Between guesting on Jay-Z's "Run This Town," appearing in Kanye West's "Paranoid" video and being photographed while out on the town,
"The stuff we've come up with in the studio, it's the next step for her. It's a little more grown-up. It's got some edge to it," Timberlake said in an interview during E!'s red-carpet show prior to Sunday's Emmy Awards. The two previously collaborated on "Rehab," from Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad LP.
The songstress has also enlisted U.K. dance producers Chase & Status, who talked about her professionalism and sense of direction with the BBC. "On one track she came up with some cool melodies and cool ideas, the kind of vibe she wanted. This album for her is just about what she likes and what she's into and what she wants," said Saul Milton, a.k.a. Chase.
The duo have spent "two sessions, three or four weeks in total" working with the singer, and Milton noted that Rihanna is very direct about what she likes — and what she doesn't.
"When she doesn't like something she'll let you know. When she likes something she'll let you know as well," Milton said. "If she's not into the vibe she'll be like, 'Nope, I don't think it's for me.' Or if something is a bit too bolshie [esoteric], she's like, 'That's not what I'm trying to push right now.'
"We just spent a lot of time with the writers and with her and she's just a really cool girl, down to earth."
Milton also recalled how he found out that Rihanna was interested in working with the duo.
"I actually got a call from Rihanna at 6 a.m. one day, before we even met up, saying how she loves the tracks and that she can't wait to work with us," he said, adding, "That was a big realization that it's happening!"
At press time, a spokesperson for Rihanna had not responded to MTV News' requests for confirmation and more information.