Although Beyoncé and Rihanna have had varying paths to success, their ascent to fame has prompted fans and critics to draw comparisons between the two. By most measures Beyoncé, at age 30, is the veteran of the pair, while 23-year-old Rihanna is still regarded as the young upstart. With Rihanna morphing into a global pop superstar and Beyoncé’s temporary, self-imposed break from music causing a lull in sales, is it fair to even compare their careers? Rolling Stone tasked themselves with finding an answer and it all boils down to numbers in the end.
Rolling Stone did a side-by-side breakdown of the impact of both Beyoncé and Rihanna’s careers, finding that the stars are in different places at this stage of the game. Both had a strong showing in 2011, with Beyoncé attempting to storm back with her fourth solo LP 4 while Rihanna’s sixth album Talk That Talk is currently rising on the charts.
The piece points out that Rihanna has had a staggering eight hit singles this year alone, by employing radio-friendly arena-rocking pop anthems while Beyoncé dialed in modest hits using traditional R&B and hip hop influences along with some artistic risks that failed to connect with her core audience. It further showed that while Rihanna may command much of the attention Beyoncé once controlled almost universally, she still has not sold as many albums as her predecessor.
Beyoncé still remains as big a star as ever, but with Rihanna catering to an audience hungry for dance music and club-rocking jams, will Bey remain true to her creative vision? Will Rihanna exhaust her desire for smash singles and cut back on the pop sound? Only time will tell.
What do you think of Beyoncé and Rihanna’s careers? Is it fair to compare the two? Who is your favorite of the pair? Tweet to us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below.