Let’s Run Down RiRi’s Ragga Roster
Call us reggae conspiracy theorists, but isn’t it strange how folks forget that the world’s biggest pop star started out asa Bajan bashment gyal? Rihanna stepped on the scene during the summer of Diwali, flinging patois hooks and collaborating with Elly and Adi on her debut album. So why are people surprised that she stays tweeting Sizzla and Beres lyrics? “My favorite artists are all reggae artists,” Rihanna explained when her single “Man Down” dropped back in 2010. “I’m super inspired by reggae music… It’s been a part of me since I was born, and I grew up listening to it… I live that culture. I never get tired of it. I can listen to reggae music all day long, and it was exciting for me to do a song like this, especially with the lyrics being like that.” Although she still hasn’t taken up Lady Saw’s invitation to do what would surely be a crazy collabo, Rihanna has repped her island roots to the fullest over the years. Let’s take a minute to run down some of Rihanna’s best reggae songs (so far). List Begins After The Jump…

“Dem Haters” ft. Dwane Husbands

On her sophomore album, A Girl Like Me Rihanna sang this hard-edged one-drop duet with Barbadian crooner Dwane Husbands.

"No No No" ft. Vybz Kartel

RiRi updated Dawn Penn’s Studio One classic with an assist from Adi Di Teacha on her debut album, Music of the Sun.

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" ft. J-Status

Rihanna included this sweet lovers rock selection on her sophomore disc, while also giving some shine to her Bajan bredren J-Status.

"Pon Di Replay" Remix ft. Elephant Man

The tune that kicked off the Rihanna phenomenon was this Diwali-esque dancehall banger. Elly hopped on the remix to give her some added muscle.

"No Love Allowed"

Elijah Blake, the rising R&B star who wrote Usher’s No. 1 smash “Climax,” penned this reggae-flavored tune for Rihanna’s Unapologetic album. The lilting reggae beat was produced by Chitown hip-hop guru No I.D. Who knew he was so versatile?

"Redemption Song"

Rihanna performed this Bob Marley classic on the Oprah Winfrey Show to help raise money for relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

"Boom Boom" Boom ft. Cham

Cham’s smash hit “Ghetto Story” landed him an album deal with Atlantic that never got proper marketing support. This slept-on album cut goes down as a major missed opportunity. Looking at Cham’s
“Stripper Pose” video, the mind boggles at what he could have done witht his song.

"Unfaithful" (Reggae Mix)

The first time Rihanna performed this Black Chiney remix of her No. 1 smash “Unfaithful” (written by Ne-Yo) was during the 2006 staging of Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay. Gotta love her hairstyle—and those shorts.

"Man Down"

Rihanna shot the video for this Sak Pase–produced midtempo bubbler in Jamaica. When the video debuted on BET’s 106 & Park the storyline of sexual assault and gunshots sparked controversy, and Rihanna
called the show to respond the very next day.

What's My Name (Federation Refix ft. Vybz Kartel)

DJ Max Glazer was Rihanna’s tour selector for many years and he still spins at her birthday parties from time to time. He laced this dancehall remix of “What’s My Name,” replacing Drake with Vybz Kartel. Not a bad trade.