In a move that produced the predictable controversy and concern, Rihanna let the world know earlier this month that her erstwhile boyfriend Chris Brown—the R&B singer who pleaded guilty to felony assault after Rihanna emerged bloodied from an altercation in Brown’s car shortly before the 2009 Grammy Awards ceremony—would be featured on a track from her upcoming album Unapologetic, available Nov. 19. The song, “Nobody’s Business” (which the singer initially teased on Instagram with the grammar-challenged title “Nobodies Business”), isn’t the first time the two have worked together since the 2009 incident, but now that the song can actually be heard—and even though Rihanna told Andy Cohen on Facebook Live that the song is about her personal life in general, not her relationship with Brown—it’s generating more complicated reactions than their earlier collaborations, on “Birthday Cake” and “Turn Up the Music.”
Have a listen to a teaser:
The song—on which Rihanna sings “Always be my boy, I’ll always be your girl / Nobody’s business, ain’t nobody’s business”—leaked yesterday afternoon, and the Rihanna-Chris Brown narrative online changed from head-shaking to resigned appreciation for the Michael Jackson-influenced pop groove and snark about the hypocrisy of the title. Gawker‘s headline on a review of the song is “The New Rihanna/Chris Brown Duet Is Great, Unfortunately.” Vulture wrote that “The song leaked today and of course it had to be like really good… And, they’re right; it is nobody’s business but their own. Oh, and the millions of people that will hear this song.” On Zimbio we get that “It’s hard to take someone’s lyrical pleas for privacy very seriously when that person is dropping allusions to her private life in her music videos or, you know, hitting the studio with the same guy who landed her in the hospital.”
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s 777 tour—seven shows in seven countries in seven days—continues to supply the world with party-plane news.