[artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist] has always repped her island roots, so it was only fitting that the red-haired diva took to Jamaica to film the new video for her reggae-inspired single “Man Down.” But, as fans may have guessed from the song title, things take a turn for the worse in the clip when the pop star guns down a man after a late-night struggle.
“Man Down” begins on a dramatic note when Rihanna shoots a man who’s making his way through a busy train station. After committing her crime, the songstress flees the scene. But in order to give viewers some backstory, the video travels back in time to the previous day, when the singer is seen riding her bike and socializing on the streets of Jamaica, as well as embracing the island’s hotspots. Director Anthony Mandler also cuts back and forth to scenes of the star singing the tune alone inside a bedroom at dusk.
At a nightclub, Rihanna begins to dance alongside another clubgoer. But it’s not until after she leaves the venue that fans understand the motive behind her crime. After she leaves the club, the singer’s dance-floor partner soon follows the songstress outside and begins to get violent. “Man Down” cuts straight to the scene of a disheveled Rih crying in the street, after what appears to have been a rape. The video concludes with the singer grabbing a gun hidden in a dresser drawer.
Before the video’s premiere, the Barbadian beauty released a behind-the-scenes teaser. “I’ve always wanted to do a video here. ‘Man Down’ is just a song that you can’t do anywhere else. We need to be authentic,” she said, adding, “You can’t get any realer than Jamaica.”
The Rihanna Navy shouldn’t be too shocked at the clip’s intense story line as they’ve received a number of hints from both the 23-year-old pop star and video director in recent weeks. Just yesterday, the singer took to Twitter to unveil a bit about the visual’s theme, tweeting, “Its #Gritty #GULLY #Emotional #JAMRock Very strong underlying message 4 girls like me! #listentoyomama.”
MTV News spoke with Mandler a few weeks ago about the clip, and he revealed that Rihanna let him take the visual to the extreme. “We shot the video last month in Jamaica and it’s my favorite song she’s ever recorded, so I was really excited to get involved,” he said. “And it’s just one of those songs that demands a strong narrative and visual, and let’s just say, she let me go all the way. So I think you can expect something that’s dramatic and shocking and intense and emotional and uplifting and enlightening.”
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