Rihanna enters The Hurt Locker for the new video for “Hard,” and inside that locker is nothing but risqué outfits and machine guns. For the third single off the singer’s Rated R, which premiered today on RihannaNow, Rihanna takes a militaristic approach, serving as a drill sergeant in a faraway army while walking through active mine fields in a spike-shouldered ensemble that would make Adam Lambert jealous. Later on, Rihanna rolls around in mud in a Princess Leia bikini all while her soldiers watch on. If Rihanna’s goal was to mix sex and violence at their extremes, it’s mission accomplished.
In short, the video makes Rihanna’s recent topless GQ cover shoot look like Better Homes and Gardens by comparison, as nipple tape and an artillery belt are the only things that prevent “Hard” from being even more NSFW. At one point, Rihanna dons a Mickey Mouse helmet and not much else while atop a pink tank, and in another scene, she seems to be mocking that photoshopped photo of Sarah Palin as she fires a semi-automatic weapon into the air with a big smile on her face. Young Jeezy also makes a (clothed) cameo for his “Hard” verse.
While it’s unclear if there’s a basic cable channel that has the guts to broadcast this, “Hard” does represent a huge improvement over the last two Rated R videos, “Wait Your Turn” and “Russian Roulette.” After almost a year in the unwanted spotlight where she was painted as a domestic abuse victim, in “Hard” Rihanna finally shows signs that she’s ready to fight back.
• Rihanna Returns to the Stage With Help from Jay-Z, Jeezy in London
• Rihanna Relives “Dangerous” Relationship in Bloody “Russian Roulette” Video
• Rihanna’s Black-and-White “Wait Your Turn” Video Premieres