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"Hard"
Single by Rihanna featuring Young Jeezy
from the album Rated R
Released (see release history)
Recorded October 2009
Studios Davout
(Paris, France)
Genre Hip hop, R&B, Rock
Length 4:11
Label Def Jam
Writer(s) Terius "The-Dream" Nash, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Robyn Fenty, Jay Jenkins
Producer The-Dream, Tricky Stewart
Rihanna singles chronology
"Russian Roulette"
(2009)
"Hard"
(2009)
"Redemption Song"
(2010)
Young Jeezy chronology
"Fed Up"
(2009)
"Hard"
(2009)
"(Ha Ha) Slow Down"
(2010)

"Hard" is a song performed by singer Rihanna. The song served as the second single off her fourth studio album Rated R, and was solicited to North America only.[1] It features American rapper Young Jeezy, who is credited solely as Jeezy on the song. It first impaced rhythmic and urban radio on November 10, 2009, and mainstream on November 23, 2009. It was written by Terius "The-Dream" Nash, Rihanna, and Young Jeezy, and produced by The-Dream and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart.

The song received positive reviews, complimenting the song's hip-hop vibe and Rihanna's appealing monotone vocals. The song peaked in the top ten of Canada and the United States. Although it was released to North America only, the song's digital success abroad helped it chart in several countries. The accompanying music video features Rihanna and Young Jeezy in military camps and in desert scenes. The music video received mixed reviews, critics noting the vulgarity of it and its portrayal of war.

Contents

Background

In an interview, producer Mikkel S. Eriksen had confirmed "Wait Your Turn" as the second single from the Rated R, however, it was later announced that "Hard" was chosen instead.[2][3] In an interview with MTV News, Rihanna said: "When I first heard the song, I was in Paris, Dream and Tricky, they flew out and played me the record. They played me a few [songs], but this one stuck out to me. It had such an arrogance to it, which is so far from who I am ... which is part of why I wanted to do it. It was fun. It was bragging. A lot of attitude. Young Jeezy was the perfect person for the topic of the song. Just the vibe of the song. I love, love, love his verse. He added so much more to the record".[4]

Critical reception

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Monica Herrerra of Billboard says that in the song, "Rihanna effectively assumes the hip-hop posture and even recruits the ultimate street cred-booster in rapper Young Jeezy, who provides the thrust needed to send a song with a somewhat inert chorus home."[5] Although Rihanna was not in her "typical comfort song", she said the "atypical is precisely what she has aimed for with her new material-and it works."[5] The Guardian commented that "Hard" "exploit[s] Rihanna's most appealing vocal style, a sulky, icy, monotone – uniquely among the pantheon of showboating R&B divas, Rihanna often sounds as if she's about to roll her eyes and tut. It undercuts the standard braggathon of Hard – "fan mail from 27 million," she offers, in a tone that suggests she's disappointed most of them didn't even bother to include a stamped addressed envelope."[6]

Chart performance

"Hard" debuted eighty on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 27, 2009.[7] The following week it jumped sixty-one positions to nineteen. Four weeks later, it climbed to eleven, then fell to eighteen, but recovered to enter the top ten, eventually peaking at number eight, becoming Rihanna's second consecutive top ten hit from Rated R. It also was her thirteenth top ten single and sixteenth top twenty hit this decade, re-tying her with Beyonce Knowles as the female artist with the most Top 10's on the Billboard Hot 100 this decade.[8]. The song peaked at fourteen on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, nine on the Pop Songs, and at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. "Hard" entered the Canadian Hot 100 at fifteen, and peaked at nine.[7]

Although it was only released in North America as a single, the song made international impact. It entered the Australian Singles Chart at eighty-six before peaking at fifty-one, and did not have much impact thereafter due to the release of "Rude Boy" as a single only a few weeks after this single had been on radio. On the New Zealand Singles Chart "Hard" debuted at thirty five. It also entered the Irish Singles Chart at forty-four on January 15, 2010, and climbed eleven places to thirty-three the following week to become Rihanna's fourteenth top forty solo single in Ireland.[9] "Hard" debuted at fifty-five on the UK Singles Chart and at seventeen on the UK R&B Chart on January 17, 2010. It rose to forty-two on the singles chart the following week and to fourteen on the R&B chart.[10][9]

