Rated R

Music review by
Stephanie Bruzzese, Common Sense Media
Rated R Music Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Pain, violence, fear dominate this bleak album.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 24 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

From bearing the heartbreaking pain of being hurt by someone you love, to getting even with the person who's hurt you, the messages here are exceptionally difficult ones to swallow.   

Positive Role Models & Representations

The actions of Chris Brown aren't a reflection on Rihanna, but the questionable behaviors she discusses on this album aren't the mark of a positive role model.


Mentions suicide by gun (“Take the gun and count to three / I’m sweating now, moving slow / No time to think, my turn to go … So just pull the trigger"), setting someone on fire ("I just wanna set you on fire / So I won't have to burn alone"), and living the gangster lifestyle ("Gangster for life / I lick the gun when I’m done / 'Cause I know that revenge is sweet"). 


The song "Rude Boy" revolves around some fairly rough sex: "I like the way you touch me there, I like the way you pull my hair … / I like when you tell me kiss it here, I like when you tell me move it there."


Occasional swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "bitch").


References to Louis Vuitton.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that RATED R is Rihanna's emotional response to her violent attack by former boyfriend Chris Brown, containing a lot of extremely serious songs about suicide, broken relationships, getting even, and more mature topics. There's occasional profanity, a description of rough sex, and violent imagery. Due to the adult themes and explicit language, the CD carries a parental advisory warning, although an edited version is also available. Parents who let their teens buy even the edited version of this CD will want to be sure to discuss its mature subject matter with their kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byclarence August 5, 2015
Adult Written byOriginal February 4, 2011

This album is Rated R

I think Rihanna created Rated R as her Albums is that I think she got upset or mad after a sitiuation between Chris Brown and Rihanna so maybe she decied to cre... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMerveille February 1, 2021

only a few riri that's low

this is not rated r but tv-y7 i like rude boy little sexy but hey the song is good to listen but the other songs nah that's low
Teen, 14 years old Written byspeyan727 October 10, 2018

What's the story?

R&B artist Rihanna is back with a new full-length album called RATED R -- her first release following her violent assault by Chris Brown, her old boyfriend and an R&B singer as well. From its intensely serious lyrics to its ominous music, the record is a very personal reflection of the dark times Rihanna has endured. Songs like the album's first single, "Russian Roulette," describe a girl contemplating suicide, while tracks such as "Stupid in Love" chronicle Rihanna's brief (and unsuccessful) attempt to reconcile with Brown: "Don't understand it, blood on your hands / And still you insist on repeatedly trying to tell me lies / And I just don't know why."

Is it any good?

After experiencing such a terrible act of violence by someone she loved, it's hard to imagine Rihanna releasing a record that was anything other than somber. That said, the consistent bleakness that dominates the record is overwhelming at times. The deep, pulsing beats in tracks like "Wait Your Turn" tend to drag songs down rather than give them more intrigue, and even the more up-tempo songs such as "Photographs" are bogged down by their depressing subject matter.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violent incident with Chris Brown. While Rihanna initially remained mum about the attack, she then began to talk about it through her music and the media. Are these public forums appropriate places to discuss the attack? Why or why not?

  • What could Chris Brown do to atone for something as terrible as this incident?

Music details

  • Artist: Rihanna
  • Release date: November 23, 2009
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Genre: Adult Contemporary
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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