Since her last album dropped in early 2016, Rihanna fans are always hitting the multiple Grammy-winning singer up on her Instagram for an upcoming release date for new music.
“But when is the new album dropping Robyn?” an Instagram user asked on a promo pis for a new Fenty Beauty lipstick shade, Flamingo Acid. “Can we have a release date for that?”
“2019,” was the singer’s surprising answer that sent her fans into a frenzy.
While the official title of Rihanna’s ninth studio album is currently unknown, fans have been affectionally calling it “R9”.
RiRi’s vocal producer and the mastermind behind some of her biggest songs, Kuk Hurrell, was asked “How’s R9?” during an Instagram Live interview, to which he smiled and replied “R9 is great. R9 is amazing. It’s incredible. And that’s all I’m going to say.”
While no official release date has been given for her new album, Rihanna has confirmed one potential collaborator Supa Dups, a Jamaican record producer who has worked with artists such as Sean Paul. This would seem to ensure her usual fanbase will not be disappointed and Rihanna can finally pay tribute to her Barbadian roots.
Her songs have always carried with them island influence, and her singles, “Work” and “One Dance,” can both find their origins directly in dancehall and reggaeton music.
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Rihanna Has Been a Busy BadGal
The unofficial BadGal of Hip Hop has successfully ventured into some new endeavors that have given her credit outside of her chart-topping music career.
In 2017, Riri released her phenomenally successful Fenty Beauty that established the cosmetics industry’s new normal. The collection’s broad inclusivity across skin tones and gender, especially its Pro Filt’R foundation that’s available in 40 different shades helped Fenty Beauty be named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2017. And gave give Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics a run for its money.
Rihanna also took a dive into acting along with some well-known Hollywood A-listers in Oceans Eight.
Legendary Guitarist Carlos Santana to Launch Premium Cannabis Brand
Legendary guitarist and long-time cannabis advocate Carlos Santana is getting into the business, becoming the latest musician to partner with Left Coast Ventures.
The products will include premium cannabis and hemp CBD products specifically chosen to pay homage to Santana’s Latin heritage while leveraging the power of ancient therapies and enable consumers to uncover and “follow their light,” according to Left Coast Ventures.
According to a press release, the collab will “honor Santana’s heritage while incorporating his divine philosophies by identifying strains and products that promote the spiritual consciousness and wellness effects of cannabis.”
The cannabis line will include flower and pre-rolls and is expected for a summer 2020 launch in select Californian dispensaries.
The hemp CBD brand is looking at a fall launch and will include topicals with formulations inspired by Santana’s family.
“Cannabis is a window or a door to different awareness of consciousness,” said Santana in a statement. “It gives you the choice to perceive through a different filter of awakening and healing, the misperception of distance as an illusion, which keeps you from being centered in your essence-core. It helps you arrive at knowing, accepting and owning a quality of life that is being with joy!”
10-time Grammy winner, Woodstock veteran and Hall of Fame guitarist Santana is the latest musician to join Left Coast Ventures’ list of partners. The company has previously launched cannabis products with Mickey Hart, drummer of the Grateful Dead (Mind Your Head) and the Bob Marley estate (Marley Natural).
“We are excited to launch cannabis and hemp CBD brands that deeply respect Latin heritage and celebrate the unique light of every individual,” said Brett Cummings, CEO of Left Coast Ventures.
“It’s a true honor to work with a dynamic legendary musician like Santana who has influenced millions through his music and shares our values and passion to legitimize the future of cannabis.”
Carlos Santana is currently on a world tour. Find out if he’s playing near you.
Sharon Stone Sues Chanel West Coast Over “Sharon Stoned”
From shout-outs to disses, namedrops are nothing new in rap. But when does a shout-out become something more? That’s a question Sharon Stone is asking Chanel West Coast — through her lawyers.
The iconic actress is suing the rapper for using her name “for commercial purposes” in the track “Sharon Stoned” without Stone’s consent.
The suit notes that the 2018 track turns Stone’s name into a hook, with the music video that followed in April of this year recreating scenes from Stone’s movies, including the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct.
It alleges that Chanel West Coast, whose real name is Chelsea Chanel Dudley, is “an aspiring rap artist who has desperately sought to garner credibility and stature in the hip-hop community,” by “attempting to capitalize on the former’s “extraordinary level of popularity and fame,” and it was the rapper’s intention to “trade on the fame and publicity rights of Sharon Stone for commercial gain.”
