Tems and Rihanna were destined to work together. They’re on the same wavelength, with similar sounding alto voices and songs like Try Me and Hard that announced each of them as women not to be messed with.
When I heard Tems was co-writing Rihanna’s new song for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it reminded me of these Tems and Rihanna songs I’ve always thought share similar vibes.
Crazy Tings / Work
Tems really sang Crazy Tings are happening, and crazy things started happening to her career for real — Grammy nominations, working with Beyonce, and now, Rihanna. Even though Crazy Tings and Rihanna’s Work talk about different things, their videos have the same house party energy that makes me want to break my waist and drink from a red cup till I pass out.
Found / Looveeeeeee Song
It’s not a coincidence Tems collaborated with toxic prince, Brent Faiyaz, on Found, almost ten years after Rihanna collaborated with the king of toxicity, Future, on Loveeeeeee Song. These women are obviously kindred spirits, even when it comes to their collaborations.
Damages / Bitch Better Have My Money
Tems and Rihanna already warned us that they’re not to be messed with on Try Me and Hard, but in case people didn’t listen, they recorded Damages and Bitch Better Have My Money to reiterate their points. The latter songs will unleash your inner bad bitch whenever the world tries to bring you down. Trust me, I’ve been there too.
Live Life / Live Your Life
Two features in which Rihanna and Tems sing about living life to the fullest and ignoring the haters? Inject it inna mi veins with a quickness. Tems’ part on Show Dem Camp’s Live Life makes for the perfect pregaming vibe, while Rihanna’s voice on T.I’s Live Your Life might make you order that bottle of Azul you know you can’t afford.
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Avoid Things / Fading
Fighting for a relationship is great, but it’s important to know when to walk away. Tems and Rihanna explore this in their songs Avoid Things and Fading. On Avoid Things, Tems tells her lover she’s sick of his games, while Rihanna is quick to tell hers to bounce on Fading. These are the songs you listen to when you need ginger to break up and regain your freedom.
Higher / Higher
Rihanna opens up Higher with the line, “This whiskey got me feeling pretty. So pardon if I’m impolite,” before she goes on a rant to convince her lover to come over. The same energy could be felt on Tems’ song of the same title, in which she asks her lover if they’ll come for her if the world was ending. These two were definitely in their feels when they recorded these songs.
Free Mind / Redemption Song (Bob Marley Cover)
It’s hard to go on TikTok and not see a morning routine video set to Tems’ Free Mind. Off of her 2020 EP, For Broken Ears, Free Mind is a delicate song about mental struggles and adulting. Even though Redemption Song is not a Rihanna original, her haunting version of the song is on the same frequency.
Vibe Out / Cheers (Drink to That)
Tems rarely makes songs about partying, so Vibe Out is a special one for me. Coming off a Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and carrying the whole summer of 2021 on her back, with Essence, Tems deserved a big ass party. Looking for a party is something Rihanna can also relate to on Cheers (Drink to That), which came out after her long LOUD Tour of 2011.
Looku Looku / Stupid in Love
Dealing with a man who doesn’t deserve you is the theme that unites Tems’ Looku Looku and Rihanna’s Stupid in Love. I support women’s rights, so I support their choices after they realise niggas ain’t shit.