The gap between Unapologetic and the new album, Anti, is so far the longest wait between records in Rihanna’s career. The Barbadian singer had accustomed her fans with one album each year ever since her debut in 2005. The 3-year break saw her working on different projects, including starring in the animated movie Home and contributing to its soundtrack. Rihanna also released 3 non-album singles: FourFiveSeconds, the famous collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, Bitch Better Have My Money and American Oxygen.
2016’s Anti came after a big change for Rihanna – this is her first album under Jay-Z’s recording label Roc Nation, after 11 years of loyalty to Def Jam. As a result, Anti was first released as a free digital download through Tidal, with the physical release coming a few days later. Despite big names such as Timbaland, Jeff Bhasker and No I.D. being featured as contributors on the album, Rolling Stone stated that Anti sees Rihanna finally assessing artistic control: “After years as a singer largely defined by her production, it finally feels like Rihanna is in charge of her own sound, remaking pop on her own terms”. The singer herself has refused to speak about the album as of yet.
Featuring guest vocals from Canadian rapper Drake, Work is the first single released from Anti. Much like the rest of the album, it has been seen as a departure from Rihanna’s club-infused sound towards a more minimal production. The genres that it was classified in are dancehall and reggae-pop. It marks the 3rd collaboration between the two, following 2010’s What’s My Name? and 2012’s Take Care.
Work spent 9 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100, before being dethroned by Desiigner’s Panda.