Rihanna’s ‘ANTI’ is her "magnum opus".
The 31-year-old singer took three years to create her 2016 album and the star’s vocal producer Kuk Harrell believes it is her best work to date, calling it a "game-changer".
Speaking to Billboard, he said: "’ANTI’ is absolutely her magnum opus – it was a game-changer. I think [the album] made everybody get back to a point where they took their craft seriously as opposed to the cookie-cutter rhythmic stuff. They didn’t just jump in the studio, put four bars together and sing a hook over it. In this album, you can hear that we focused a lot on detail."
Kuk first worked with Rihanna on her 2007 single ‘Umbrella’, which he co-wrote with his cousin Tricky Stewart [founder of Atlanta’s music production company RedZone Entertainment] and The-Dream and he believes ‘ANTI’ showed fans who Rihanna is an artist.
He said: "Rihanna has always known who she as an artist, but with ANTI she developed more of what she wanted her music to convey. For this, she drilled down in making sure she made the right calls for every single song. This particular album took three years to create, and that caused intensity because the fans wanted to listen to it so badly and kept asking when it was coming. I don’t focus on that stuff at all because you start to hear that [pressure] in your music. You can’t dictate feeling. So if you start calculating it, people will notice that. But we all just wanted to make sure that it was the right album and exactly what Rihanna wanted it to be. She led all of us to a great place.
"Her vocals didn’t surprise me due to the fact that I’ve worked with her for so many years, so I always knew what she was capable of. I was excited when we were cutting songs like ‘Higher’. When she started hitting those high notes, I was like ‘Woah, we’re actually doing this!’ We’re always pushing the envelope and doing something different; I wanted to bring out the best aspect of her voice in a way that isn’t too much."