Well, it finally happened. Rihanna has shared her first bit of new music since releasing Anti seven years ago. Her contribution to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, “Lift Me Up,” was dropped Thursday night (Oct. 27).
The sparse track lets her vocals take center stage. The piano and string arrangement are a poignant ode to the star of the film, the late Chadwick Boseman. She sings in the chorus, Lift me up / Hold me down / Keep me close / Safe and sound. A sole instrumental version was released as well.
Rihanna also has writing credits on the track alongside Tems, Ludwig Göransson, and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.
“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,” Tems said in a statement. “I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
She added, “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”
Marvel teased Rihanna’s involvement earlier this week, but the singer confirmed the news herself yesterday, sharing the cover art for “Lift Me Up,” featuring her name in South African Xhosa language.
“Lift Me Up” is the first taster of the sequel’s soundtrack, which is assumed to go in the same direction as the Grammy award-winning Black Panther soundtrack, helmed by Kendrick Lamar. The all-star album was nominated in several categories, including Album, Song, and Record of the Year.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to hit theatres on Nov. 11. The film will be the first in the Marvel sphere to feature Boseman following his death in 2020 after a long battle with colon cancer.
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic