Rihanna topped Billboard‘s Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks this spring with her Drake-featuring single “Work” — but in a new interview, one of the song’s co-writers says the Barbadian pop star nearly passed on the chart-topper. Singer and producer PartyNextDoor told the New York Times that Rihanna’s “label didn’t care for Caribbean music at the time.”
PartyNextDoor added that he thought about keeping the song for himself and frequent collaborator Drake, or passing it along to Alicia Keys. But when the tune “was all that [Rihanna] could sing around the house … she fought for it” and her label reassessed the situation.
Beats don’t always end up being recorded by the artists for which songwriters intended. In 2015, Diplo said he suggested “Lean On” to Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, before settling on Mø. And nearly a decade ago, Rihanna was on the other end of the scenario: Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige both passed on “Umbrella.”
The record producer also detailed his role in the session’s for Rihanna’s eighth studio album, Anti, which dropped in January. “The first feeling I got was, ‘Why am I here?'” he told the Times. “All these guys have made hits already.” Now he’s joined the elite group of songwriters — like Sia and Calvin Harris — who have helped to propel Rihanna to the top of the Hot 100.
Earlier this month, PartyNextDoor — best known for his contributions to Drake albums as a member of the rapper’s OVO Sound label — released his second studio album, PartyNextDoor 3.