On Rihanna’s quest to make more timeless music, the age-old desire one feels to collect debt has risen from her creative psyche (or rather, someone else’s). Establishing an ominous tone from the outset, the video opens on a pair of legs outstretched on what looks like an outdoor chair against a Los Angeles backdrop. Following, a waspy blonde woman readies herself in her luxe house as the video crosscuts to Rihanna (who co-directed with Megaforce) driving up to the property with a stoically determined expression on her face and a giant trunk she drags with her up to the door.
All the while, things remain silent as the blonde woman kisses her husband goodbye and gets into the elevator with her prototypically bougie dog. Although it’s unclear why the woman isn’t shocked by Rihanna’s awaiting presence in the elevator, it doesn’t matter–it’s too late for this woman anyway. When the elevator opens again, the woman has disappeared into the trunk and the dog exits with Rihanna.
From there, it’s a veritable B movie aesthetic of torture as the rich woman swings upside down from the rafters of a warehouse naked, gets taken for a ride of unconsciousness, force-fed alcohol and generally treated like a blow-up doll. The whole time, of course, we’re to think it’s this woman who owes Rihanna the money–which would have been somewhat preferable as girl on girl payment collection is so rare.
But alas, it turns out to be the woman’s husband (played by Mads Mikkelsen), who fucked Rihanna over financially. As her accountant, the shyster apparently used all of Rihanna’s money for his drunken and sexual escapades. Thus, after failing to blackmail him with the threat of bodily harm to his wife, Rihanna goes straight to the source with her cutely named collection of knives.
The video comes full circle when we return to the opening scene, now apprehending that that ain’t no outdoor chair, but the trunk Rihanna had no trouble dragging throughout the narrative. Bloodied and contented, she lies in it with a pile of money covering her nude body. It’s all very Scrooge McDuck. So whether it’s the Tarantino/70s exploitation vibe you like or the henchwomen she brings along for the ride (self-proclaimed “techno princess” Sita Abellan included), there’s something for everyone in “Bitch Better Have My Money.” And even if you don’t like it, you’re talking about it. In fact, it seems people haven’t been buzzing this much about a video since “Telephone” (unless you count “Bad Blood,” which people were only interested in for the cameos, not the narrative).