RIGHT NOW by RIHANNA
This bass-heavy dance anthem was co-produced by Norwegian duo Stargate with David Guetta, and it features the French king of Pop himself as a credited performer. Dutch newcomer Nicky Romero also has a credit as a co-producer. Romero attained a joint residency with Guetta at Ibiza for the summer of 2012 and collaborated with the French DJ on his Nothing But the Beat 2.0 Edition track, "Metropolis."
When the demo for this dance floor anthem first surfaced in the summer of 2012, it featured vocals by Ne-Yo. "We mixed the first version with Ne-Yo's vocals because he was part of the writing process," explained Romero to MTV News.
It was Guetta who suggested to Romero that they try penning something for Rihanna when the pair was working together at London's Metropolis Studios on some music. "We played a few songs that we made, a few hip-hop songs and a few dance songs and a lot of stuff," the Dutch DJ recalled to MTV News. "And she was like 'Yeah, I want to have this song combined with that world. And actually I want both worlds to glue together and make it one thing.' That's how 'Right Now' turned out to be on her album and I'm super, super proud to be part of it."
Finding a date when all parties were free to work on the track proved to be a scheduling nightmare. "Everyone's so busy and everyone's touring all the time, especially Rihanna, David Guetta and my schedule, it's insane," Romero told MTV News. "Basically we made the whole setup in London and we made it in a few hours."
SEX WITH ME by RIHANNA
Rihanna indulges an unnamed dude's fantasies on this Anti Deluxe Edition bonus track. She describes sex with her as "amazing" and "doesn't get any better" before continuing to turn him on with her dirty talk.
The song was written by OVO label singer-songwriter PartyNextDoor, the same guy that penned Rihanna's single "Work." Speaking to North Carolina's Power 98 FM station on how he came to write for the Bajan star, he said, "She let me into her house, literally. It was a working environment. She told me a few stories, I like interviewed her and I wrote a few songs for her."
KISS IT BETTER by RIHANNA
Rihanna is addressing a former lover on this R&B power ballad, telling him to stop being so stubborn and just take her back. She knows that like her, he's been hurt by their breakup, so she urges him to swallow his pride and "kiss it better." The song was first previewed in December 2014 on Rihanna's Instagram page.
Rihanna wrote the song with:
American songwriter and producer Jeff Bhasker who has won Grammy Awards for the songs "Run This Town" by Jay-Z, "All of the Lights" by Kanye West, and "We Are Young" by Fun. His other credits include co-writing and co-producing Mark Ronson's smash hit, "Uptown Funk."
British singer-songwriter and actress Teddy Sinclair (real name Natalia Cappuccini), who started her recording career under the name of Verbalicious and released her debut single "Don't Play Nice" in March 2005. The song charted at #11 in the UK singles chart but her then record label later filed for bankruptcy and little was heard from her for a few years. Cappuccini then adopted the stage name Natalia Kills from the interjection "you killed it!", after her record company advised her that her legal name was "indescribable." She released two albums under that name, before reverting to Teddy Sinclair in 2015.
American vocal producer Thaddis "Kuk" Harrell who was a member of a songwriting–production team comprised of himself, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Terius "The Dream" Nash. Harrell was the vocal producer and co-writer of Rihanna's Grammy-winning single "Umbrella" and earned another Grammy for the vocal production of Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)". His other credits include being a composer and engineer on Beyoncé's chart topping "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)."
Producer/songwriter Glass John, whose other credits include Chris Brown's 2013 single "Home." John caused a stir at the end of 2015 when he took to Twitter on an extended rant about the delay in completing Anti and how Rihanna's alleged boyfriend Travi$ Scott was sabotaging the LP.
John then went on to claim that "Kiss It Better" was supposed to be the album's lead single, tweeting, "ME AND MY WIFE (meaning Rihanna) WENT IN THE STUDIO W/ CLASSIC HIT MAKER @JEFFBHASKER TO CREATW A CLASSIC ANTHEM. And f--king Travis prevented it from being her first $ingle and launching her album last year."
Rihanna was scheduled to perform this song at the Grammy Awards in 2016, but she had to cancel after coming down with bronchitis.
The sultry black-and-white music video was directed by British fashion photographer Craig McDean. It features Rihanna moving around and rolling about in various stages of undress. The singer is literally the only thing in the frame throughout the clip.
