5 of the most NSFW music videos of the past decade
Rihanna, Bitch Better Have My Money

Rihanna is one of the most bankable stars in the world, but that doesn’t stop the Barbados-born singer dancing with controversy now and again.

The artist’s latest video for ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ is a strictly NSFW affair – complete with kidnap, torture, blood and bare breasts. Making Madonna’s whole ‘Like A Prayer Jesus bonking’ thing seem fairly tame.

Warning: Not safe for work (obviously)

The video, co-directed by Rihanna herself, has sparked another debate around art v acceptability, with many going for the ‘won’t somebody please think of the children?‘ approach.

But music videos no longer belong to MTV any more – this is the YouTube generation, who are tired of cuts, pixelations and censorship.

‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ joins a list of controversial videos of this new era – here are some of the best:

Justice – ‘Stress’ (2008)

French electro band Justice caused uproar with the release of ‘Stress’ – a single from their debut album – which showed a number of youths from the banlieues (the impoverished French suburbs) causing riots in the streets of Paris. The video, directed by the always interesting Romain Gavras, sparked huge attention from those who saw it as exploitation – as well as those who viewed it as a damning critique of the country’s treatment of the poor.

M.I.A. – ‘Born Free’ (2010)

Alt-pop cult star M.I.A teamed up with Romain Gavras (yep, him again) to put together a nine-minute video for the single ‘Born Free’. The video depicts ginger people being rounded up from their beds and homes to be taken away and killed, with many scenes reflecting the treatment of Tamil males in her native Sri Lanka.

The video gathered huge attention and was lauded by many, but was subsequently banned from YouTube in the US and UK due to distressing scenes – which almost guarantees everyone will then watch it. The ban has since been overturned, rightfully.

Robin Thicke – ‘Blurred Lines’ (2013)

You’ve all seen it, you know all the debates, controversy and court cases. ‘Blurred Lines’ grew into one of the biggest songs of the decade and the ‘unrated’ video featuring topless women dancing around Pharrell and the ‘Poundland Ricky Martin’ was accused of all kinds of sexism when coupled up with the letchy overtones of lines in the song such as ‘I know you want it’.

The videos (both rated and unrated) continued to rack up the views despite the outrage and the song became an unstoppable worldwide hit. So big was ‘Blurred Lines’ that even Marvin Gaye’s family were getting in touch, to say how much they loved that beat…

Die Antwoord – ‘Pitbull Terrier’ (2014)

Die Antwoord remain a truly modern phenomenon. The South African alternative hip-hop group have racked up millions upon millions of YouTube hits, but remain truly underground. Shunning any attempts to reach a mainstream audience (the group notoriously turned down a support slot for Lady Gaga, favouring Aphex Twin instead) – they play on many provocative themes in their image.

The video for the single ‘Pitbull Terrier’ – from their third album Donker Mag – features the duo’s lanky rapper Ninja in a pretty terrifying pit-bull mask, mauling and humping the general public before descending from a window. Literally the stuff of nightmares.

Sia – Elastic Heart (2015)

The enigmatic Sia is the top challenger for Rihanna’s title of ‘most controversial video of 2015’. ‘Elastic Heart features everyone’s favourite motivational speaker and Transformers star Shia LaBeouf performing a wrestling-style dance routine with 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler- both wearing skin-colour leotards.

‘Elastic Heart’ hit a nerve with some sections of society, over accusations of sexual undertones, which the singer apologised for saying “My intention was to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody”.

Personally, we think it’s probably the best thing Shia has done since Even Stevens .