Music video

Rihanna in a desert scene in the "Hard" video

The music video was filmed in early December 2009, directed by Melina, and first premiered on MTV on December 17.[11][12] Prior to the video, Rihanna stated in an interview with MTV News, "It's couture-military. Everything is surrounded by the whole idea of something military. We have tanks, we have troops, we've got helicopters, we've got explosions… Tight gear, lots of cute outfits, lots of bullets. Crazy."[12] The video features Rihanna in a military house and a desert and Young Jeezy on a desert dune. Some images in the video portray Rihanna wearing war paint and shoulder pads with spikes coming out of them. That scene also takes place in a desert, which recalls the classic clip for Tupac's "California Love."[12]

Peter Gaston of Spin Magazine said that the video is "Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" meets Christina Aguilera's "Dirrrty" [sic] phase." Gaston also reviewed that "Rihanna vamps in dimly lit outposts, dodges explosions in the desert, and, quite enticingly, takes a break from boot camp to smother herself with mud. Morale-boosting, indeed!"[13] Bill Lamb of About.com reviewed the video negatively, saying that it trivialized and glamorized war, calling it, "one of the most tasteless, offensive moves by a major pop artist in recent memory", pointing out the "...fail to understand the point of Rihanna humping the gun turret of a pink tank dressed in Mickey Mouse ears," and "the star of the show strutting around in panties and naked breasts with black electrical tape over nipples and elsewhere treating a tank as a sex toy."[14]

Live performances

"Hard" was performed live for the first time on November 8, 2009 at Jay-Z's concert at UCLA Pauley Pavilion.[15] The song was also performed at the Nokia concert promoting Rated R on November 16, 2009, and notably at the American Music Awards as a medley alongside "Wait Your Turn" on November 22, 2009.[16] The pair performed the song on Saturday Night Live on December 5, 2009, and on BET's 106 & Park on December 10, 2009.[17] She also performed the song on NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly 2010, and on The Ellen Degeneres Show on February 1, 2010.[18] She performed the song on February 4, 2009 at the Super Bowl Fan Jam on VH1 along with performers Timbaland and Justin Bieber.[19]

Remixes

Several official remixes were released for "Hard", including one featuring Lil' Kim.[20] American R&B singer Trey Songz has also released a freestyle over the beat.[21]

Charts

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Chart positions

Chart (2009/2010) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[22] 51
Belgian Tip Chart (Wallonia)[23] 12
Canadian Hot 100[7] 9
Czech Republic Singles Chart[24] 31
Irish Singles Chart[9] 33
Japan Hot 100[25] 82
New Zealand Singles Chart[9] 15
Slovakian Airplay Chart[26] 21
Swedish Singles Chart[27] 26
UK Singles Chart[9] 42
UK R&B Chart[10] 14
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 8
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs[28] 1
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[7] 14

Chart procession and succession

Preceded by
"Telephone" by Lady Gaga & Beyoncé
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs number-one single
March 6, 2010
Succeeded by
"The Power of Music" by Kristine W

Release history

Radio add dates

Country Date Format
United States November 10, 2009 Rhythmic and urban [29][30]
November 23, 2009 Top 40/Mainstream[31]

