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Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘ANTI’ by ‘Rihanna’

Released: 2016

Label: Roc Nation / Rihanna

Featuring: SZA, Drake

No stranger to the limelight, ‘Bad Gal’ Rihanna has had a meteoric rise from her humble beginnings in Barbados to global superstardom. And while she’s celebrated for her fierce style and business acumen, it’s her musical prowess that’s the foundation of her empire. An epicenter of this prowess is her eighth studio album, ‘ANTI’ – a bold departure from her earlier pop-infused works.

Lyrically potent and sonically innovative, ‘ANTI’ offers a captivating panorama of Rihanna’s artistic evolution. On this album, Rihanna leaves no stone unturned, from exploring self-love on “Consideration,” to the seductive calling on “Work,” from the unrequited embers of “Love On The Brain,” to the soul-baring closer “Close To You.” Every track serving as a testament to her growth, as an artist and as a woman.

‘ANTI’, no doubt, was a milestone in Rihanna’s career. It defied genre norms and embraced artistic freedom, breaking away from the templates that initially established her as an international pop star.

So let’s get into it. From “Consideration” to “Close To You,” here’s a deep dive into the lyrics of ‘ANTI’ by Rihanna.


This joint isn’t just about RiRi reclaiming her narrative — it’s a declaration of her independence in a game that’s tried to box her in. She ain’t just laying down stunning vocals here; she’s crafting meaningful lines about breaking away from constraints, and daring to do things her way. She speaks of a struggle for peace, a thirst for respect, a need for growth — themes that resonate in the heart of every listener. This track ain’t just about solid beats and gold-glitter phrases; it’s a message wielded with fierceness, a symbol of a liberated artist taking charge.

James Joint

The lyrics are a testament to her unapologetic attitude, as she would rather be “smoking weed whenever we breathe” and “breaking things” than falling into the usual relationship dynamics. This provocative number is brimming with defiance—it’s Rihanna telling the listener, “I live and love by my own rules.” It’s more than just a love song; it’s a declaration of independence and a celebration of breaking free from societal expectations. Ultimately, Rihanna’s “James Joint” is as edgy as they come, spotlighting her raw and unfiltered approach to love and life.

Kiss It Better

In this track, she grapples with the intoxication of a tumultuous love affair, an ever-present theme in her illustrious career. The lyrics are raw and pulsating, echoing the bitter-sweet yearning of a passionate entanglement where pride often obstructs reconciliation. Every line drips with an unfiltered desire to recapture a vanishing euphoria, underscoring the irrepressible pull of romantic attachment. It’s a testament to her ability to translate complex emotional landscapes into compelling sonic narratives, cementing her position as a force to be reckoned with in the hip-hop game.


The repetition of “work, work, work, work, work” serves as a motif for the strain of a relationship that demands constant effort. It’s an ode to perseverance, whether it’s wrangling a lover’s fickle emotions or navigating life’s hardships. Rihanna’s use of Patois, a Jamaican dialect, accentuates the song’s sense of authenticity and cultural depth. The pain and frustrations find resonance in lines like, “You mistaken my love I brought for you for foundation.” Bottom line, it’s a raw, emotional track that doesn’t shy away from the complexities of love and the labor it takes to make it work.


Her lyrics, steeped in the imagery of a classic Western, capture the struggle of choosing isolation over heartbreak. There’s a real sense of yearning for companionship, but a simultaneous fear of emotional commitment. This gritty, gunfighter persona is far removed from the glitz and glamour often associated with RiRi. The symbolism of the ‘old Monte Carlo’ and the ‘lone wolf’ underscores her willingness to break free from traditional expectations, seeking solace in solitude and shared experiences. “Desperado” paints a vivid, introspective picture of Rihanna, using the arid landscapes of cowboy escapades as a canvas for her emotional narrative.


