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Rihanna's new album has finally dropped — was it worth the wait?




Rihanna unveils the artwork for her newest album,
Rihanna unveils the artwork for her newest album, "Anti." The record was released as a surprise on Tidal last night.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images/Westbury Road Entertainment LLC

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Here's a new one: "Stop what you're doing, and get on Tidal!"

That's because Rihanna's newest album is finally here. Titled "Anti," the album surprisingly doesn't feature "FourFiveSeconds," "American Oxygen," or "B**ch Better Have My Money" — the three singles Rihanna released last year in advance of "Anti."

Joining us to talk Rihanna, "Anti" and 2016's rap beefs is Sean Rameswaram. He's the host of Studio 360's "Sideshow" and our resident Drake expert.

Interview Highlights:

This is an album that's been years in the making, and then it just materializes last night. Was this release expected? Was it a total surprise?

It kinda came out of nowhere. She started releasing singles that we were led to believe would be on this album around this time last year. The biggest one was "FourFiveSeconds," which featured Kanye West and Paul McCartney. And that song was great, so there was all this anticipation for this album, and then it didn't come out at all. Then boom, she dropped it overnight. As far as I could tell, it was an exclusive stream on Tidal, then it was pulled back down, then it was put back up, and then she tweeted a free download around 11 o'clock last night. (Note: There were only a limited number made available, and they have all been redeemed, according to the site.)

The Tidal thing, where they put the album up and then took it down — was that all a PR stunt? Or was that an actual mistake?

With Tidal, you never really know what's going on. [laughs]

People were pretty hyped about this album, so what's the critical reaction been like so far?

I mean, I'm not a big fan of the "let's spend 20 minutes with an album and then start critiquing it," but on first blush, it feels a little uneven at times — it ends with this endless ballad that seems like an afterthought, and some of the songs are just minute-long interludes. That being said, there are a lot of nice moments — it starts out with the song "Consideration" that features SZA, and my favorite song so far is "Kiss It Better," which might be a little too steamy for the radio.

What about the Drake collaboration, "Work"? It sounds like Drake's got his autotune on 11.

It's funny — this is the song we've spent the most time with, because it came out yesterday. [laughs] If you asked me to make a parody Rihanna song called "Work," I'd go like, "All right, here's the hook — 'work work work work work.'" And that's actually what she does, which is funny to me. But the beat is infectious, it's growing on me a little bit, so I'm going to withhold criticism of "Work" so far.

(Listen to a radio rip of "Work," via Rapdose.)

Before we go, let's talk a little bit about all the rap beefs that are taking place all over Twitter. There's one between B.O.B. and Neil Degrasse Tyson, and another between Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa. What's going on? And is there one you're watching closely? What's the Super Bowl of rap beefs right now?

[laughs] The Super Bowl of rap beefs remains Kendrick Lamar versus the world, and he's the Denver Broncos. He's doing really well. These ones that have popped up this week, well... B.O.B. versus Neil deGrasse Tyson, believe it or not, is about whether or not the world is flat. [laughs] But Neil deGrasse Tyson definitively settled the beef last night, on "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore."

The Kanye West versus Wiz Khalifa beef is a little more like a high school playground, I would say — there are a lot of potshots. And Wiz Khalifa's wife, who is Kanye's ex, Amber Rose, actually got involved too, and then it got really profane. I'm sure I can't talk about what she said on the radio.



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