References

  1. ^ "Spotted: Rihanna's Makes A 'Rated R' Apperance On German TV". MTV. December 11, 2009. http://newsroom.mtv.com/2009/12/11/spotted-rihannas-makes-a-rated-r-apperance-on-german-tv/. Retrieved January 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ Minaya, Marcell (2009-10-24). "Rihanna's next single announced?". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/news/a183504/rihannas-next-single-announced.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  3. ^ "Spotted: Rihanna's Makes A 'Rated R' Apperance On German TV". 2009-12-11. http://newsroom.mtv.com/2009/12/11/spotted-rihannas-makes-a-rated-r-apperance-on-german-tv/. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  4. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2009-11-11). "Rihanna 'Loves, Loves, Loves' Young Jeezy's Verse On 'Hard' - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News". Mtv.com. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1625977/20091110/index.jhtml. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  5. ^ a b Herrera, Monica (2009-12-09). "Rihanna, "Hard"". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/#/new-releases/rihanna-hard-1004051206.story. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  6. ^ Petridis, Alexis (2010-11-19). "Rihanna: Rated R". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/nov/19/rihanna-cd-review. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Hard - Jeezy - Billboard.com". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/#/song/rihanna-featuring-jeezy/hard/14322972. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  8. ^ http://www.buzzjack.com/forums/International-Charts-Forum-f131.html
  9. ^ a b c d e "Hard at acharts.us". acharts.us. http://acharts.us/song/51902. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  10. ^ a b "UK R&B Singles". BBCaccessdate=2010-02-27. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/chart/rnbsingles/. 
  11. ^ "Rihanna Changes Pace with ‘Hard’ Video". Rap-Up.com. http://www.rap-up.com/2009/12/01/rihanna-changes-pace-with-hard-video/#more-32911. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  12. ^ a b c Anderson, Kyle (2009-12-14). "Rihanna's 'Hard' Video: Check Out A Preview!". MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1628197/20091214/rihanna.jhtml. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  13. ^ Gaston, Peter (2009-12-18). "WATCH: Rihanna's 'Hard' Video". Spin Magazine. http://www.spin.com/articles/watch-rihannas-hard-video. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  14. ^ Lamb, Bill (2009-12-18). "Rihanna's "Hard" Video - Trivializing and Glamorizing War?". About.com. http://top40.about.com/b/2009/12/18/rihannas-hard-video-trivializing-and-glamorizing-war.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  15. ^ "Music - News - Rihanna 'debuts new song at Jay-Z gig'". Digital Spy. 2009-11-09. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/news/a186033/rihanna-debuts-new-song-at-jay-z-gig.html. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  16. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2009-11-22). "Rihanna Electrifies American Music Awards With 'Wait Your Turn' And 'Hard'". MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1626835/20091122/rihanna.jhtml. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  17. ^ Winistorfer, Andrew (2009-12-14). ""Hard" f. Young Jeezy (Live On 106 & Park) (Video)". Prefix Magazine. http://www.prefixmag.com/media/rihanna/hard-f-young-jeezy-live-on-106-park-video/35649/. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  18. ^ "Video of the Day: Watch Rihanna's Performance of Hard". Warner Bros.. http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2010/02/rihanna-music-0201.php. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  19. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2010-02-05). "Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Young Jeezy Rock VH1's 'Super Bowl Fan Jam 2010'". MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1631364/20100205/rihanna.jhtml. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  20. ^ "New Music:Rihanna f/Lil Kim "Hard" Freestyle". Rap-Up. http://www.rap-up.com/2010/01/13/new-music-rihanna-f-lil-kim-hard-remix/. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  21. ^ "New Music: Trey Songz - 'Hard' (Rihanna Freestyle)". Rap-Up. http://www.rap-up.com/2010/01/12/new-music-trey-songz-hard-rihanna-freestyle/. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  22. ^ "Rihanna - Hard". ifpicr.cz. http://www.ariacharts.com.au/pages/chartifacts.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-27
  23. ^ "Rihanna feat. Jeezy - Hard". Ultratop.be. http://www.ultratop.be/fr/showitem.asp?interpret=Rihanna+feat%2E+Jeezy&titel=Hard&cat=s. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  24. ^ http://www.ifpicr.cz/hitparada/index.php?hitp=R. 
  25. ^ "Hard at Billboard.com". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/rihanna/chart-history/658897?f=848&g=Singles. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  26. ^ "Rihanna - Hard". ifpicr.cz. http://www.ifpicr.cz/hitparadask/index.php?hitp=R. 
  27. ^ "Rihanna feat. Jeezy - Hard". SwedishCharts.com. 
  28. ^ Billboard rihanna Album & Song Chart History Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play for rihanna Billboard
  29. ^ "Radio & Records - November 10, 2009". R&R. http://gfa.radioandrecords.com/publishGFA/GFANextPage.asp?sDate=11/10/2009&Format=9. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  30. ^ "Radio & Records - November 10, 2009". R&R. http://gfa.radioandrecords.com/publishGFA/GFANextPage.asp?sDate=11/10/2009&Format=5. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  31. ^ "Radio & Records - November 23, 2009". R&R. http://gfa.radioandrecords.com/publishGFA/GFANextPage.asp?sDate=11/23/2009&Format=1. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 

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