After years of rampant speculation and false starts, Rihanna's long-awaited eighth studio album ANTI is available now. It's the Bajan pop star's first LP since 2012's Unapologetic, and it's following on the heels of "Work," the Drake-featuring single she released earlier today. A January 26th report from Billboard suggested the album would be released as a surprise some time before Friday, January 29th, about a month before Rihanna's ANTI World Tour (with Travi$ Scott and The Weeknd) kicks off in San Diego. The artwork was designed by Roy Nachum, and it's included above.
The album was accidentally uploaded to Tidal's servers earlier this evening, giving quick-fingered fans a chance to share the tracklist and full versions of every song. The whole thing is available on Tidal now, a likely consequence of the album's widespread leak a few hours ago. ANTI will stream exclusively on Tidal for one full week, and a deluxe version of the album with three bonus tracks will be made available on January 29th. The service is also making a limited number of complimentary download codes available to subscribers and non-subscribers alike, all of which come with a 60-day free Tidal trial. (The codes are being offered through a partnership with Rihanna and Samsung. Once all of the codes are used up, the album will be made available for public purchase through Tidal's download store.)
You used to be able to set your watch to Rihanna's annual LP releases
For about half a decade, you could set your watch to Rihanna's regular November album releases. She released new LPs — Rated R, Loud, Talk That Talk, and Unapologetic, respectively — supported by a handful of massive singles every year between 2009 and 2012. That consistency made her musical silence throughout 2013 and 2014 seem even more curious. Producers and writers talked about the recording process and she tweeted the occasional studio clip, but she didn't release any new music whatsoever.
It wasn't until January 2015 that a potential ANTI single was released, the Kanye West / Paul McCartney feature "FourFiveSeconds." (It didn't end up making the album.) A chunk of new Rihanna music became available in March of the same year, but it didn't have anything to do with the album — it was recorded for Home, an animated movie that featured the star's vocal work. Single "Bitch Better Have My Money" kicked Anti hype back into gear over the summer, but the gap between its release and the full album's availability ended up lasting months rather than weeks. (It didn't make the album either.) The album's title and cover were revealed in October 2015, and it was further promoted with a series of magazine cover stories and a mysterious Samsung-affiliated alternate reality game before finally coming to life in 2016.
Update January 27th 10:45PM ET: The post has been updated to reflect new details regarding the album's exclusivity and deluxe edition.