Rihanna can always be counted on to deliver killer hooks and sexy looks in the eye-popping videos that accompany her chart-owning singles. The just-premiered clip for “Rockstar 101,” off her smash ’09 album, Rated R, is no exception. The visual casts Rihanna as the frontwoman for a rock band whose members include Blink-182 drummer (and friend-of-everyone) Travis Barker.
Perhaps the most striking image comes during the song’s breakdown, when Rihanna appears dressed as none other than iconic guitarist Slash. And it’s a fitting homage, as the former Guns N’ Roses axman provided the track’s signature riffage. But the original concept didn’t have Rihanna putting on a gender-bending performance.
“I was supposed to actually be in that video,” Slash told MTV News. “I played on the song, and they called me up to ask me to play in the video, but my record was just coming out, and I was sort of worn thin,” he explained. “She was really sweet. She sent me this pleading text to come do the video, but I couldn’t make it work. I told her that me not being in the video wasn’t going to make or break it.”
So what does Slash think of Rihanna’s pantomime-like depiction of him in the clip?
“The video is way better with her being me than with me being me,” he said. “All things considered, it brings an element of sexuality to it that I probably wouldn’t have been capable of. I think it’s hot, and I sent her a text this morning telling her it was definitely hotter with her doing it than with me doing it. Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”
Slash admitted that he hadn’t heard back from her yet, but their easy relationship is one of mutual admiration: Rihanna is a huge fan of Guns N’ Roses, the singer told him, and Slash was way into “Umbrella.” “I don’t come from that side of the fence, but I particularly liked [Good Girl Gone Bad],” he said.
Although he couldn’t make the clip’s shoot, Slash told us he feels pretty good about the outcome.
“I’m way more flattered that she played me in the video than her asking me to be in it,” he said. “All things considered, she’s pretty cool.”
Did you think Rihanna’s “Rockstar” take on Slash was spot-on? Or does she need to work on it? Let us know in the comments!