Timothy Gabriele: One thing I thoroughly enjoy about our current era is the bafflement of old industry types scrambling to figure out why the SoundCloud singles don’t wind up on the album, consistently throwing all their weight behind the notion that only the LP legitimizes the single, unable to face the new reality of streaming music. It should shock no one that “Bitch Better Have My Money”, the best thing Rihanna dropped in 2015, didn’t make its way to Anti. It’s practically the definition of a one-off. My wife and I are convinced it was written on a total misogynistic tip (Kanye’s a co-writer on the track, as is Travis Scott), but Rihanna just claimed it as her own. It’s like Rihanna’s own version of Tori Amos’ Strange Little Girls. The video would seem to continue the simple gender swap, exchanging horror film tropes of the male serial killer stalking unwitting females, but much of the video is spent tormenting and humiliating Mads Mikkelsen’s wife. It’s unclear if there is a feminist core to this, but unlike “American Oxygen”, which played safe by making its politics vague and opaque, “Bitch Better Have My Money” is murky and imperfect, nasty and aggressive, and a banger to boot. [8/10]
Marshall Gu: It’s essentially one long chorus, which means it’s a lazy song from a songwriting perspective, but the producers (Deputy, Travis Scott, Kanye West and WondaGurl) create such an exhilarating beat while every line out of Rihanna’s mouth is a powerful hook. I’d currently would rather hear no other song at a club than this one. [7/10]
Dustin Ragucos: Rihanna does so well to take the spotlight of “Where’s my money?!” that Family Guy stole for a good minute. Sadly, the chorus is what listeners and mixers attend to when causing up their storms. That should be enough, right? Doubling on that sadness, “Bitch Better Have My Money” isn’t on Anti. The song would’ve added more sonic variety to the classic sounds, the pop hitters, and the sad melodies. Or it might have crushed the mood. Maybe. Oh, and that Mads Mikkelsen appearance had my heart… [6/10]
Jedd Beaudoin: I was asked to confirm my age before watching this video. Is that because it’s so adult or so predictably childish? [4/10]
Steve Horowitz: Wow! I thought gangsta rap died in the ‘90s. This is the same stuff with better production values and better bodies. There’s the thrill of just saying the title over and over again, but that wears thin. The video does a better job in a few minutes of telling a crime narrative than CSI or Special Victims Unit—or its cable television equivalent. If the sex doesn’t get you, the violence will. [6/10]
John Garratt: I was blocked from listening to the song on Youtube (hey, someone out there has to prevent me from hearing or reading the word “bitch”), so I moseyed on over to Vevo’s site. Now I see that YouTube was looking out for the parts of my constitution that shrivel up from nipple exposure. But if sex sells, then naked kidnappings, torture, and burning cars can’t be too far behind. You would think that after all that Rihanna went through, she would be above using a vulgar voicemail threat to stir up a sensational single and video. Whatever lines her pockets, I suppose. I myself prefer “Mitch Better Have My Bunny”. [3/10]
Paul Duffus: Given the multiple warnings at the outset about the awesome bad language, sex, and violence, this is actually a little disappointing. There’s the odd nipple and a light dusting of dismemberment, but nothing really shocking or terrible, i.e., cool. I thought there might at least be a ‘Randolph and Mortimer’ type joke at the end where it turned out that the bitch of the title actually only owed, say, $3, and Rihanna’s fury would be shown to be out of all proportion to the debt. Unfortunately this lacks even that derivative basement level wit. The chorus hook is huge, the rest of the track forgettable. The video makes no sense whatsoever. [4/10]
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