Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!
Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!
Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.
Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.
Today’s roundtable topic asks…
Was Rihanna’s iHeartRadio Music Awards Performance Of ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ A “Hit” or “Miss”?
Rihanna did that.
And, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t pain me to say it.
I don’t believe in applauding medicorisy, hence why we never gloss over the various shades of “basic” she’s showcased over the years.
Yet, it’s equally imperative to give credit where it’s due and last night she earned it in abundance.
The song, much like her voice, still leaves much to be desired, but from a performance perspective, she delivered all I’ve ever wanted from her on a consistent basis. She put on a spectacle.
Yes, the helicopter prop was a cool concept, yet it was merely one awesome layer of an amazingly executed performance. Indeed, from the moody mise-en-scène to the commitment Rih showed to the choreography, to the “bad gyal” swag, it was just all sorts of on-point.
For the first time, it feels as though the Pop Pinocchio is cutting the strings and finally becoming what its manufacturer long hoped it would be – an authentic, compelling, and captivating performer.
Of course, this is one showing of what is sure to be many more attached to this 8th album cycle. As such anything can happen. However, in the here and now, Ms. Fenty has hit a home-run.
Rihanna will have little to no trouble selling tickets for her forthcoming world tour if last night’s performance was anything to go by.
Three words. She.Nailed.It.
Fully aware of her capabilities as an artist, the Pop purveyor turned to a ‘Gotham’ inspired set, military style (yet easily replicable) choreography, fashion and sass to deliver an A* performance.
Call me crazy, but I think Rihanna’s found her very own ‘Control’ in ‘Bitch’, released a time when- like Janet- the star makes the right moves towards becoming the captain of her own career’s ship.
So, it was only right that she dished up a performance just as powerful as the cut’s message…and that she did.
If last night’s show taught us anything it’s that a little creativity and effort can go a long way for an act like Rihanna, often unable to compete with the likes of Beyonce and Ciara on a dance front.
Fortunately, she no longer has to, especially if she continues to soak her sets in the fashion, live arrangements and replicable choreography that made last night’s showing what it was.
It seems, even in the face of intense competition, Rih’s reign continues to show no signs of letting up.
I, for one, am very mixed on how I feel about Rihanna’s performance. I can’t lie, as a lover of the 90’s, I got my life from the visual – namely her Lil’ Kim/Puff Daddy-esque wardrobe, dancers, and staging. But, there’s something about that performance that seemed like organized chaos. Most importantly, it did NOT sell me on the song nor make me want to listen to it again.
All in all, I was disappointed because her performance game has stepped up significantly in the last year, but something about last night’s showing reeked of “Rihanna 2009” – talked vocals, slightly absent look, and – as stated before – organized chaos. The only thing missing was her signature p-patting.
Being rather unfazed by ‘Money’, I wasn’t expecting anything special, especially since Rihanna is not a “dancer”. I can gladly say that I was pleasantly surprised by her performance yesterday.
First things first: that mid-90s flavoured entrance alone was a highlight for what was a great showing by the Queen of iTunes. The new instrumentation made it sound like a whole other track, the structure was clearer, the hooks more apparent. Though not a Ciara, it’s always refreshing to see Rih do a little bit of choreography and not some random walking & whining. Her vocals were good too.
Having said that, I’m still not sold on the song and the reason why it’s been chosen as a single. When you think about it, Ms. Fenty’s “grittier” material isn’t the one which has gotten the most charts love over the years, and seeing as this one is her least radio friendly song EVER, it doesn’t add up, especially for her “comeback” album… hey, it still got to #1 on iTunes, I guess.
Good job Robyn, now bring on ‘American Oxygen’!
Do you agree with our points? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and Rihanna’s performance below!