Artist

Rihanna

Rihanna

Regardless of your opinion of her, Robyn Rihanna Fenty (better known as "Rihanna") deserved credit for defying expectations. The singer was born and raised in Barbados, a country with musical contributions often overshadowed by its Caribbean neighbors. Rihanna was presented to the American public as a female teen R&B starlet in the mid-'00s, well after Beyoncé had cleared the field of R&B girl groups and staked a position as the principle female pop-R&B star. She was destined to one-hit wonderdom with her 2005 dancehall-lite hit, "Pon De Replay." Her 2006 follow-up, A Girl Like Me, outsold its predecessor and established that she had some staying power. However, the record featured a hit single, "S.O.S.," which was rooted in the novelty of '80s nostalgia.

And then there were two. Rihanna went straight for the pop jugular and released Good Girl Gone Bad in 2007. The album moved away from the Caribbean market and more toward Western dance-club-pop. Hit singles like "Umbrella" and "Don't Stop The Music" charted for weeks, and the album sold over 7 million copies worldwide. The album was re-released with bonus tracks in 2008 and titled Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. This new released produced two more hit singles, "Distubia" and "Take A Bow." That same year she received a Grammy for "Umbrella."

Rihanna received more attention throughout 2009 for both her personal life and her professional accomplishments. She became publicly recognized as a victim of domestic abuse when various media outlets reported on a violent dispute between her and her then-boyfriend and fellow R&B singer, Chris Brown. Later in the year she collaborated on highly recognized videos and songs with Kanye West ("Paranoid") and Jay-Z ("Run This Town"). She also released her fourth album, Rated R, which contained more hit singles, "Rude Boy" and "Russian Roulette." Her subsequent media saturation made her a singular celebrity in the late '00s. ~Dan Nishimoto


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