Label Def Jam SRP
Producer(s) No I.D. Kuk Harrell
|Recorded 2012; Record One Studios, Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles); Metropolis Studios (London)|
Writer(s) Sean "Elijah Blake" Fenton Robyn Fenty Alexander Izquierdo Ernest Wilson Steve Wyreman
"No Love Allowed" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna for her seventh studio album, Unapologetic (2012). The singer co-wrote the track together with Sean "Elijah Blake" Fenton, Alexander Izquierdo, Steve Wyreman and Ernest Wilson, who produced it under his production name No I.D.. Kuk Harrell and Marcos Tovar recorded the song at Record One Studios and Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles and Metropolis Studios in London; Harrell also did the vocal production. "No Love Allowed" is a electro-ragga and reggae song with an instrumentation consisting of a bubbly, dubbed-out groove, Caribbean and dubstep beat and loping drumless rhythms.
- Background and production
- Composition and lyrical interpretation
- Live performances
- Credits and personnel
"No Love Allowed" received acclaim from contemporary music critics; many of them labeled it as a standout track on the album and likened it to the works of Jamaican musician Bob Marley and Rihanna's 2011 single "Man Down". Following the release of Unapologetic, "No Love Allowed" debuted on the charts in France, the United Kingdom and the United States. It peaked at number 101 in France, number 24 on the UK R&B Singles Chart, number 131 on the UK Singles Chart and number three on the US Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles. The song was included on the set list of Rihanna's 2013 concert tour, the Diamonds World Tour.
Background and production
Rihanna began "working on the new sound" for her seventh studio album in March 2012, even though she had not yet begun recording. On September 12, 2012, Def Jam France announced via Twitter that Rihanna would release a new single the upcoming week while her seventh studio album was scheduled to be released in November 2012. At the 25th Annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, Chicago-based producer, Ernest Wilson, better known by his production name No ID, spoke that he is about to work on a song for Rihanna's new studio album. He further stated that that is inevitable since they are like family in Roc Nation. On October 11, 2012, in one of her tweets revealed that the title of her new album is Unapologetic, along with its cover.
"No Love Allowed" was written and produced by No ID, with an additional writing from Sean "Elijah Blake" Fento, Rihanna, Alexander Izquierdo and Steve Wyreman. No ID had previously co-written and produced "We All Want Love", a track for Rihanna's sixth studio album Talk That Talk (2011). Donnie Scantz recorded "No Love Allowed" at Record One Studios in Los Angeles; Anna Ugarte served as the assistant recording engineer, while additional engineering was done by Rob Kinelski. Rihanna's vocals were recorded by Kuk Harrell and Marcos Tovar at the Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles; Harrel also did the vocal production of the song. Blake Mares, Paul Norris, Liam Nolan served as assistant vocal engineers. Tovar did the additional recording of the track at the Metropolis Studios in London. It was mixed at the Larabee Studios in Los Angeles by Manny Marroquin. The guitar and bass were played by Steve Wyreman, while James Poyser did the keys.
Composition and lyrical interpretation
"No Love Allowed" is a electro-ragga and reggae song with a length of four minutes and nine seconds. It has an instrumentation consisted of bubbly, dubbed-out groove, Caribbean and dubstep beat, and loping drumless rhythm. According to Stacy-Ann Ellis of the Vibe magazine, "No Love Allowed" is a "token Irie jam". MTV Buzzworthy's Brad Stern wrote that the song brings the singer in Bob Marley musical territory. Simon Catling of Contactmusic stated that it "sounds almost 'fun' in its reggae, off-beat and kaleidoscopic sounds". Smokey D. Fontaine of The Urban Daily labeled "No Love Allowed" as a "dancehall-tinged gem".
Lyrically, it speaks about a love stronger than a gunshot, and according to Stacy-Ann Ellis of Vibe magazine it is a "less violent version" of Rihanna's 2011 single "Man Down". Edmonton Journal's Sandra Sperounes wrote that on "No Love Allowed" Rihanna plays with the Barbadian accent on the same way she did on her 2005 debut single "Pon de Replay". According to a reviewer of Billboard, Rihanna's cry to the love police in the song, can be heard in the lines, "Broken heart was the case / go'on and put him away / He's the only one one one / I let get the best of me." BBC Music's Natalie Shaw wrote that some of the song's lyrics like "Like a bullet your love hit me to the core / I was flying ‘til you knocked me to the floor", are uncomfortably balanced between true love and awkward acrimony. According to Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly, the up stated lines "doesn’t sound like she has forgiven" Chris Brown for the 2009 domestic violence case.
The track was met with critical acclaim from music critics. Dan Martin of NME noted the sonic connection between "Man Down" and "No Love Allowed", however, according to him, the latter is "surrounded by an oppressively murky fug". Rihanna's Caribbean accent and references on the song were praised by editor Ben Rayner of Toronto Star; according to him it was "unfortunate" that on the album they were only "passing". In a review of Unapologetic, Robert Copsey of Digital Spy wrote that songs like "Jump", "Right Now" and "No Love Allowed" "prove why after eight years of career and seven studio albums released, Rihanna is still the biggest popstar on the planet." USA Today's Elysa Gardner recommended readers, the song together with "Nobody's Business" and "Right Now" as tracks that should be downloaded from the album. Similarly, Jeremy Thomas of 411 Mania stated that "No Love Allowed" together with "Numb", "Pour It Up" and "Stay" are standout tracks on the record. Sperounes of Edmonton Journal wrote that "No Love Allowed" and "Stay" were the only tracks on Unapologetic that "shimmer with promise".
Upon the release of Unapologetic, "No Love Allowed" charted in France, on two charts in the United Kingdom and in the United States due to strong digital downloads. It debuted on the French Singles Chart at number 101 for the week dated December 1, 2012, and remained on the chart for one week. On December 2, 2012, it debuted at number 131 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 24 on the UK R&B Chart. "No Love Allowed" did not enter the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number three on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
"No Love Allowed" was included as the tenth song on the set list of Rihanna's fourth 2013 worldwide tour, the Diamonds World Tour.
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Unapologetic, Def Jam Recordings, SRP Records.