A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that "Man Down" is a very troubling song told from the point of view of a person who has just shot someone. While the song lyrics don't directly reference rape as the reason behind the shooting, the song's video shows Rihanna being followed into a dark alley by a man she met at a club, presumably to be raped. Even without the video, the single is mature enough to put it way out of young listeners' league.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
"MAN DOWN" is a single from the album Loud by R&B star Rihanna that focuses on one thing -- shooting someone. While the lyrics don't include sex, substance use, or a lot of profanity (though there are a couple of "N" words), they describe a person who has shot and killed a man: "I just shot a man down in central station / It's a 22, I call her Peggy Sue when she fits right down in my shoes / What do you expect me to do if you're playing me for a fool / I will lose my cool and reach for my fire arm / I didn't mean to lay him down but it's too late to turn back now." The line "playing me for a fool" is an indirect reference to a rape, which is very directly addressed, along with a violent shooting, in the song's graphic music video. This is hands-down not a song (or video) for young ears.
Is it any good?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why countering even terrible violence with more violence is never the way to respond. If someone hurt you, what would be the best way to react?
Rihanna was notoriously abused by her former boyfriend and fellow R&B singer Chris Brown. What relationship might this song have to Rihanna's personal life?
The video is even more controversial and violent than the song. Why do you think music producers would choose to do this?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.