When listening to Work by Rihanna featuring Drake, it takes a little bit more than a good ear to understand the essence of the chorus.
Story | Nico Blitz – Film | Timmy Troung – Photos | Taylor Preza
Timmy Troung and I surveyed a number of people to figure out exactly what Rihanna is saying. Upon acquiring a whole bunch of I-Don’t-Know’s, we found the answer toward the end of our journey, along with additional information about the ghostwriter for the song.
We found out that Rihanna is actually speaking Patois — Jamaican language mixed with English — and that PartyNextDoor was the mastermind behind the garbled lyricism.
However, I think artists who allure their audience with this garbled lyricism, like Young Thug, but more so in this case Rihanna, are exemplary examples of artists using slurs in their music and call it art. Though catchy, good sounding, and viral in a sense, are artists like this setting the bar low for others to begin slurring and not making sense with what they say?
It’s crazy to see how hip-hop and R&B have dramatically grown since I was a kid, but have stopped after a certain point. I once felt that I could feel the evolution of music, but unfortunately, it’s as stagnant as running on a treadmill.
Maybe the garbled lyricism contributes to the evolution of hip-hop and R&B. I’ve thought to myself that this could be part of the process of revolutionizing music altogether. This trend we see in slurring words may be the biggest thing we have between these genres of music. But like all trends, it will eventually die out. And I’m stoked to see what these artists can cook up next.
Cover Photo: Rihanna // @badgalriri