Rated R is the fourth studio album by Rihanna, released November 20, 2009. Recording sessions for the album took place during March to November 2009 at several recording studios, and production was handled primarily by Chase & Status, StarGate, The-Dream, Ne-Yo, and Brian Kennedy. Conceived after Rihanna's assault by her then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, Rated R features a prominently foreboding and angry tone, in terms of musical and lyrical direction, and incorporates elements of hip hop, rock, and dubstep.
Rihanna wanted the album to be less Synthpop and have more bass and grime beats which was a major shift from the lighthearted commercial pop of her previous albums. In the early stages of the production, she worked with Adonis Shropshire who stated that she was just easing back into the studio with a couple of ideas here and there over the last couple of weeks. Rihanna also worked with Stargate who added that the collaboration was "very rewarding" and "inspiring for us", commenting: "I don't think we should talk about titles just yet. We don't really know which songs are gonna make it, but it feels exciting." It was later revealed that Stargate originally produced a collaboration between Rihanna and Canadian rapper Drake. Eventually, however, for reasons unknown, the song did not make the final cut for the album.
During the summer, Rihanna recorded songs for the album with record producer Chuck Harmony. She was involved with writing most of the lyrics on the album with the help of Timberlake and Ne-Yo who would help her translate her emotions into the songs. She worked with Ne-Yo on a number of songs although he didn't know what songs were kept for the album. While working together, he felt that Rihanna wasn't the same girl as the one he worked with a few years before and stated that she had become more comfortable in her skin now. In terms of musical direction, Rihanna requested somber vibe songs for the album, but not just dark for the sake of being dark; she wanted dark songs that had some kind of meaning. Harmony wanted "Russian Roulette" to stand out and felt that the song should be darker, edgier and more morbid just to try it out. Rihanna was comfortable with the vibe and the lyrical content of the song and eventually phoned in to Ne-Yo to tell him that it was one of her favorites.
After listening to track "Saxon" performed by Nicki Minaj and production duo Chase & Status, Rihanna got in contact with them and wanted to work with them because she loved the feel of the drums and wanted a similar thing for her album. Chase & Status had a pair of sessions with Rihanna and worked together for a few weeks in an undisclosed location. Chase & Status worked with her on songs that had a dubstep vibe, although whenever Rihanna didn't like something she would let them know. On one of the tracks, Rihanna came up with a melody and idea to give the song the kind of vibe she wanted. In October 2009, she concluded recording sessions with Tricky Stewart and The-Dream. Dream and Tricky flew out to Paris and played a few songs for Rihanna which included the songs "Hard" and "Rockstar 101." The song "Hard" stood out from all the songs because she felt that it had such an arrogance to it. In the song "Rockstar 101," guitarist Slash contributed a bass guitar on the track while "Photographs" is a duet with will.i.am. In addition, Ester Dean co-wrote the song "Rude Boy." "The Last Song" was one of the last tracks crafted for the album. Rihanna recorded the song within the final twelve hours of the album's conception: "When the label finally said we had 12 hours to turn in the album, I was like, Okay, I have to do it. I just drank some red wine, dimmed the lights, got in the booth and sang it."
ďSonically, itís a little darker. I wanted it to be grimier. I wanted bigger bass, heavier beats. And then the lyrics, theyíre really personal. A lot of deep lyrics. A lot of honest lyrics. And thatís why I think itís the best work Iíve done so far.Ē
ďWe made a great album, which was my intention in the first place. That makes this a classic album for me. Itís very edgy. Good Girl Gone Bad was all about me at that point of my life. It had attitude and an edge and this next album takes it up a notch. I want to evolve and keep changing and I want my music to reflect that. [...] A lot of people say to me, ĎYou got sexier. Your image has changed.í But that really isnít it. Iím just dressing how I feel. Iím more comfortable in my skin. I basically dress to my mood."
In the United States, Rated R debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 181,000 units in its first week, beating her previous album Good Girl Gone Bad's first week sales of 168,000, and making it her highest selling week ever. The album was also Rihanna's fourth top ten album in the country and her second highest album chart position. It also topped Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, becoming her first album to top the chart. On January 8, 2010, Rated R was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with an estimated 1,000,000 copies shipped to date. The album had sold more than 998,000 units in the US as of October 2010.
In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number sixteen and was certified gold in just four days. The album has so far shipped at least 300,000 copies and has been certified platinum by British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on January 25, 2010. It is Rihanna's joint-second most successful album in the country, above her first album, Music of the Sun which sold 200,000 copies and joint with her second album, A Girl like Me which sold at least 300,000. It is Rihanna's fastest selling album of her career in the United Kingdom, receiving a platinum certification in just over two months of its release. This beats her previous album, Good Girl Gone Bad, which went platinum in just over three months. As of August 1, 2010 the album had been on the UK Albums Chart for 36 weeks.
Despite debuting at only number fifteen in Australia, the album was certified gold its second week on the chart. In August, the album was certified Platinum after shipping 70,000 units. With the release of the album's third single, "Rude Boy", Rated R set a new high of twelve on March 7, 2010. In Poland, the album peaked at number five and received a gold certification, selling 20,000 copies in just one month, beating Good Girl Gone Bad's sales of 20,000 in two years. In Sweden, Rated R rose dramatically to a peak position of number nineteen on the issue dated January 29, 2010, after being at thirty-four its previous week. In New Zealand, the album debuted at number fourteen and in Finland it debuted at number twenty-eight eventually climbing to number fifteen. In April 2010, the album soared from number fifty-nine to its new peak of eighteen on the Dutch Albums Chart. In June 2010, the album re-entered the Greek Albums Chart to reach a new peak of number six.
Rihanna released 6 videos during the Rated R era: Wait Your Turn, Russian
Roulette, Hard, Rude Boy, Rockstar 101, Te Amo. Visit our
and watch/read about them.
The Last Girl on Earth Tour primarily covered western Europe and the United States. The tour was announced through MTV News in December 2009. Pixie Lott, Tinchy Stryder and Tinie Tempah appeared as opening acts for specific dates during the European leg, with Kesha and Travie McCoy opening at North American shows. The tour was directed by Jamie King, who has previously worked with Madonna, Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne. Tina Landon, who has worked with Janet Jackson, served as choreographer. The creative director for the tour was Simon Henwood who was also the creative director of Rated R.
Rated R: Remixed, a collection of ten remixes by Chew Fu of Rated R's tracks, was released May 25, 2010
1. "Mad House" (Intro)
- 1:34 Makeba Riddick, Will Kennard, Saul Milton, Robyn Fenty, Chase & Status
2. "Wait Your Turn"
James Fauntleroy II, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Kennard, Milton, Takura Tendayi, Fenty, Chase & Status, StarGate
3. "Hard" (feat. Young Jeezy) -
4:10 Terius Nash, Christopher Stewart, Fenty, Jay Jenkins, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart