Rihanna Dresses Down for 'The FADER' [Photos]

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Rihanna opts for cute and comfy on the cover of The FADER‘s 100th issue.

In its accompanying photo spread, the 27-year-old entertainer smokes a blunt and pretty much does what only Rihanna can do.

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Read an excerpt from her cover story below.

For almost a decade Rihanna released an album per year, but it’s been over 1,000 days since her last one. Sure, there have been singles, collaborations with Eminem, and “FourFiveSeconds” with Kanye West and Paul McCartney. There was “Bitch Better Have My Money,” a single and video that she directed with a quartet of French men who go by the name MegaForce. There was the Met Ball dress, Maori hand tattoos in New Zealand, tours through Dubai, and crop overs at #heauxm. Countless magazine covers. Her River Island collaboration. MAC Cosmetics deal. Dior ads. Hosiery collaborations. PUMA campaign. Among this all, her music is more relevant than ever: in July of this year, she became the first artist to surpass 100 million gold and platinum certifications encompassing 37 separate singles to be the winningest chart-topper in the history of cochleae.

Since summer 2014, Rihanna has acknowledged an upcoming eighth album by using the umbrella hashtag #R8. There have been maddening video snippets of her at work in the studio, sessions with legendary vocal coach Kuk Harrell, and rumors that the project will introduce a reinvented sound, a new Rihanna. In November 2014, Dash Radio host DJ Skee said an album was “closer than anyone realized,” to which Rihanna responded on Twitter: “ANY news about #R8 will be delivered directly from me!!!!” Four months later, while promoting the blockbuster movie Home, she told MTV she wants “soulful,” “forever” songs to “perform in 15 years” that will still feel like they represent her then. She has yet to formally announce the album’s tracklist or release date.

For all this time, anxious fans have been able to feel a sense of access to her, through Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter. Rolling that blunt on the Coachella security guard’s head, playing dress-up with baby Majesty, she feels like she belongs to us. They say that certain politicians win by dint of how badly you want to have a beer with them. No one doesn’t want to hang out with Rihanna. You suspect that you could even be yourself around her. Have fun. She certainly looks like she’s having a blast. On the one hand, it’s hard not to want for her, at 27, to have a break from the rigors of the Q4 album rollout, to cheer her on for pausing and taking some time. On the other, you can’t help but wonder if she’s sometimes felt just plainly over music.

If this were a normal story, I’d tell you what she ordered if we’d gone to Giorgio Baldis, her favorite L.A. restaurant, even though she pretty much always gets the same thing (fried calamari and pasta with tomato sauce). I’d tell you if she smelled like Reb’l Fleur, her old fragrance, or, if she’s wearing RiRi, and what that smells like. The story wouldn’t be so much about what she said in response to my questions—Rihanna is media-trained—it would be about registering any silences. Or flickers of eyelid. Or churlishness. Or evasiveness. It would be reading tea leaves. It makes you wonder why any savvy celebrity would ever agree to an interview, and understand why in this case Rihanna did not.

To read Rihanna’s full cover story, click here.

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