Five years ago, Rihanna was as close to dethroning Beyoncé as the queen of the world as I was to losing my virginity. In other words, a lot closer than anyone at the time could have ever imagined. Hindsight is 20/20, though, and we probably should have picked up on the cues when Rihanna produced bangers like “Pon de Replay”, “Break It Off”, and “SOS” so early in her career. At this time, I would like to preface this article by saying that I didn’t come here to fuck shit up. I think Beyoncé is great. I really do. She’s like the Christina to Rihanna’s Britney. She’s the Nicole to Rihanna’s Paris. She’s the Kylie to Rihanna’s Kendall. Wait- did I just call her inferior in three different ways? I guess I did. Maybe I am here to fuck shit up, after all.
Don’t get me wrong- I will always have a special place in my heart (and CD player) for Beyoncé classics like “Baby Boy,” “Upgrade You,” and “To the Left.” Beyoncé had her time on the throne. No one argues that she was anything but the most celebrated diva of the ‘00’s. But, when you compare the two goddesses side by side in 2016, an indisputable winner arises. Sorry bout it, Bey. If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around this changing of the guard, let me break it down for you.
Beyoncé is like the super fun friend that you had your freshman and sophomore years, but then who got wifed up the fall of junior year never to be heard from again. Sure, she makes an occasional appearance at an important event like Formal (Greek Row’s version of the GRAMMYs), but for the most part she’s content to leave her hard partying past behind her. On the flip side, Rihanna is the girl that always sort of flew under the radar until everyone realized how cool she really was. It may have taken a few years, but now she’s scoring invites to all the best parties, always has the best clothes, and exudes the most flawless DGAF-attitude that you’ve seen on a female since Olivia Newton John in the last few scenes of Grease.
Take the subject of clothes, for example. Sure, Beyoncé has taken some risks in her day. Take the see-through dress that she sported at the 2015 Met Gala, for example. It was nothing short of flawless, to be certain. But, take into account the sheer, rhinestone-encrusted dress that Rihanna wore to the CFDA Fashion Awards an entire year earlier. Rihanna is constantly ahead of the curve when it comes to clothes, pulling off things most mere mortals couldn’t imagine. She is consistently featured in Red Carpet best dressed lists, often for events that Beyoncé now prefers to stay home for. Recently, Rihanna made headlines for saying that her biggest regret in life thus far was not wearing a rhinestone thong with the infamous dress. This bitch is so cool that she legitimately regrets not having worn bedazzled underwear. I might have thought that her biggest regret would have been Chris Brown, but she just doesn’t give a single F, clearly.
Being that this is 2016, you can’t discuss two people without commenting on their social media and the way that they choose to express themselves over the internet. Once again, Rihanna takes the cake (cake, cake, cake…), at least on Twitter. For one thing, the last time Beyoncé tweeted was in 2013. 2013, people. That was three years ago. And it wasn’t even a good tweet. It was actually a retweet of another account. Comparably, Rihanna is active on Twitter, utilizing her platform to promote her music, voice her opinions, and just generally be flawless. Granted, Beyoncé’s Instagram is much stronger. It’s easily the best mom-Insta in the game, and is difficult to compare to Rihanna’s because both are obviously meticulously curated for each specific personality. I will say that Rihanna did have a run-in with the Instagram authorities (lol) for posting too many boob pics. She has since cleaned up the account, but still errs on the side of risqué.
Comparing the two singers musical careers is a bit more difficult. The vast quantity of Beyoncé’s discography compared to Rihanna’s makes the two almost incomparable. Simply put, Beyoncé has had much more time to curate her sound due to the fact that she has been preforming for much, much longer than Rihanna. Still, Rihanna’s music has recently exhibited a much wider range and variety than Beyoncé’s. Much of Beyoncé’s music tends to sound similar, especially with some of her later projects. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and is likely a result of stylistic preference. However, Rihanna brings a breadth to the table with songs that are diverse and unique to each project, something that is largely absent from Beyoncé’s albums. In addition, Rihanna is responsible for some truly savage songs about guys who did her wrong. Look at Take a Bow, for example. She sings, “You’re so ugly when you cry. Please. Just cut it out.” If you close your eyes and imagine really hard, you can almost picture her playing that for Chris Brown when he hits her up at 3 A.M. telling her that he misses her. As if you need more convincing, Rihanna’s most popular songs trump Beyonce’s, when looking at the popularity of “Work” and “Bitch Better Have My Money”, versus “Drunk in Love” and “7/11” on Spotify.
It’s indisputable that both Rihanna and Beyoncé are incredible performers and people. Both are strong advocates for women, and generally good role models. Beyoncé was without a doubt the queen of the ‘00’s to ‘10’s. All I’m saying is that its 2016 and there’s a new queen in town, and she goes by the name of BadGalRiRi..