McDean, who had previously shot Rihanna for magazines such as T and Vogue, told The Fader that he filmed the video in Los Angeles over a "very long night." McDean added that the inspiration for the clip was based on ideas which were inspired by dadaism and surrealism. "It all comes from you as a person, your inner inspiration and ideas you've had inside for a lifetime," he said.
McDean also spoke about the prominent use of dice that he and creative partner Masha Vayukova incorporated into the video: "Me and Masha watch the same kind of films, we look at a lot of books and art and it all merges together on the set, which is a great playground for visual experiments," he said. "Sometimes it's all about combining things that might not make any sense, [like] subconsciousness and dreams. Dice is such a graphic and surrealistic object so it came into play."
Rihanna recorded the song at Jungle City Studios, New York City and enlisted Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt to play guitar on the track.
BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY by RIHANNA
Penned by Rihanna with Jamille Pierre, Badriia Bourelly, and Travis Scott, the Bajan singer premiered this expletive-laden trap anthem at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 29, 2015. Actress Taraji P. Henson introduced Rihanna as a boss, and she more than lived up to the billing with her fierce, bleeped performance of the cash-obsessed track.
Also stylized as "BBHMM", the grimy track finds Rihanna demanding that she gets paid what she's owed, and quickly. It has a similar theme to Ri-Ri's 2012 strippers and dollar bills-themed anthem, "Pour It Up."
Roc Nation producer Deputy helmed the tune, with help from Kanye West. Travis Scott and Canadian teenager Wonda Gurl both provided additional production for the song.
The title phrase dates back to Keenen Ivory Wayans' 1988 blaxploitation film spoof I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Rappers who have used the misogynistic lyric include:
West Coast rhymer AMG on his 1991 cut of the same name, (actually a diss song aimed at rival DJ Quik).
Old Dirty Bastard during his 1999 single "Got Your Money"
Drake on his Nothing Was The Same track "Worst Behavior" (Bitch you better have my money when I come for the s--t like O.D.B.")
How's this for an irony: It could be that Rihanna owes someone else some cash because of this song! Fans of Houston singer/songwriter Just Brittany have pointed out the similarities of her 2014 track "Betta Have My Money" and the Bajan superstar's single. Brittany herself took to Twitter to claim that Rihanna had "jacked" her song. She later deleted the tweet.
Badriia "Bibi" Bourelly, a musician from Berlin, Germany, originally penned the song in a Los Angeles studio with Deputy. She recalled to Noisey: "We were just vibing with Deputy in one of the local studios I record out of. It was back when I was into writing to beats, which I don't do anymore. He played me it, I went in and started saying something like 'BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY!,' because I was feeling ratchet that day."
"We got that s--t done in three hours, then Dep went home and worked on it some more," Bourelly added. "It came out the way it did, and people seemed to like it."
The seven-minute NFSW cinematic video was co-directed by Rihanna and Megaforce, a quartet of French filmmakers who've previously masterminded videos for everyone from Kid Cudi to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It originated from an idea that the Bajan star came up with in 2014.
The explicit and violent clip follows Rihanna as she kidnaps and tortures a wealthy socialite, played by Canadian actress and model Rachel Roberts. to get back what she's owed. At the end of the visual it is revealed that the woman is actually the mistress of Rihanna's cheating accountant boyfriend, who is played by Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen.
Rihanna described the revenge fantasy story line to Vogue as, "Just a way to describe a situation. It's a way to be in charge, to let people know that you're all about your business."
Julia Roberts' actor brother Eric Roberts makes a cameo appearance. The Runaway Train star has featured in a number of music clips, including the ones for The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" and "Miss Atomic Bomb," Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and "It's Like That," plus Akon's "Smack That."
The torture scenes as well as the shots of Rihanna covered in blood and cavorting naked proved divisive among fans online. Asked by NME if he anticipated the controversy, Leo Berne of Megaforce replied: "With the other videos that we've done, some of them could have been controversial, but it's never been our aim to do that. It's just the tone of the video [this time]. The song is about kidnapping, and we wanted to stay true to the tone of the song. It was never our intention to be controversial."
Asked if he has a favorite moment on the video, Berne replied: "I think it's the very last shot when her face is all covered in blood. I really like that shot because it's quite iconic. It was the very last shot of a very long day when we started at 5 p.m. and finished at 11 a.m. the following day."
