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Entertainment

Rihanna's Music Video Evolution, From Island Girl To International Superstar

The Bad Gal’s career features colorful eras and soul-stirring bangers.

Few modern pop artists have evolved like Rihanna. In her past 14 years in the international spotlight, she’s gone from dance floor bop-maker to artistic icon. Read on for 14 music videos that have defined the Bad Gal’s impactful career.

“Pon de Replay” (2005)

Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s introduction to the world was a harbinger of things to come: highly danceable, tropical-hued beats, a catchy chorus, and Rih’s appealing dance moves are all on display.

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“SOS” (2006)

With “SOS” Rihanna established herself as a certified dance floor hitmaker and (body glitter queen).

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“Unfaithful” (2006)

And with “Unfaithful,” she introduced us to another talent of hers — telling stories from fresh perspectives; in this case, a remorseful woman cheating on her man.

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“Umbrella” (2007)

The smash hit that made Rihanna a household name, the Jay-Z featuring “Umbrella” video also showed Rih adding an edge to her island girl style.

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“What’s My Name (feat. Drake)” (2010)

The first of many Rihanna-Drake collaborations, “What’s My Name” helped launched Rih’s redhead era.

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“Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem (2010)

Roughly a year following her breakup from Chris Brown, Rihanna’s feature in this explosive Megan Fox-starring video felt like an artistic and personal statement in one.

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“S&M” (2011)

Proof Rihanna was on the camp wave long before the fashion world caught on.

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“We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)” (2011)

The heart-swelling, narrative “We Found Love” video proves there’s no dance track Rih can’t perfect, and no hair trend she can’t start (and dominate).

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“Stay (feat. Mykki Ekko)” (2013)

“Stay” showed us a rawer, more vulnerable side to Rih, with its stripped-down (literally) visuals and soaring, heartfelt vocals.

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“Pour It Up” (2013)

In the running for the sexiest strip club anthem ever, “Pour It Up” features dancers twerking in the sky and Rihanna perched on a throne in her greatest role yet.

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“B*tch Better Have My Money” (2015)

One of the most quotable songs of the decade came with a highly memorable video to match, in which Rih and her sexy team of misfits kidnap for ransom her embezzling accountant’s wife.

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“Work (feat. Drake)” (2016)

However you feel about Rihanna and Drake’s on-again, off-again relationship, the song’s pair of sultry videos and Rihanna’s Patois lyrics were an instant cultural reset.

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“Needed Me” (2016)

In which Rihanna both freed the nipple and reminded us all why she’s the ultimate Bad Gal.

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Wild Thoughts (with Bryson Tiller and DJ Khaled)” (2017)

Rihanna saved us from a drought year by releasing this classic Song of the Summer, and gave us the iconic line: “Know you wanna see me nakey, nakey, naked.”

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