Well, she's technically playing at the Palace at Auburn Hills rather than Detroit proper, but the Barbadian princess has new music, new style, and a new show to share with the world. And we are down for the ride. Here are a dozen reasons why we all should be excited for the return of RiRi.
1. Her new album
We have so much love for Rihanna's newest album, Anti. The highly anticipated record was three years in the making and came out to great reviews from critics and fans. Rihanna was making music like a workhorse — seven albums over an eight-year span — so she deserved a break to work on her eighth studio album. The wait was worth it. Anti is full of pop/R&B jams that show off a more in-charge, grown-up Rihanna.
2. The "Work" music videos
The lead single from Anti is the Barbadian-styled song "Work" featuring Drake (more on him later). Most artists release one video for their song, but not Rihanna. She gave us two different versions of the catchy song. One version is Rihanna in a bar that is full of everything she loves: twerking, drinking, and smoking joints. The second video is just Rihanna in some sort of pink club area with Drake admiring/serving up some "Hotline Bling" dance moves behind her. The videos are sexual and sensual, just like Rihanna.
3. Rihanna + Drake forever
Oh RiRi and Drake, how you two pull at our heartstrings. The two have allegedly been off and on for years and, whenever they collaborate, it re-ignites rumors. They first joined in 2010 on Rihanna's "What's My Name" and, boy, was there ever a lot of sexual tension. After that we got the emotional "Take Care," which spread a whirlwind of "will they/won't" speculation. Now "Work" seems like a culmination of all of our feelings for them. Lines like "If you had a twin/I would still chose you" will likely put fans back on the Rihanna and Drake train. Will they ever be an official couple? Probably not. But one can hope, right? If you go to the show, be on the lookout for all of these songs.
4. Her amazing back catalog
With eight albums to draw from, Rihanna has one of the best catalogs of songs out of any pop singer touring today (besides Madonna, of course, but RiRi is on her way). Remember "Pon de Replay" from 2005? "SOS" from 2006? "Umbrella" and "Shut Up and Drive" from 2007? All of these songs are jams. Even later tracks like "We Found Love" and "S&M" were chart-toppers.
5. Her actual singing voice
A pop star's credibility with live vocals almost always comes into play at some point in their career. Rihanna was accused early on of lip syncing and/or sounding off and terrible. It wasn't until her performances at award shows that she got to show off her strong vocals. She blew everyone away when she performed "Stay" at the 2013 Grammy Awards, proving that she has emotional vocal chops. Bonus: She won her seventh Grammy that night.
7. Her love for Detroit
This isn't Rihanna's first rodeo here. She always made sure to hit up the Motor City during every tour. She's played everywhere from DTE Energy Music Theater to Joe Louis Arena t Comerica Park. This is her second time playing the Palace. Don't be surprised if you see her reppin' a Tigers hat or announcing her love for our city.
7. Her surprise guests at shows
Remember when Rihanna played Comerica Park in 2014 with another artist that we know well? Eminem lives a secluded life here, but he isn't shy to show his face with fellow collaborators. Eminem showed up during Big Sean's hometown show at Joe Louis Arena this past fall, so why can't he show up at Rihanna's? They have collaborated on three different songs, so this seems like a no-brainer. When Eminem headlined Lollapalooza in 2014, Rihanna made a surprise appearance that made the crowd go wild. Eminem owes her one now, right? And Toronto isn't that far from Detroit, either. Could Drake show up and slay all of us? One can hope!
8. Her great openers
Rihanna loves to bring up-and-coming acts on her tours (she had Kesha open at DTE) and the Anti World Tour is no exception. Promising rapper Travis Scott will be opening throughout the North American leg. Scott has been collaborating with artists like Wiz Khalifa, Miguel, and Kanye West. Detroit native Big Sean and the Weeknd are opening for her on the European leg. Slightly disappointing for us, but it will be huge exposure for a hometown rapper like Big Sean.
9. Her collaborations with other artists
Rihanna is the queen of singing hooks. Whether she's singing the chorus to "Love the Way You Lie," collaborating with Jay and Yeezy on "Run This Town," or slaying with Nicki Minaj on "Raining Men," it's all good. No matter whom she's working with, we know the envelope is going to be pushed and we are going to get a jam that will be stuck in our head for days. That's the power of Rihanna. Plus, working with different artists means there are ample opportunities for them to show up at each other's shows (can't you tell we really want Eminem to be there?)
10. Her feminist fire
There is no other pop star out there that owns her female identity and sexuality quite like Rihanna. She is never shameful about the fact that yes, she actually enjoys sex, and isn't going to shame others or herself just because they like sex. She's been through a huge ordeal with Chris Brown, and has come out stronger in the process. Rihanna knows that she makes mistakes, parties too hard sometimes, and is reluctant to fall for a guy who is clearly wrong for her, but that just makes her more human at the end of the day. She is a good role model because of her honesty and vulnerability.
11. Her growth as an artist
When Rihanna's first album, Music of the Sun, came out in 2005, her music was heavily produced and her record label was going to morph her into a pop superstar, which they totally did. As she released more albums, her true artistry poked through. By her third album, she gained creative control of her work, but still had outside writers penning a majority of her songs. After releasing seven albums and taking a break from the studio, Rihanna released the best studio album of her career. She co-wrote a lot of the songs and was in studio while the music and compositions were made. She has evolved from a girl who had a dream to selling millions of tickets and having creative control over herself and her brand. No better success story right there.
12. Her live shows
If you've never seen Rihanna live, then you are in for quite a treat. Performing is what she does best. Never afraid of the stage, she is dynamic and engaging. Her shows have every step of choreography mapped out. Expect to see amazing dancing, costume changes, set pieces flying in and out of the stadium, and of course RiRi herself. She hasn't been on a full solo tour since the Diamonds World Tour in 2013, so we are expecting her in full force.
Rihanna plays the Palace of Auburn Hills on Thursday, March 24; Doors at 7:30 p.m.; 6 Championship Dr, Auburn Hills; Tickets are available on the resale market.