Is Rihanna Beefing With Beyonce Over Surprise Album Drop?

Most of us were overjoyed to wake up last Friday to discover that a BRAND NEW SURPRISE BEYONCE ALBUM was ours for the downloading. It was an unexpected treat, but apparently Rihanna was less-thrilled with Beyonce’s holiday gift to her legions of fans. In fact, there are rumors that she’s pretty pissed!

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Sources are claiming that there’s a serious feud going on between the two pop divas, and Beyonce’s album release date is to blame. The video for Riri’s Number One hit “Monster” drops today, but she feels like Bey’s new album (and whopping 17 vids) has stolen her thunder. Insiders are claiming that the coinciding release dates were definitely not an accident.

“Rihanna and Beyonce have always had a very cordial [relationship], but they are definitely competitors,” an insider revealed to MediaTakeOut. “I think Beyonce is jealous of Rihanna. First there were those Jay Z [affair] rumors, and lately people are acting like Rihanna [is] the top girl in the game. . . . [I think] Beyonce definitely pulled a power play and let Rihanna know who the Queen is.” Considering that the pair share the same management, there could definitely be some angry phone calls flying, courtesy of BadGalRiri.

In their defense, there’s a great chance that Rihanna’s team was completely in the dark about the whole thing, along with pretty much the rest of the entertainment industry. More and more details are now coming to light about how Beyonce was able to keep such a mammoth undertaking secret until the very last minute. The project -code named “Lily”- began to come together in October, but vocal overdubs and production work continued until as late as the week before Thanksgiving!

Because of the week-long online exclusive, news of the album was kept from the large manufacturing department and limited to just a handful of key players at Columbia (Beyonce’s label), Parkwood (Beyonce’s management) and iTunes. The eventual release date wasn’t finalized until less than a week before the album dropped, and it wasn’t until the day before that producers and employees were informed that their holidays were about to get a lot more fierce.

Despite being completely dependent on internet technology, the unorthodox stunt was Beyonce’s attempt to re-create the feeling of a pre-digital age, when an album release was a true event. “I miss that immersive experience,” she write in an explanation on her Facebook page. “Now people only listen to a few seconds of a song on the iPods and they don’t really invest in the whole experience. It’s all about the single, and the hype. It’s so much that gets between the music and the art and the fans. I felt like, I don’t want anybody to get the message, when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

VH1 Music Editor + Seltzer Enthusiast