It's easy to compare Lady Gaga and Britney Spears to Madonna and have the two of them vie for her throne. But could it be that there's another pop star secretly working her way to Queen of Pop status and doing it more in the spirit of Madge herself? Well, there's an argument to be made that Rihanna is certainly following in the footsteps of the Mama of Pop.
"I think that Madonna was a great inspiration for me, especially on my earlier work. If I had to examine her evolution through time, I think she reinvented her clothing style and music with success every single time," Rihanna said earlier this year. "And at the same time remained a real force in entertainment in the whole world."
While some of you may be scratching your head at the suggestion that Ri – and not Gaga or Brit – might be the new Madge, we've come up with some reasons why. Follow us here for a second, okay?
For one thing, both artists, over the evolution of their careers, have worked with house artists and DJs, shaping their music in new and unusual ways. Madonna branched out into house music, working with folks like William Orbit, and Rihanna is now emerging as a new player in the same genre thanks to "We Found Love" (a track she worked on with scene player Calvin Harris) and even Loud tracks like "Only Girl In The World" and "Complicated."
Rihanna on WhoSay
Sure, Lady Gaga lives in the world of costume-ready couture and her looks may influence underworld style, but she doesn't impact everyday fashion the way Madonna did and Rihanna currently does. How many girls did you see rocking red hair after Rihanna dyed hers? It's probably about as many as started wearing lacy gloves and hair bows (yes, Gaga we're looking at you!) after Madonna did it.
While neither Madonna nor Rihanna are technically great singers, they have signature voices and are known to almost always sing live – often while putting on a show that shames many of their pop peers. The notes may not always be perfect, but we appreciate their attempts to keep it real.
And with "realness" in mind, both of these ladies say what's on their minds. Read Rihanna's Twitter or any interview that Madonna has given for proof of this. They've also been in a tabloid relationship or two, making headlines for the guys they've dated and they're tendency to not care what people think about it.
Rihanna, like Madonna, also has a tendency to make truly thought-provoking music videos that fit the songs they represent. Smattered in between glitzier, more glamorous clips, Madge and Ri want us to think about bigger issues. Just this week, Rihanna got us thinking about the perils of being in an abusive, substance abuse-fueled romance in her "We Found Love" video. Madonna broke ground back in the late '80s with videos that took on big issues and had everyone questioning their moral codes, including "Like A Prayer," "Papa Don't Preach" and "Express Yourself."
What do you think? Is Rihanna cut more from the Madonna cloth than any of her pop peers, including Britney Spears and Lady Gaga? Let us know in the comments.