Rihanna Returning With New Music on ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Soundtrack

Rihanna is officially back. Well, almost. The singer is slated to get back in our ears on Friday (Oct. 28) with the new single “Lift Me Up” from the upcoming Marvel sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The song, written by Tems, Oscar winner Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and Panther director Ryan Coogler was recorded in five countries and produced by Göransson according to a release announcing the star’s first solo single since 2016.

Ri’s anticipated return to music was written as a tribute to late Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died in August 2020 at age 43. The song will be released on the singer’s Westbury Road label in partnership with Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings/Hollywood Records. A brief preview of the song appeared on RiRi’s Instagram on Wednesday (Oct. 26), with her wordless humming floating above a string section.


“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 in a statement. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”

The rumored slot on the Wakanda soundtrack has been buzzing for weeks, with billboards hinting at RiRi’s involvement in the project via cryptic promotions on electronic billboards in New York, and, this week, a teaser post for the film in which the title resets to spotlight the “R” in “Forever” above Friday’s date.

The “Umbrella” singer hasn’t released an album since Anti dropped six years ago, and logged two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. She most recently hit the Billboard Hot 100‘s top 10 on her own with “Love on the Brain,” which reached No. 5 in March 2017. She added her most recent Hot 100 top 10 – her 31st – as featured, with Bryson Tiller, on DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts,” which hit No. 2 in July 2017. In her most recent appearance on the chart, she reached No. 23 in April 2020 with “Believe It,” with PARTYNEXTDOOR.

Though she’s teased her next album several times since, no new solo music has emerged since the Anti era, as new mom RiRi has mostly focused on her Fenty Beauty brand. Her long break from live performance is slated to end on Feb. 12, 2023, when she takes the stage for the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

The sequel to 2018 global smash Black Panther stars Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Dania Gurija as Okoye, fighting to protect their nation from interloping powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s [Boseman] death. The film, also starring Martin Freeman, Lupita Nyong’o and Tenoch Huerta Mejia, is due in theaters on Nov. 11.

The Wakanda Forever soundtrack — produced by Coogler, Göransson, Archie Davis and Dave Jordan — will be out on Nov. 4, with Göransson’s score album due out also on Nov. 11.

Check out the “Life Me Up” tease below.

Gil Kaufman