. album? Was that the goal?
You know what? I thought about it for the first few albums and then, after you don’t get it, eventually it just goes out of your mind. Then, with the seventh one, I really was thinking to myself, “This album needs to be good enough to be a No. 1 album.”
Not that the others weren’t. I just want people to know that it’s good enough. I put so much pressure on myself when I was making this album that Jay-Z actually spoke to me and said, “If you’re making this to be a No. 1 album, then you’re doing it for the wrong reason.” It kind of snapped me right out of it. I said, “You’re right. All I need to make is a great album.” And that’s where the pressure really laid for me.
I wanted this music to be so good because it’s number seven and you don’t get that back. It just had to be perfect for me. And I got worried that it wouldn’t be finished in time. I knew I would be able to finish all the songs I had so far, but I didn’t know for sure that that was the body of the album. All the songs were fantastic but sometimes you’re like, “Maybe we need a little more this or a little less of that.” So I was getting worried in the end, right up to the very last second, then it fell right into place.
What did you hear from Future that made you want to work with him?
I heard a couple songs on his album that just had some unexpected melodies. I wanted him to just write something that people wouldn’t really expect to come from him. But I didn’t want to say that, because I didn’t want to make him overthink it. I just wanted him to write something that he loves, because he already knew he was writing it for me. It was supposed to be me singing the hook on “Loveeeee Song,” but I really loved his tone on it. I said we’re definitely keeping him on it. Because I love his demeanor on the record.
And what made you pick a Mike WiLL Made It record over something else?
Actually, it picked me. It was one of those where I was sent a track. As a matter of fact, the writers and Mike Will were in the studio and Chris went over there and came back and said, “There’s this crazy song that Mike Will made, you should listen to it.” So I had somebody from the label bring it for me so I could hear it. Argh—like right away I knew like this was going to be my record. Like, I knew they made it for me, but I just hadn’t heard it yet. But when I heard it, I just knew that I was keeping it. It’s one of my favorite ones. Right away I couldn’t stop listening to the demo, over and over.
So Chris heard the record first and was like, “You have to hear this now”?
He was in the studio with them while they were writing for me, so yeah.