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A songwriter was worried that Rihanna‘s “Rude Boy” was too fun for one of the “Pon de Replay” singer‘s albums. Rihanna saved the tune from obscurity. One of the writers of “Rude Boy” said the track ushered in a new era of hip-hop music. The tune later became a bright spot during a difficult time in her career.

Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’ has a connection to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’

Stargate is a songwriting duo composed of Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor E. Hermansen. They might not be famous, but they’ve given the world huge hits like Kay Perry’s “Firework,” Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow,” and Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable,” as well as numerous Rihanna hits such as “S&M,” “Only Girl (In the World),” “Diamonds,” “Unfaithful,” and “Don’t Stop the Music.” During a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hermansen discussed the origins of “Rude Boy.”

“There are some records everyone believes in, like, ‘Oh, this is a big single!'” he said. “But nobody talked about ‘Rude Boy’ until the album came out. We were worried ‘Rude Boy’ wasn’t going to make the cut [because 2009’s Rated R was so dark], but to Rihanna’s credit, she was the one who wanted to keep it.” For context, Rated R is a downbeat album released after Rihanna’s breakup with Chris Brown, while “Rude Boy” is a fun dancefloor hit about sex. It keeps the record from getting too depressing.

A writer of ‘Rude Boy’ said the tune was innovated

Hermansen revealed what he was trying to do while writing the song’s beat. “We made this beat with a guy called Rob Swire, who used to be in the electronic group Pendulum,” he recalled. “This was right when we started experimenting with the combination of trancier EDM sounds and slower hip-hop beats. ‘Rude Boy’ was one of the earliest examples of those sounds coming together.” That’s a dubious claim, as Timbaland and other artists had made vaguely similar beats before “Rude Boy.” Regardless, “Rude Boy” is still one of the most popular songs to combine hip-hop and trance elements.

“Rihanna left for an hour or two, came back, and then when we played it for her, she was just blown away: ‘Did you guys just do this?'” he added. “She was the one who really fought for that record and knew what it was. I don’t think even we knew what it was.” Eriksen said that didn’t expect “Rude Boy” to become a hit. He simply thought that the track was “hot.”


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The tune kept Rihanna in the spotlight when 1 of her albums wasn’t doing well

Rihanna’s Rated R was not particularly successful. After all, the dark concept record came out at a time when the pop charts were ruled by upbeat, happy tunes. It merely peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 45 weeks. For a superstar like Rihanna, that’s practically a disappointment.

“Rude Boy” became a hit because it was so different from the rest of Rated R. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. It spent a total of 22 weeks on the chart. “Rude Boy” remains one of Rihanna’s most famous tunes to this day.

“Rude Boy” remains a classic dance song and it wouldn’t be the same if Rihanna didn’t have faith in it.