For the first time in six years, Rihanna has dropped a new solo single for the forthcoming soundtrack of Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Lift Me Up was released Friday and will appear in the sequel, set to hit box offices next month.
“Honestly, I think it was Chad,” said the film’s director Ryan Coogler who was referring to the late Chadwick Boseman. “A lot of improbable things needed to happen for it to come through and Rihanna was very clear that she did that for him.”
Boseman, the lead in the first Black Panther film, died in 2020 after battling colon cancer. He was posthumously nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Black Bottom and starred in other films, including Da 5 Bloods, 21 Bridges and the James Brown biopic Get On Up.
“We knew [Rihanna] 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,” Coogler said. “We were holding out hope that maybe it could work out and boy did it for this song.”
Rihanna, Coogler and Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems co-wrote the single, which was produced by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson. The producer scored the first Black Panther movie and has music credit working on music for Creed, Venom and Tenet among others.
In Lift Me Up, Rihanna riffs: “Lift me up, hold me down, keep me close, safe and sound / Hold me when you go to sleep, keep me in the warmth of your love when you depart, keep me safe and sound.”
The single is her first since the 2016 release of her album ANTI.
Since the release of ANTI, she has collaborated with other artists, including PartyNextDoor, N.E.R.D., DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller.
But most of her focus has been on her fashion empire, FENTY, which includes clothing, makeup, lingerie and fragrances. The Umbrella star gave birth to her first son with rapper A$AP Rocky earlier this year and has been confirmed as the headliner for the Super Bowl LVII scheduled for February 12, 2023.