The Super Bowl halftime show has become one of the biggest stages ever for an artist. When performers step onto the field for America's most anticipated sporting event, they are immediately catapulted into over 100 million homes — a gig reserved for the most revered names in the music industry. Super Bowl halftime entertainers join an exclusive list within the ranks of The Blues Brothers, Diana Ross, U2, Aerosmith, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce. It takes a multifaceted, electric artist to captivate a Super Bowl audience. This year, the task has been laid at the feet of a Barbadian superstar, powerful business mogul and empowering icon — Rihanna.
If you aren't familiar with the R&B pop goddess, I'd love to ask where you've been for the past 18 years. But never fear — by the time you finish reading, you'll be amped for Sunday and counting down till the nine-time Grammy winner descends on State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Rihanna For Newbies
Before we jump into the music, let's dive into a quick Rihanna lesson for those of you who may not devour the trendsetters' music. The Super Bowl halftime headliner was born and raised in Barbados, inspired by the music of legendary artists Bob Marley, Madonna and Janet Jackson. Her passion for music led her to record a demo, and that very demo hit the magical music industry jackpot by landing in the hands of one of the greatest rappers and hip-hop moguls of all time — Jay-Z.
Beyonce's hubby signed the 16-year-old and future Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year to Def Jam Records, and a star was born. Throughout her illustrious music career, the reggae-influenced singer has accumulated over 25 MTV music awards, 13 American Music Awards, 13 Billboard Awards and nine BET Awards. If that isn't impressive enough, the singer received her first-ever Oscar nomination this year for her song "Lift Me Up" from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."
The innovator has also paved the way for female entrepreneurs in beauty and fashion. Rihanna's attention as one of the sexiest women alive and sharp business mentality bolstered her when creating the powerful Fenty beauty brand. The Fenty "umbrella...ella...ella" includes makeup, fragrance and skin care, as well as sexy lingerie and sleepwear. This knowledge alone could get you on the good side of your wife or significant other. Fenty's Savage line isn't just sexy bras and panties. Rihanna also has sportswear for all and recently collaborated with the NFL for a Game Day collection of hoodies and other athletic leisurewear. Talk about seizing a business opportunity. There's even a shirt for the music fans in your life who begrudgingly attend your Super Bowl party strictly for the commercials and halftime performances. The Savage tee reads, "Rihanna Concert interrupted by a football game, weird but whatever."
The beloved and varied halftime powerhouse doesn't just have fans of her music, lipstick, lingerie or leggings. She's loved by many across the globe for her charitable work. In 2012, Rihanna created the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. CLF invests in climate justice initiatives in the Caribbean and United States, and helps communities prepare for and withstand natural disasters.
So, as you can see, Rihanna isn't just your run-of-the-mill Super Bowl grab. She's a widely diverse artist, mogul and humanitarian. Now, if you're still not pumped for Super Bowl LVII's "intermission," here's a playlist to get your body eager for Sunday.
Playlist for the Big Game
Whether you know it or not, you've probably hummed, danced to or heard one of her banger songs. But just to play it safe, I've created a little 10-track playlist to help birth some new Rihanna fans — and if you're already a Rihanna stan, you can never have enough playlists of your favorite artists. So head to your Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube account and get ready to jam out. This year's Super Bowl halftime show features a woman who has spent her career evolving, empowering, trendsetting, thirst trapping and making legendary music that will stand the test of time. It's going to a historic Super Bowl, and I'm betting on Rihanna blowing our socks off at the half.
1.) "Pon de Replay" - Music of the Sun (2005)
This was the song that shot Rihanna out of the cannon and into the music scene, and after 18 years it still makes me move.
2.) "Umbrella (feat Jay-Z)" - Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded (2007)
Listen, does it get caught in your head, 100%, but this song was everywhere. I mean, Gwenyth Paltrow covered it on "Glee"and Tom Holland blew us all away on "Lip Sync Battle." It still slaps, it always will, and Rihanna collaborating on a track with the man who helped jumpstart her career makes it iconic.
3.) "Take A Bow" - Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded (2007)
How many have sung this at karaoke bars or into their hair brushes after a breakup? It's the kind of breakup ballad that we'll never tire of belting.
4.) "Love The Way You Lie (feat Rihanna)" - Recovery (2010)
OK, OK, I know, it's not technically her song — but this is a collab for the ages, and I'll never tire of Rihanna's chorus. Also, I'm not-so-subtly trying to manifest an Eminem LVII cameo.
5.) "S&M" - Loud (2010)
This is another Rihanna track that was covered everywhere because the driving beat and lyrics are just that invigorating. If you think you've never heard this one, acca'cuse me?! Didn't you see "Pitch Perfect"? I mean, a cappella groups across the globe will be doing this one forever, and we'll be dancing to it for decades.
6.) "Only Girl In The World" - Loud (2010)
This has a joyous dance track with a chorus we all belted in clubs across the world. Who didn't lose their mind and throw their arms in the air screaming, "Want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world," jumping up and down? And, honestly, what girl doesn't want this? See — Rihanna gets us.
7.) "Diamonds" - Unapologetic (2012)
This song may not be one of Rihanna's most popular, but it's got a groove I absolutely love, and it's got a beautiful message. Also, I saw the greatest ice dancers of all time, Virtue and Moir, skate to this on their Thank You Canada Tour post-2018 Olympics, and I legit wept. Rihanna songs are so versatile.
8.) "Stay (feat Mikky Ekko)" -Unapologetic (2012)
This. Song. And. Music. Video. Sigh. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.
9.) "Love on the Brain" - ANTI (2016)
The R&B grooviness of this track makes me yearn for the '90s in the best way. Sure, this album had "Work (feat Drake)," but I'd rather listen to this every single time and twice on Sunday.
10.) "Lift Me Up" - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Soundtrack (2022)
Rihanna could add an Oscar to her shelf with this latest track, which adds a certain gravity to the single. Pair that with the loss of the immensely talented Chadwick Boseman, and you've got arrow-to-the-heart vocals.
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