The suit contains a detailed breakdown of Stone’s career, from her roles and philanthropic endeavors, which is why she “maintains strict control over the manner in which her name, likeness, image, identity and persona are used,” and claims that Dudley infringed upon Stone’s identity and used Stone’s name “as a celebrity endorser” by using Stone’s name with “mantra-like repetition” in the lyrics, as “Defendant Dudley gratuitously repeats the name ‘Sharon Stone’ thirty-three times and the name ‘Sharon’ ninety-nine times.”
Stone also has an issue with the accompanying music video that uses her likeness as “celebrity endorser to promote the sale of cannabis paraphernalia without her permission or consent,” due to the product placement for Shine Papers.
The suit claims that the song and video show a “disregard of Sharon Stone’s right of privacy and publicity, and of her exclusive right to control the use and exploitation of her name, likeness, image, identity and persona,” and seeks punitive damages and any profits Dudley may have made from the song and video.
The suit contains quotes from Dudley in which she discusses wanting to “redo some classic, iconic Sharon Stone movie scenes” in the music video.
Dudley said in a statement that she was “surprised and disappointed” and claimed Stone was fully aware of the song, being set to appear in the music video, but “[Sharon] pulled out of participating in the music video the day of the shoot after months of conversations, in-person meetings with myself and the director, two dance rehearsals and even had her own ideas that she shared with myself and my team for the collaborative on the video.”
“To be frank, the entire production team and myself were surprised when she walked off,” said Dudley.
A$AP Rocky Officially Charged With Assault in Sweden
When rapper A$AP Rocky went to Europe to start his Injured Generation tour, few expected it would end with him being accused of assault in Sweden and detained, facing up to two years of jail time if found guilty.
After an altercation between Rocky — real name is Rakim Mayers — his bodyguard, two performers from his show and two men surfaced on TMZ in late June. News quickly spread that “the rapper voluntarily went to the police” for questioning and was immediately taken into custody on July 3 — where he has been since.
Despite the Grammy-nominated rapper claiming they acted in self-defense, even posting video taken of the altercation, the Swedish High Court rejected an appeal arguing he was a flight risk.
Swedish prosecutors have now said in the Stockholm District Court documents that Rocky pushed the man, identified as Mustafa Jafari, to the ground.
Sources say that the rapper is being held in solitary confinement and that conditions in the jail were called “inhumane,” saying that “walking into that place was like walking into a toilet.” Those same sources claimed he was being held in a cell next to a mentally ill inmate known for throwing feces and sleeping on a yoga mat instead of an actual bed.
Swedish law enforcement even raided the hotel room of long-time manager John Ehmann, allegedly confiscating his cell phone and demanding the password to go through the contents. This is an incredibly odd and aggressive move considering Ehmann has nothing to do with the alleged assault.
“[Ehmann] was completely taken aback,” a source said. “[He] had no idea what this was about […] He never saw it coming.”
Hip hop artists and high-profile celebrities alike have expressed their support for A$AP Rocky ever way they could.
Fellow A$AP Mob label mate A$AP Ferg took to Instagram to express support, Tyler the Creator, ScHoolboy Q and Tyga have all either canceled planned shows or sworn to never play a venue in Sweden and stars like Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Justin Beiber, Diddy, T.I., 2 Chainz, Lil Yatchy, G-Eazy, Juicy J, Kid Cudi, Tory Lanez, Machine Gun Kelly and Miguel have all gotten behind the #JusticeForRocky hashtag.
Joining in the #JusticeForRocky hashtag were big names like Shawn Mendes, Kris Jenner, actress Cara Delevingne, former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Naomi Campbell.
Now, even U.S. politicians have gotten involved. President Donald Trump has tweeted on behalf of the jailed rapper, calling on the Swedish prime minister to “treat Americans fairly.”
Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2019
The State Department raised concerns about the arrest and detention, urging the Swedish government to treat him fairly via a statement.
“There are certainly some facts about the arrest and detention that raise concerns,” the State Department spokesperson said. “We expect all governments, including Sweden, to treat American citizens fairly and with respect. … We hope to see ASAP Rocky and his colleagues back on tour and reunited with friends and family soon.”
Even New York Democrat Representative Adriano Espaillat has responded to the Change.org petition, telling the Associated Press via a statement that he would push to get the rapper home.
“I will continue fighting until A$AP Rocky is released from Swedish prison and brought back,” Rep. Espaillat said.
As of the writing of this article, the Change.org petition had just over 600,000 signatures and counting with a goal of 1 million.
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