West Interviews Rihanna for the December Issue........

WEST: So what's your next look? Where do you see yourself a year from now?
RIHANNA: In fashion?

WEST: Yeah.
RIHANNA: I probably see a lot of menswear, or something extremely, extremely feminine. But I like to play with both. It would have to be so extreme that it's a look, because I don't usu­ally like typical ladylike, girly-girly stuff. It would be a look if I were to do it. I always like something that's a little off, so it's just not typical or expected.

WEST: When you make songs, do you think about what you're going to wear when you're performing them? Does it directly relate to the music in that way?
RIHANNA: I think not so much about what I'm going to wear yet, but when I make songs or make music, I do always think about the video. The video always plays in my head while I'm lis­tening to the song.

WEST: So what inspired you to have that pink tank on your last tour? That was amazing, when you were sitting on top of the army tank.
RIHANNA: I love to combine femininity with a kind of extreme masculine edge, and I felt like the tank is just not a typical thing that you think of when you think of a girl-or in any kind of rela­tion to a girl. Then we made it hot pink. We just added that touch.

WEST: I mean, people really need to see a photograph-the entire tank was pink. That was a great piece of commercial pop art. Was the idea of that to kind of portray an American Dream- like the fantasy of this hot black girl sitting on top of a pink tank?
RIHANNA: [laughs] I never actually thought of it like that.

WEST: How does it feel to know that you could have any man in the world? Or woman. How does it feel to know that you can turn straight women gay?
RIHANNA: Is that a real question?

WEST: Yeah.
RIHANNA: Well . . . Thank you. I don't know how to feel about that. [laughs] I guess that's flattering.

WEST: But just to have that level of power. How do you deal with it? No one woman should have that much power.
RIHANNA: I try not to depend on it. It's just a part of what's hap­pening right now in my life, and I appreciate it. It helps a lot. [laughs]

WEST: Remember when you used to think that you had to put your whole life into one album? It's like that in the beginning- you feel like you have to pour everything into it. And now you're  working on an album and it's like, "Okay, cool. Let's keep moving. Those are 10 songs down." Because you can only add so many more songs to your set list. But it seems like you've been dropping albums year after year. What's your process of putting together your music. When do you decide that it's actually ready to go?
RIHANNA: From the beginning, when we started making music, it was kind of always back to back-even with the second album that came, I would say, eight months after the first album was released, and then the third album came a year after that. So I've just never stopped making music. I love making music. That's what I love to do. So I don't feel like there's any need to take a break unless I want to. But it's not like we have a rule about put­ting out an album a year. I mean, every time we put out music, the whole process reflects whatever mood I'm in at that time. Whatever I'm feeling, whatever I'm going through, whatever mood I'm in . . . If I'm feeling like dancing or clubbing, then it will be reflected in the music. If I'm feeling dark and vulnera­ble, then it will reflect in the music, too. So that's how we start. I guess it's a more organic process. We don't really want to sound out and just say, "Oh, this is what we're doing this time." It just comes naturally.

WEST: Do you have a vulnerable side? Because in a lot of the sin­gles that come out, you're like, "What's my name, muthafucka?" or "I'm a murderer."
RIHANNA: Yes, I do have a vulnerable side. I think a lot of peo­ple have a misperception of me. They only see the tough, defen­sive, aggressive side. But every woman is vulnerable. They have vulnerability. So of course I'm going to have that side. It's not a major part of who I am, but it's definitely there. I just don't like people to see me cry-I don't like to let them know when I'm bothered. You know? I just prefer it to be all about business, and then whatever I'm dealing with, let me deal with that alone, because I don't want it to affect anything in my professional life.

WEST: I could probably learn something from that. [Rihanna laughs] But what's it like when you have to tap into that part of your­self? You've started to do some acting, with this movie, Battleship [directed by Peter Berg and due out next year]. What's it like acting and going into film and working on movies? Is that something you want to do in the future? Maybe you want to just stop doing music altogether like Justin Timberlake did and just start acting?
RIHANNA: Well, I don't think that would ever happen. This is the first time I actually ever have been in a real movie and I'm really enjoying the experience actually.

WEST: Were you the coolest kid in high school?
RIHANNA: I didn't get along with people very well. I got along with guys, but I hated the girls and the teachers. So I kind of just . . .

WEST: Is that where you got your swag?
RIHANNA: Yeah. I mean, all my friends, even if they weren't in my school, were always guys. My mother didn't understand that for a long time. There were all these different guys calling the house, and she probably had a totally different idea of what was happening. [laughs] But then I met my friend Melissa [Forde], and my mom trusted Melissa, because she was older than me, so she became my best friend. Then I started being able to go out and hang out, and it was fun after that.

WEST: How old were you when you moved to America?
RIHANNA: I was 16, turning 17.

WEST: How old were you when you got your record deal?
RIHANNA: Sixteen. It was right away-like a week after I moved.

WEST: How did you get signed?
RIHANNA: Well, I met Evan [Rogers] and Carl [Sturken], these two producers who live here in New York. They are both mar­ried to Barbadian women, so they go there to vacation all the time. My friend introduced me to them, and I sang for them, and we talked, and they had me and my mom come back a couple of days later. After that, we started traveling to New York, working on a demo. Within a year, it was done, and we sent it out. Def Jam was the first label to call back. We got other calls, but they were the most enthusiastic. It was so nerve-wracking, though, the whole experience.

WEST: Why?
RIHANNA: I mean, I was 16. From Barbados. Like, you would never . . . The chances of ever meeting somebody famous or ever being signed-that was just a deadly combination. Like, I had to meet Jay-Z and audition for him at the same time.

WEST: Do you know any famous people now?
RIHANNA: Huh? [laughs]

WEST: How did it feel to win Grammies for "Run This Town" and "Umbrella"?
RIHANNA: Incredible-I mean, really incredible. When I won the first Grammy, there was no other feeling like that feeling. It just made me feel like I came so far, like that was just a dream a few years before that, and then it was happening right then. I went to the Grammies that year just to watch. I didn't even think we'd win. So that surprised me. That was another overwhelming experience. It was exciting.

WEST: So when you have kids, where do you want to live? Where do you want to bring them up?
RIHANNA: Ah . . . That's difficult to think about. Because where I'd want to live and where it would be possible for me to live are two different places. I would love to bring them up in Barbados. But with the career that I have, I definitely can't do that. I can't live that far away from everything now, without kids, so I cer­tainly couldn't raise kids and do that with the demanding sched­ule that I have.

WEST: When do you think you'll want to have kids?
RIHANNA: Mmm . . . I don't know actually. That depends on a lot of other shit. [laughs]

WEST: Like what? What are the deciding factors?
RIHANNA: I mean, I have a lot of other stuff to accomplish before I get to kids. So . . . Whenever the time is right, I'll just know. I don't really plan on the age. It could be a year from now. It could be 10 years from now. Whenever is right.

WEST: So a year from now, Rihanna could have a little shorty with little high-tops? [Rihanna laughs] What will Rihanna's kids be like?
RIHANNA: If I had a girl, she'd probably be really rebellious. She would be like a bundle of karma.