Social Circle: Is Rihanna Worthy Of Becoming Beyonce’s Future Successor?

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Vibe / October 28, 2011

We grabbed up some of the Internets most opinionated mouths to answer our VIBE’s office debate of the week… Is Rihanna worthy of becoming Beyonce’s future successor? Peep thoughts from our own Tracy Garraud, Kid Fury, Phil Annand (Madbury Club), Karen Civil, Freshalina, Paul Cantor and Marcus Troy, then leave your own in the comments. Don’t shoot the messenger! 

TRACY GARRAUD → @TRAYHOVAVIBE.COM
VERDICT: Yep.
Fix ya face. Yes, as black female artists, Rihanna and Beyonce share the same contrasts as midnight and midday. For sure. But what these two kings both gun for is pop ubiquity– the one merit that binds them. Now, until America’s milf-to-be gets dulled with her own godliness, Rih won’t really eclipse Bey’s cloud of glory. Years of eminence have pretty much ziplocked that shit. It’s not so much that Bey will one day crown Rihanna—an awkward collaboration with two Hov verses would be more likely—but that the global tiara will just naturally waft onto Rih’s [insert color here] dome. Beyonce is a fucking beast. Only an imbecile would attempt to question that. Besides just being a truly outstanding performer, she rearranged our standards of beauty and helped women kindle up their autonomy. She owns a generation. Owns it. However, generations are just that, blocks of time. It’s inevitable that Bey’s passion for female self-rule would trickle down to just about every 20-something chick’s current state of ethos—sexual liberation. And guess who’s clutching the whips and chains on that?

KID FURY → @KIDFURY → SOFURIOUS.COM
VERDICT: Oh Nah Nah.
I’m quietly stanning for Rihanna these days. I still call her Curry Goat and dash in other necessary hints of shade, but her latest video and overall pop/rock trashiness are fantastic. However, Queen Beyoncé Golden Grace Mother of Time Knowles is not pop/rock trash. I don’t even understand the question. Beyoncé dominates these girls vocally, choreographically, weave-ally, and she drips swagu. Rihanna is worthy of being Patra’s successor…or maybe Courtney Love. We don’t even need to think about a successor for Beyoncé when she’s foxtrotting with a fetus. She’s fine.

PHIL ANNAND → @MADBURYCLUBMADBURYCLUB.COM
VERDICT: Yep.
All things considered in the greater musical galaxy, it seems like it’s time for Beyonce to gracefully fade from the spotlight. You’ve got to figure that eventually Jay-Z is going to start acting his age and give up the Throne for argyle Lacoste sweaters and weekend golf tournaments with Tiger Woods and Tavis Smiley sooner or later, and that Beyonce will be right behind him. Sadly, her departure leaves middle aged men with little more than her glorious memories on Youtube as she’ll be off raising a child that will inevitably become either Jesus Christ or Jamarcus Russel in terms of life accomplishments. Where does that leave us? With Rihanna more or less taking over the world.

At this point, I don’t see how anyone could doubt the once innocuous girl who seemed primed to pull a one hit wonder act after DJs got done playing “Pon De Replay” summers ago. Since then, Rihanna has lead an Genghis Khan like tirade across international billboards and shows no signs of stopping. She’s casually transformed pop singles into undeniable global hits again and again and her once confusing inability to speak comprehensible English is now just an endearing quality in a well polished public persona. She may not have that “regal” quality we all seem to attribute to Beyonce, but it doesn’t seem like she needs it. She’s still in her rebellious stage, doing dangerous things like getting her ass tatted in music videos and getting into Twitter brawls with other pop stars. Her next album will be massive, and probably be the closest thing to a challenge Adele has seen in a year in terms of sales. What will really be interesting is how she grows into her position atop the game in the next four years. She’s got everything she needs, and if this child means no new Beyonce music videos for at least a year, I’ll gladly subscribe to the Rihanna Youtube channel in the meantime.

KAREN CIVIL → @KARENCIVILKARENCIVIL.COM
VERDICT: Perhaps… but nah. 
Maybe in 20 years, Rihanna doesn’t have the range or vocal ability Beyonce has. Beyonce has mastered the entertainer craft perfectly. While Rihanna’s vocal ability is just now starting to sharpen, and you can’t compare the two. rihanna controls euro pop now. Beyonce can control all genres. Rihanna will either be a hit or miss.

FRESH → @FRESHALINA CRUNKTASTICAL.NET
VERDICT: Eh.
Successor is a sensitive term for Beyonce fans since it implies that she may one day do the unthinkable: take a step back to focus on other goals, private or personal, tunnel vision style for good. Feelings aside, I think its a bit unfair to try to determine if Rihanna has what it takes to one day wear King B’s royal attire this early on in her career. Artists go through different stages of growth in their careers that ultimately enrich their character as entertainers. Almost two decades later we’re still watching Beyonce go through metamorphosis not only as an artist but as a woman. We’ve got to allow Rihanna space to do the same. As cliche as it sounds only time will tell. I’ll check back in on the discussion five years from now.  

PAUL CANTOR → @PAULCANTORPAULJCANTOR.COM
VERDICT: Sure, why not?
Every day a new person becomes a fan of music. They have no reference point. They’re just hearing something for the first time and they go “holy shit, I love that song.” I don’t think many people are hearing Beyonce for the first time and thinking that right now. She’s just at that point in her career where she’s passed the point of being amazing upon discovery. Rihanna, you could technically hear her “We Found Love” tomorrow for the first time and you might say, “Wow, what the fuck is that? It’s awesome.” She just has that upside moving in her direction. She’s definitely got the newer audience on smash, because her music is more contemporary.

Barring how I may feel about Rihanna’s voice and her actual talent— it’s whiny and she doesn’t have much—those are the things that make her unique, and I get it. She’s more in tune with where culture is at right now and is on the pulse of what’s hot. She’s young and she’s just that shit. Beyonce’s swag is old and motherly. And while on a human level I dig that, I also think it’s boring as fuck. And I like my pop stars to have some edge to them, whether it’s contrived or not. If Rihanna stays progressive from a pop standpoint, she will carve her lane in a bigger space than Beyonce’s. What she’s doing right now just speaks to these kids. Pharrell said it best, “It’s a new day. People don’t wanna think anymore, they wanna feel.” To put it mildly, people feel Rihanna a lot right now. All she needs to do is keep it that way. 
BONUS → Peep all 851 words (!) of Cantor’s perspective on Rihonce 

MARCUS TROY → @MARCUSTROYMARCUSTROY.COM
VERDICT: Oh Nah Nah.
Rihanna can’t be Beyonce’s successor for a few reasons. One, I believe Rihanna is trying to channel the rebellion of Madonna with the attitude of a Marilyn Monroe. I think Beyonce is our generation’s Janet Jackson with the soul of Tina Turner. Both great artists, but I believe they can coexist without ever interfering in each other’s worlds. I think Rihanna spends most of her time partying and having a great time enjoying life and boys, while Beyonce is constantly working at being the best performer and entertainer in the world and possibly a great wife. I think they both have different responsibilities and objectives in the music business. I think Rihanna is like a Mac, very sexy, easy to understand and you know she is going to come with some amazing features and surprising moves. Beyonce is like the veteran PC, she’s been around for a while, she is favored by most in the world, she is more known than the sexy new Mac and she has and will continue to have longevity. Even though Beyonce might envy the new and fresh look of the Mac, she knows that her experience and work ethic might be more reliable and compatible with many other scenarios in the long run. The PC might sometimes see the Mac as competition, but I strongly believe they are playing in two different fields. Most of us love the Mac today, but when it all boils down, the world is run on PCs.