Rachel Roberts is locked in a trunk and hung upside down, but it was being put under water that was the biggest challenge for the actress. "I can tell you the most challenging was the underwater scene where I was holding my breath while Rihanna held me under," she told MTV News. "I thought, you know, I'm pretty good in water, but there's still a sense of nervousness just because it's water."
One of the stars of the video, Seattle resident Sanam, who plays one of Rihanna's friends, had no previous acting experience. According to an interview with Vice, Rihanna randomly found a selfie Sanam posted on Instagram and direct messaged her about the project. "When we were down there, the first day I met her, I was like, 'How did you find me?'" Sanam told Vice. "She was like, 'I saw you on my Explore page.' She saw that picture of me where I was wearing my nath and my tika. She was like, 'I just thought you were so cool, and I was like, I don't know if I should message her or not. I don't know if she's going to be down.' I'm just sitting there, like, 'Are you crazy? How could you be nervous to message me?'"
S&M by RIHANNA
This bluntly-titled cut is the opening track from Barbadian recording artist Rihanna's fifth studio album, Loud. The Stargate-produced and Ester Dean-penned song finds the singer proclaiming her vices: "I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it/Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it/Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me."
Rihanna told Spin magazine that people shouldn't take the raunchy lyrics too literally. "I don't think of it in a sexual way, I'm thinking metaphorically," she said. "It's more of a thing to say that people can talk… people are going to talk about you, you can't stop that. You just have to be that strong person and know who you are so that stuff just bounces off. And I thought it was super bad ass."
Rihanna told Q magazine the refrain "Sex in the air/I love the smell of it" is a raised middle finger to the media monks who say she is too raunchy. "You think I give a f--k what you think about me dressing sexy?" she exclaimed. "I love it. Come on, I love you for hating me."
The song's racy music video was shot in Los Angeles during the weekend of January 15, 2011 with director Melina Matsoukas, who had previously directed the promos for "Hard", "Rude Boy" and "Rockstar 101". It's concept is about the media's fascination with the Bajan pop star and features a cameo from blogger Perez Hilton who is seen paraded by Rihanna on a dog leash. Matsoukas told Billboard magazine the clip is inspired by the singer's "sadomasochist relationship with the press... it isn't just about a bunch of whips and chains."
On its release, the video was immediately banned in eleven countries, mainly in South Asia, due to its overt sexual content and BBC 1 Radio refused to play the track before 7 p.m. The clip was also labeled "inappropriate" for viewers under the age of 18 on YouTube, and a restriction put in place. Rihanna responded to the news via her Twitter account, posting "They watched Umbrella... I was full nude."
An edited version was released in the UK for daytime radio titled "Come On."
The controversial video became the target of a lawsuit from prominent photographer David LaChapelle after a number of media and bloggers noted the similarities between the clip and LaChapelle's work. Even Perez Hilton who appears in the clip tweeted: "The next time you make a David LaChapelle music video you should probably hire David LaChapelle."
The celebrity snapper accused Rihanna of ripping off images from his popular photographs, which have appeared in various publications. He claimed that the video copied the "composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting" of his work.
In an interview with Vogue magazine, Rihanna insisted the controversial hit is only superficially about sex. "The song can be taken very literally, but it's actually a very metaphorical song. It's about the love-hate relationship with the media and how sometimes the pain is pleasurable," she explained. "We feed off it - or I do. And it was a very personal message that I was trying to get across."
The song was Rihanna's tenth Hot 100 chart-topper. The Bajun singer was 23-years-old when it reached pole position, making her the youngest artist to rack up ten #1 hits. Mariah Carey held the previous record when she was 25.
The song's ascent to the summit was fueled by a "Rih-mix" featuring Britney Spears. The Rihanna/Spears collaboration was only the fourth #1 to feature two or more solo women. Can you work out the three previous chart-toppers to do so? They were:
1979 Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)."
1998 Brandy & Monica "The Boy Is Mine."
2001 Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink "Lady Marmalade."
Ester Dean told Billboard magazine how the song came about: "I wrote it, Father forgive me, on a Sunday. The track was already there," she recalled. "The first thing that came to me was 'Come on, come on.' I'm thinking, 'I don't know what in the hell this is about to be.' And I remembered I'd seen something that said, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones.' Then came 'But chains and whips excite me.' And I'm like, 'Oh, my God, I got to write that.' I'm in the studio with the engineer and just kept looking at him, asking, 'Is that OK?' And he says, 'I like it.' When people have a great track that speaks to me, it feels like it already has a story in it."