Grammy-nominated reggae artist Chronixx says he has been working with Rihanna but the pair were only “producing and conceptualising”.
The Jamaican singer, real name Jamar McNaughton, was rumoured to have been one of the musicians enlisted by the pop star to work on her highly anticipated ninth album.
The currently untitled record – thought to have been influenced by the reggae sound – will be the Barbadian singer, fashion designer and actress’s first since 2016’s Anti.
Asked what he could say about his time with Rihanna, Chronixx told PA: “No, I can’t. Primarily because it was never us working together. You know what I mean?
“It was more like general creative work, producing and conceptualising. It was never like we sat down and wrote a song line for line together.”
Chronixx, 26, counts American rapper Joey Badass, Jamaican dancehall star Popcaan and Diplo’s Major Lazer project among his other high-profile collaborations.
Usain Bolt is a fan, as are U2, who invited him to perform with them at a New York charity gala.
As part of the so-called reggae revival, a Jamaican movement driven by millennial songwriters, Chronixx is exploring roots reggae with a pop-oriented twist.
He added: “There’s not really much to talk about. I don’t really want to publicise that because I haven’t really worked with her.
“Most of the people who have made music with Rihanna and have worked with her, it has been in a similar way.
“Because, as I said, this is a whole different mechanism of music where it’s not like… if I ever work with Stormzy I would really have to work with Stormy. I would really have to go and work with Stormzy.
“Working with something like Rihanna, with that level of pop culture, popularity, it’s always going to be different.”
On Friday he headlines the Boomtown Festival in Winchester before performing in Manchester and Leeds over the weekend.
Chronixx said he has a “special” connection to the UK and that it stands out because of its “deep African culture and deep Jamaican culture”.
He said many of the UK’s best young black artists had created a “natural hybrid of the UK grime sound mixed with the Jamaican dancehall”.
“I love what’s happening in the UK,” he added, saying he would like to visit artists like Stormzy and Croydon rapper Nadia Rose to discover how they work.
Chronixx’s UK dates come a year after he performed to 10,000 fans at a sold-out Alexandra Palace in north London during his Chronology world tour.
After headlining Boomtown, Chronixx plays O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on Saturday and O2 Academy Leeds on Sunday.