Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, but Rihanna as we know her today arrived exactly 10 years ago, on March 29, 2007. That was the day “Umbrella” stormed and cymbal-crashed into the world, paving the way for Rihanna’s domination as the imminent pop threat of the late ’00s.
When Jay Z yells, “Take 3: Action!” at the onset of “Umbrella,” he’s hinting that the third time’s the charm, and sure enough, Rihanna was at a make-or-break moment in her career by the time her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, rolled around. She had turned heads with her 2005 debut, Music of the Sun, and its swift follow-up, 2006’s A Girl Like Me, but was still considered a middle-tier pop star with an indistinct musical personality. Who was Rihanna, exactly? No one really knew until “Umbrella.”