The Barbados-born singer's earlier songs, like "S.O.S." and "Dem Haters," were tinged with island appeal. But since her breakout hit "Umbrella," Rih Rih has leaned toward pop fare. Now with the release of "Rude Boy," she's returning to a familiar sound and created an accompanying visual she describes as one of her best.
"It's really colorful; it's a pop art video," Rihanna told MTV Korea. "We shot it all on green screen. Everything was done in post-production. It's really colorful, really energetic. It was really inspired by my Caribbean roots. I love reggae music. ['Rude Boy'] is a Jamaican term, so our costumes are 'dancehall-queen-like. It's a fun video. Probably the most fun video we've done so far."
The video recently premiered online and immediately drew comparisons to M.I.A.'s "Boyz" clip and Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance." With its mix of dashing color and feisty attitude, the homage is apparent.
The "Rude Boy" video and track also may be a preview of what Rihanna's next album might sound like. She's won critical praise for Rated R, the dark and deeply personal collection inspired by the aftermath of her assault by Chris Brown and subsequent breakup.
For her next project, however, Rihanna said she hopes to keep the production tempo of her latest offering but mix it with more upbeat songwriting.
"Rated R — I love the sound of it, in terms of the bass," Rihanna explained. "I really like the bottom, the grime of it. But if I were to combine that with more energetic, uptempo pop records, then I think that will be a happy marriage. And that's where we'll probably go next."