The wait is over.
Rihanna makes her long-awaited return with “Lift Me Up,” her first solo single in six years and the lead single from the soundtrack to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Written by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Göransson, the powerful ballad is a tribute to the life and legacy of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died in August 2020.
“After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them,” said Tems. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”
The soundtrack, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From and Inspired By, will also feature a second song from Rihanna, and will be released on Rihanna’s label Westbury Road in partnership with Roc Nation, Def Jam, and Hollywood Records.
Coogler, who directed and co-wrote the original Black Panther and its sequel, revealed how they were able to land Rihanna.
“Rihanna, man, we knew she was at a point in her life as well where she was focusing on different things—focused on business, motherhood, which is a big theme in our film. We were holding out hope that maybe it could work out and boy did it for this song,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
This marks Rihanna’s first solo release in nearly seven years. She last appeared as a featured guest on PartyNextDoor’s 2020 single “Believe It.” Her most recent album, Anti, was released in 2016.
Rihanna is setting the stage for her long-awaited comeback. She will headline the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show in February amid the impending release of her ninth studio album.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From and Inspired By will be available Nov. 4, while the movie starring Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke hits theaters Nov. 11.