Is Rihanna taking a page out of Kanye West's makeunder book? The music video for "FourFiveSeconds," RiRi's new song with West and Paul McCartney, dropped today and it has us contemplating whether the singer is turning over a new leaf.
Kanye West has spent the past year-plus making sure the whole world knows that he is a Serious Person now. He is an Artist who is very concerned about Art. This new persona has, in our opinion, done a lot for Kanye, but now it might be rubbing off on Rihanna.
Hidden in this morning's videos are a few clues as to what just might be Rihanna's newfound sophistication. She hasn't released a new album since 2012's "Unapologetic," so now would be the perfect time for a changeup.
For starters, let's look at the obvious: Collaborators. RiRi's past jams have included names like Shakira, Eminem, Drake, and Wale. This time around, she reunites with Kanye West (but remember, it's the new Serious Artist Kanye West) and Paul McCartney. If anyone gives street cred for musical maturity, it's Paul McCartney. He's not going to get caught on a club beat.
"FourFiveSeconds" is also a departure for RiRi in that the video is directed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the dutch fashion photog duo. They normally shoot projects like the Cara Delevingne for W Magazine cover, and let's be honest, old RiRi wasn't exactly known for her minimalist aesthetic or hipster-esque taste.
Next up? The fashion. Ever since Kanye became a Grown-Up, he's stuck to a certain uniform. Black-on-black, beige-on-beige, army-green-on-army-green, you get it. You've probably noticed the same trend with Kim Kardashian as well. So, when Rihanna popped on the computer screen in head-to-toe acid washed denim, and an (almost) completely bare face, we got to wondering. Never mind the fact that 'Ye and Ri are wearing the exact same boots. Lest we forget, Club Beats Rihanna was partial to slightly more scant ensembles. The girl did not shy away from the body-con. (And who can blame her, really?)
Of course, we shan't ignore perhaps the biggest clues a music video can offer: Lyrics. We'll start with a few snippets from the Rihanna songs we know and love. "I know you wanna bite this/It's so enticin'/Nothin' else like this/I'mma make you my b---h." "Strip clubs and dollar bills/I still got my money/Patron shots can I get a refill?/I still got my money."
"FourFiveSeconds" certainly isn't about book clubs and prayer circles, but it's definitely less, shall we say, literal. Rihanna still wants to party, but it's more sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired and less all-tequila-all-the-time. She's complicated and multi-facted now!
So, after we've exhausted all the evidence, what's the conclusion? There's no denying that Rihanna has been a wee bit Kanye-fied. But, we're not convinced that it's a full-on grown-up makeover. Her artistic tastes have matured, but we're not ready to bid adieu to RiRi's party side, and we're willing to bet she isn't either. We'll have to wait for the full album release to get a final answer. It's all in your hands, Ri.