Confirming longstanding rumors, Rihanna will release a new single, “Lift Me Up,” on Friday (Oct. 28) as part of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. The song was co-written by the artist in tandem with Nigerian singer/songwriter Tems, the film’s director Ryan Coogler, and composer Ludwig Göransson, who also produced the song, and won an Oscar for Best Original Score on the first Black Panther film.
Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Nov. 11. It’s the first in the hugely successful Marvel franchise without the titular character played by Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020 at age 43 after battling colon cancer.
For Rihanna, the return to music comes ahead of her headlining appearance at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show on Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. She previously turned down an offer to headline the event in 2020, citing solidarity with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL star who remains without a team after protesting during the National Anthem in 2016 and 2017 while playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
Rihanna hasn’t released an album since 2016’s Anti but teased new music in a September 2021 interview with The Associated Press. “You’re not going to expect what you hear. Just put that in your mind,” she said. “Whatever you know of Rihanna is not going to be what you hear. I’m really experimenting. Music is like fashion. You should be able to play. I should be able to wear whatever I want. I treat music the same way. So I’m having fun and it’s going to be completely different.”
The original Black Panther soundtrack in 2018 was a rap-heavy affair curated by Kendrick Lamar. It spawned the massive Lamar/SZA collaboration “All the Stars” alongside hits such as the Grammy-winning “King’s Dead” with Lamar, Future, and James Blake, and “Pray for Me” with Lamar and the Weeknd.
lift me up
— Rihanna (@rihanna) October 26, 2022