She flips the script and lets her inner boss-bitch take over, throwing caution to the wind. The lyrics dip into a contentious relationship, polarizing the norms of love and care. She’s draped in defiance, refusing to be confined by love and declaring she doesn’t “even really care about you, no more.” The repetition of the phrase “send for me” serves as a threat and an invitation, embodying the complexity of the emotions at play. The sonic landscape of the song — characterized by its echoing “woo, woo” — manifest a haunting ambiance. Significantly, “Woo” echoes a disregard for narratives of submissive love, amplifying the voices of women reclaiming emotional power in hip-hop.

Needed Me

RiRi flips the script, taking control and redefining what it means to be needed in a relationship. She ain’t no damsel in distress looking for a prince on a white horse; she’s the queen who calls the shots. The lyrics depict a raw, unapologetic, and self-empowered Rihanna, dismissing a former lover who mistook her independence for vulnerability. She plays both the savant and the savage—flipping between offering genuine love and serving raw, unfiltered truisms. Examining these lyrics, one can’t help but marvel at Rihanna’s assertive narrative style that reinforces her position as a trailblazing icon in the contemporary pop and R&B landscape.

Yeah, I Said It

The lyrics paint a picture of a woman who knows exactly what she wants, and isn’t afraid to vocalize it. It’s a power move, a declaration of control and autonomy, couched in seductive rhythms and silky vocals. The boundaries are blurred, ‘we don’t need a title,’ she insists, her boldness resonating with the bass lines. It’s Rihanna at her rawest, challenging conventional expectations and bucking tradition, and that’s why we love her.

Same Ol’ Mistakes

Embodying a rebellious and introspective aura, Rihanna voices the internal struggle of reinvention. The narrative is of a soul caught in its old habits but craving to break free and evolve. The lyrics embrace a profound paradox – feeling like a brand new person yet making the same old mistakes. With disorienting, hazy synths acting as a backdrop, Rihanna underscores the conflict between black and white thinking and the desire to step into the grey. It’s a raw, unapologetic exploration of vulnerability, growth,and defiance, manifesting Rihanna’s nuanced artistry and bold experimentation in this iconic album.

Never Ending

It ain’t no typical love joint either. Nah, RiRi’s brushin’ with a ghost here, feeling this profound disconnect from her body and reality. She’s yearning for a lost connection, tryna mend her soul and body, but instead she’s being pulled apart into a parallel plane, a spot folks just can’t comprehend. She wants to grip onto this elusive feeling, but love’s mad game is always slipping away. Real talk, it’s her raw exposure of the eerie, strange sensation of rediscovering love that makes this joint a standout on ‘ANTI’.

Love On The Brain

This isn’t your typical trap infused RiRi, but rather a throwback to those soulful divas that dominated the scene in the ’60s and ’70s. The track’s lyrics delve deep into the complexities of a passionate, at times volatile, love affair, grappling with the paradox of pleasure and pain. It’s about wrestling with desire and indecision, a love that bruised yet intoxicating. Rihanna paints a vivid picture of a love so potent, she’s ready to fight flames just to taste it. Her raw and unfiltered storytelling resonates deeply, making this track an unforgettable part of ‘ANTI’.


This joint is raw and real, with Riri spitting about love after a few too many swigs of whiskey. The lyrics ain’t your typical love song fluff; they’re a blunt confession, with our queen admitting she could flex with the poetic vibes, but chooses to keep it a buck instead. It’s this honesty, this unapologetic thirst for companionship that hits hard. And let’s not forget that raspy, impassioned delivery – it’s like she’s singing from the gut, swooning over a love that’s got her feeling some type of way. It ain’t just the whiskey talking, it’s a love that’s got her ‘higher than she’s ever been.

Close To You

The songstress showcases a raw, unfiltered side of her artistry, painting a picture of heartbreak and unfulfilled longing. Her lyrics, laced with melancholy and underlying optimism, explore the dynamics of a relationship marked by emotional walls, yet steeped in deep love and concern. And though it’s a softer, more introspective side of Rih, she still flexes her lyrical prowess, combining her trademark assertive style with a tender vulnerability that cuts deep. It’s an emotive exploration of rhythm and blues that puts her confessional storytelling ability on full display.

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