When Rihanna revealed that her eighth studio album would flaunt the cooler, calmer and artistic side to her personality fans had hoped the singer would deliver an LP that would be hailed as her very own ‘Velvet Rope’ or ‘Ray of Light.’
However today saw the star prove that versatility is the name of her game with the new jam ‘Bitch Better Have My Money‘, a far cry from the sound she promised to deliver but far more exciting than ‘Four Five Seconds’, a single more in line with her new older & wiser sound.
Alas, the bop’s large and in charge vibe hasn’t stopped the star from being called a copycat today, accused of drawing inspiration from her ‘Flawless‘ competitor Beyonce.
By who you ask?
A portion of Billboard’s ‘Rihanna Is a Trap Queen In Bitch Better Have My Money‘ reads:
Earlier this year, Rih ended her Top 40 abdication with “FourFiveSeconds,” a stripped-down collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney; while her vulnerable vocal take was more than welcome on radio and that melody was enough to make the song a smash, the song lacked movement, and movement is an effect one can reasonably expect from a Rihanna single. With respect to “FourFiveSeconds,” the world craved the feeling of throbbing euphoria that Rihanna has delivered consistently for years; we, as a society, yearned for another “We Found Love,” “Umbrella,” “Only Girl (In The World)” or “Rude Boy.”
Is “Bitch Better Have My Money” a rightful successor to those songs? Not quite — the uptempo new single, presumably previewing Rihanna’s eighth studio album, is more akin to a brash trap track like “Pour It Up,” with Rih sneering at her subjects while exerting her personal opulence over a beat designed for grinding. “Bitch Better Have My Money” is certainly angrier than Rihanna’s usual oeuvre, with the singer punctuating her declarations of “Every time I drop by, I’m the only thing y’all playing” and “Don’t act like you forgot, I call the shots” with machine-gun ad-libs. One can imagine Rihanna listening to Beyonce’s “Flawless” on repeat and finding inspiration for this single in Queen Bey’s exuberant cockiness; as much as Rih wants her money, she wants everyone else to bow down, too.
With comparisons to the ‘Be With You‘ singer working against her in the past there’s no doubt in my mind that some Rihanna fans may take Billboard‘s remark the wrong way.
For, who wants to have a single they’re touting as an original belaboured with talk of “inspiration” from the star’s biggest rival.
However, isn’t it hard to see that the ‘Flawless’ comparison is actually a compliment, a reminder that both ladies- who despite being at different points in their journeys- continue to find inspiration and healthy competition in the other.
It’s pretty remarkable when one thinks of it in this way and not in the “who copied who” manner that undermines just how important and influential both ladies are to each other and an industry big enough for the both of them.