Given how much speculation goes on about the true nature of the Rih/Brown relationship (they broke up in 2009 after he assaulted her and have recently sparked reconciliation rumors), fans might want to know why they decided to work together on the throwback love jam. Her reason? “It’s nobody’s business,” she tells Complex magazine about the chatter surrounding them and the track.
When further prodded about the song in the cover story, she responds, “It’s a fun record that The-Dream wrote, and we loved the lyrics. You’re still asking me questions about it, so clearly you don’t know.”
Her label is taking a cue from her playbook on how to address the track. Roc Nation exec Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith notes that while the song wasn’t intended to be a Rihanna/Brown collaboration, in the end, it became one. The scrutiny and gossip surrounding them was not factored into the decision to make it so.
“We don’t focus on the media, so it was never a question. It’s all about the music. Everything else doesn’t even play a part in the studio,” he explains in the magazine, noting that Rihanna’s longtime mentor Jay-Z also signed off on it. “The-Dream didn’t write it for them as a duet. Jay-Z and I were in the car together listening to the song, and we thought it would be a great duet. It sounds dope. It feels good. That’s how Chris ended up on the song.”
It was hardly the first time that Rihanna and The-Dream worked with Brown on music in a post-assault world. Last year, long before they became more public with one another, they appeared on remixes of each other’s songs; his “Turn Up the Music” and a new version of her Talk That Talk tune, “Birthday Cake.” The-Dream was a part of the process of bringing the new “Birthday Cake” to life, and he shared with MTV News that it was her idea to work with Brown again.
“She’s pretty smart too. The same questions that went through my mind, and I’m an artist also, had to have gone through hers,” The-Dream told “RapFix Live” last February. “When she raised the question to me, I know she’s not crazy. So my thought was you’ve been thinking about this, you’ve already thought it out, so evidently you know what reaction you gonna get.”
“Don’t say you know how to forgive when you don’t,” he later added in that 2012 sit-down. “Everybody knows what took place, cool. Have the power to really forgive if that’s what it is. If not, stay on that side of the fence from the beginning.”