Features | Awards

The You Don't Really Appreciate Rihanna Until She's Not There Award

By David M. Goldstein | 10 December 2010

Big Boi
“Follow Us”
(Def Jam; 2010)

Ubiquity, thy name is Rihanna. Hardly anyone disagrees that she’s stretched a wee bit too thin these days, consistently lording over the Top 40 like the Bahamanian cyborg ice queen that she is. She releases her own records because she has to, even if they don’t exactly sell compared to the likes of the artists that she lends her hook-ready pipes to. Every now and then she’ll hit it out of the fucking park (see: “Lights, All of the”) and her appearances alongside Andy Samberg on SNL Digital Shorts have been hysterical. But I don’t blame anyone for getting sick of her.

And yet, we’ve taken Rihanna so much for granted that it takes a song like Big Boi’s “Follow Us” to make us realize how good we really have it. An otherwise great pop-rap song is marred by Boi’s head-scratching decision to entrust the chorus hook to the lead vocalist of Southern emo-bro band Vonnegutt (now re-named “Take to the Oars” apparently). The result sounds like a goth-kid straining to sing the hook on “Run This Town” after his sixth Michelob Ultra. Boi stop? Why settle for drunken male Rihanna imitation when it’s not exactly difficult to get the real thing? Homegirl woulda killed that shit!