Single Review: Rihanna ft. Drake – ‘What’s My Name?’

Well, if you’re being pedantic – Robyn Rihanna Fenty. There. Happy now?

Rihanna’s musical output can be said to have been greatly influenced by her personal life. Before the whole Chris Brown debacle she was an upbeat, Island-born songstress with a vitality for life and chucking out worldwide smash after worldwide smash. Then, along came the ‘Rated R’ era and things seem to dwell in an eternal Halloween-esque horror-fantasy with overall, a much darker image and sound, far more risky lyrics and song topics (á la ‘Russian Roulette’), and the slightly unwelcoming feeling that this was going to be Rihanna for the rest of her musical career.

Thankfully, with the début single from new album ‘LOUD’, we saw the Bajan beauty erupt out of the dark and back into a world of hazy colours, fun-filled humour and a generally more playful demeanour with the ultra-sassy and addictive ‘Only Girl (In The World)’. And now, with the second release from ‘LOUD’, a duet with US rapper Drake, Rihanna’s even ditched the whole dance-pop vibe and left just her island-infused R&B, reminding us why we loved her in the first place.

‘What’s My Name?’ is a brilliant return to form but what makes it that much better than simply returning to what made you famous, is that it sounds much more mature whilst still retaining an element of Rihanna more playful nature; the music doesn’t sound dated, and with the synth stabs sounding like they’ve just been lifted out of ‘Te Amo’, the whole thing is hotter than a steam-filled sauna.

Rihanna’s vocals are top notch, back to the clear, richly-coated vocals minus the essence of goat that accompanied her vocals in the ‘Rated R’ era. Drake however, doesn’t please as much: his auto-tuned drones make him sound like he’s trying to imitate Lil’ Wayne and his awkward mix of singing and rapping doesn’t do the song justice, often losing the rhythm. The middle eight deserves special mentioning due to it being Rihanna’s best vocal since her earlier years.

Rihanna is injecting colour into New York. How kind.

0:50… Innuendo alert!

In hindsight, I still love ‘Only Girl (In The World)’, but ‘What’s My Name?’ is just as good and succeeds at re-introducing Rihanna, the sassy, R&B princess and should also succeed as continuing her reign over worldwide charts after a few hit and misses with ‘Rated R’.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: December 20, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘LOUD’

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  1. Irina Popescu-Smith

    I welcome the return of joyful Rihanna and I like the beats and her vocals. However, Drake is killing the song and ruining the pleasure (luckily he’s only on for a little bit, unluckily at the beginning of the song, making me want to mute and/or stop). And the chorus is annoying and stupid.

    Without Drake, I would’ve given this 4 stars

  2. Ageing tart

    This song is trash. Like so much of todays music it really is time for people to tell the truth. Especially if you are musically orientated.

    So here it is the song is trash, especially created for none musical ears to like and buy. Its music for the masses, nothing tasteful or delicate, not a tune to remember tomorrow let alone ten years time.

    The world needs writers and performers to give us more tunes like those sung by Celine Dion or Whitney Houston. Tunes written within a dominant song format, that you could sing in the bath or if you have a strong voice yourself, tunes that you would like to sing in a concert.


    Ageing tart

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