Rihanna in "Work"
YouTube screenshot    

A few weeks after the clusterf—k that was the Anti release (shoutout to the newly unemployed Tidal team member who tripped and hit the big red button hours before he or she was supposed to), Rih Rih decided to bless us with some choice visuals for her first single, “Work,” and she did not disappoint in delivering the dancehall-inspired bashment scene that I had fantasized about upon my first listen.

(Can we briefly discuss Anti as a project? I was pleasantly surprised by the effort. Totally not the direction I expected Robyn Fenty to take, but her decision to trend away from being just a singles artist in favor of putting together a cohesive project was a risk that I think worked in her favor. Rih got tired of us dragging her for her limited singing range, got herself a vocal coach and gave us some ballads! It was altogether a lovely experience. Except for “Higher.” “Higher” is an act of violence that I like to pretend never happened.)

Imagine my glee when I discovered that our Bajan princess of IDGAF blessed us with, not one, but two videos, back-to-back! This was far and away the highlight of my day, and that’s including finding some forgotten chocolate-chip cookie dough in my freezer.

A few takeaways from the approximately 34,293,428,429,384 times I’ve played it:

1. All I need in this life of sin … is for a man to look at me with the same fervor as Rihanna looks at herself in the mirror. Lord knows, if I looked like Rihanna, I’d be giving sex face to myself all the live-long day.


2. The group dance cutaways interspersed throughout the first video remind me of when my friends and I would create “crews” in high school that would do routines to dancehall jams in the club. We called ourselves the Divas, and you couldn’t tell us that our “Nuh Linga” wasn’t unf—kwitable. RIP, Club Exit.

3. Shoutout to ol’ girl working the chicken at 2:14. Post-bashment jerk is a necessity when you spent the bulk of your evening sweating out your “leave out” and mesh top.

4. Drake is showing up to the party in a sweat suit? That’s more out of place than Jaheim’s getup at Whitney Houston’s funeral. As a matter of fact, Drake might as well have shown up to the party in a suit; it’s about as practical for the festivities as a thick-cotton full-body getup is for a packed, sweaty dance floor.


5. Speaking of our Canadian friend … wow. Aubrey cannot dance worth a lick. If it’s not the same ole two-step, the man couldn’t find the beat if he had Google Maps’ step-by-step directions.

6. Two big thumbs up to the girl at 2:04 doing what I am pretty sure is the fastest recorded puppy tail in life. My puppy tail is currently more of a slow, dramatic wag, but still I rise.

7. Also, props to the lovely lady in leopard print doing splits across the dance floor. Last time I did a singular split was in Negril in lower Manhattan a little over a year ago. My inner thighs ached for a solid three days after. Getting old can be terrible.


8. Rihanna has me reconsidering my five-year-plus ban on middle parts. My sister in forehead real estate pulled off an effortless middle part, not once, but twice. Is the mesh top the key to this? I need answers!

9. What do you think the average straight male would give up to be Drake on the couch in the second video? No Xbox for a month? How about Sports Center? Wings? Crispy chicken wraps? I’d wager that most would be willing to go bacon-free for a full season.

Needless to say, Rihanna delivered better than the Papa John’s worker who refuses to come upstairs.* In the barren winter expanse that is New York City, this glimmer of color and proper dancehall-infused pop (all shade to Bieber’s current sound transformation; “tropical house-flavored” my ass) has me hotly anticipating throwing on my pum-pum shorts and crop top for the Brooklyn summer house party season.


* But seriously, the main reason I order delivery is that I’m too lazy to put on pants to grab food; making me put on pants to come downstairs defeats the whole purpose.

Shamira Ibrahim is a 20-something New Yorker who likes all things Dipset. You can join her as she waxes poetic about chicken, Cam’ron and gentrification (gotta have some balance) under the influence of varying amounts of brown liquor at Very Smart Brothas.