Back in May, Rihanna staged a highly committed performance of her latest single on the season finale of Saturday Night Live, which could have made for a satisfying music video in its own right. Instead, RiRi the Ruler has just generously delivered an epic seven-minute video for “Bitch Better Have My Money” that should send anyone who thinks he or she might be the bitch in question running for cover.
When Taylor Swift got all Gone Girl on us last fall in her video for “Blank Space,” it was endearing. Swift even plays psychotic as adorable, God love her. When Rihanna channels her inner killer in her latest video, though, it is terrifying. Both videos are pitched in a heightened reality, but Rihanna’s skews more noir than cartoonish and is far more intense for it.
“Bitch Better Have My Money,” which Rihanna co-directed herself, under the tutelage of Megaforce, finds the Barbadian badass kidnapping a rich, bombshell housewife, for a hostage-taking that looks partly like a vacation. It’s the parts that are less holiday-like–for instance, when Rihanna dangles the women nude from the ceiling and bats her around like a cat with a yarn-ball–those are the moments that show the star’s capacity for shock. By the time we reach the bloody denouement, however, it’s clear that this woman was never the real target at all.
It’s a far cry from the uplifting “Four Five Seconds,” Rihanna’s other major video this year, but one befitting the menacing overtones of a song whose very title is a threat.