Next month marks the 10th anniversary of Rihanna’s debut single, “Pon De Replay,” a summer smash that unassumingly launched one of contemporary pop’s most unexpectedly enduring careers. Like Madonna before her, the Barbadian singer compensates for her lack of obvious vocal talent with a shrewd ability to sniff out percolating trends and a willingness to zig when she’s expected to zag (“Russian Roulette,” “Diamonds,” and “Four Five Seconds” were all surprising moves for an artist who could have safely preserved the status quo). Her wild success, which includes 10 solo #1 hits in the U.S. (13 total, tying her with Michael Jackson), can also be attributed to her seemingly steadfast work ethic, yielding seven albums in just the first eight years of her career. That streak ended with 2012’s Unapologetic, her final album before parting ways with her longtime record label, Def Jam, last year. (She’s now signed to Roc Nation, a deal that reunites the singer with Jay Z, who first signed her one decade ago.) To celebrate Rihanna’s 10 years in the business, we took a look back through her catalogue of hits and picked her 15 best singles to date.
Jay Z (#1–10 of 34)
1. “The 2014 Billboard Power 100.” What is power? At its base, it’s the ability to reshape the world around you according to your vision.
“And who in the music industry did so with more verve than the two people leading this year’s Power 100? But they weren’t the only ones exerting a powerful influence on the music business, and popular culture at large. Take our top five: the head of the largest music company in the world; a man who shunned the spotlight while quietly building a diversified music empire; the leader of the most powerful live entertainment company that has ever existed; and another who runs the largest music catalog. The 2014 Power 100 list is filled with similar forces from across the industry which, if you’re lucky enough to work in, offer inspiration, guidance and shining examples of how to get it done.”
Starting tomorrow, we’ll predict the winners in all four General Field categories of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, airing Sunday night on CBS. To kick things off, though, here are our thoughts on some of the smaller categories:
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: If this category is indeed meant to honor performance and collaboration, it’s hard to argue with the crossover synergy of Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines,” whereby Pharrell supplies the Marvin Gaye sample (plus those all-important head-bobs), while Thicke brings the yelps, grunts, and falsetto blue-eyed R&B flourishes that critics have admired for a full decade, even as Thicke failed to drop a #1 single. That single is here, and we suspect it means Thicke will be taking home at least one tchotchke on Grammy night. Ted Scheinman
- anthony hamilton
- armin van burren
- best alternative music album
- best dance recording
- best pop duo group performance
- best pop vocal album
- best r&b song
- best rap sung collaboration
- best rock album
- black sabbath
- blurred lines
- bruno mars
- calvin harris
- celebration day
- daft punk
- David Bowie
- florence welch
- Grammy Awards
- hesitation marks
- holy grail
- Jay Z
- justin timberlake
- kings of leon
- led zeppelin
- love and war
- magna carta holy grail
Rick Ross & Jay-Z, “The Devil Is a Lie”: Hip-hop titans Rick Ross and Jay-Z have joined forces for a new track from—presumably, considering the lyrics—the former’s forthcoming album, Mastermind. Rumored to drop before the end of 2013, the album is now expected sometime next year.
The FDA aims to tighten control on commonly prescribed painkillers.
Ira Sachs’s Queer/Art/Mentorship announces 2013-2014 fellows.
Read about the scandal that has Jay-Z tongue-tied.
A Murder, She Wrote reboot is in the works, starring Octavia Spencer.
“I’m attracted to trans women,” writes Thomas Matt.
Jay Z and Marina Abromovic eye to eye.
Health care law raises pressure on public unions.
11 TV characters who weren’t supposed to live.
Ben Whishaw star “marries” his gay partner, and they are both “so happy and proud.”
Matt Zoller Seitz on Breaking Bad’s final season.
Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips will open this year’s New York Film Festival.
Get the interactive lowdown on J.T.’s video for “Take Back the Night.”
Sasha Frere-Jones finds Jay Z charming, but with a caveat.
Climate study predicts a watery future for New York, Boston, and Miami.
Another Tea Party lie crumbles.
Who coined “United States of America”? Mystery might have intriguing answer.
U.S. economy adds 195,000 jobs; unemployment remains 7.6%.
Lee Daniels pleads his case.
Morsi backers call for protests as divide deepens.
Michael Atkinson dukes it out with some zombies.
Stem cell transplants clear HIV in two patients in study.
50 American films, 50 states: One iconic movie for each state.
Frank Rich on when privacy jumped the shark.
What Barbie would look like as a real woman (the results might surprise you).
All of Stephen King’s TV work…ranked.
Gene Seymour ponders how we use Paula Deen to give ourselves a pass.
RIAA changes gold and platinum rules due to Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Jim Kelly, star of martial arts movies, dies at 67.
How reality TV gets written.