Bibi Bourelly’s “Riot” landed on my radar long before I knew who she was. SoundCloud is to thank actually. One day, I was streaming some forgotten rapper’s equally forgettable song when SoundCloud rolled right into Bourelly’s track and it grabbed me. The barebones nature of the track stripped away all distracts and put her howling vocals and the song’s lyrics at the forefront. Once you listen, the song’s rebellious nature will dig itself into your brain and skin in a way that all of the emotion and strain she bleeds into it becomes a presence too strong to hold off.
Later, I found out it was Bourelly who helped write Rihanna’s angry single “Bitch Better Have My Money,” and both songs made so much more sense. Once the pen behind both tracks came to the forefront, the two numbers became Bourelly’s no matter whose voice was heard because of the shared aggressiveness than drives them both and, once you’re aware of her presence, there’s no denying her existence in any body of work she’s touched. And she’s been everywhere, writing for the likes of Selena Gomez (“Camouflage”) and Usher and Nas (“Chains”) as well as having three others with Rihanna (“Higher,” “Pose” and “Yeah, I Said It”).
Now, Bourelly’s released the accompanying video to “Riot” and it’s just as powerful as the song itself. She doesn’t dominate the video, choosing instead to use the majority of the run time to highlight clips of different struggles and protests taking place around the world on a daily basis. Whereas the song itself seems centered on a single person, the video transforms the meaning behind it to apply to anyone who’s fighting for a cause. In a rapidly changing world, “Riot” is a song that can become part of the revolution’s soundtrack and a theme for anyone going against the grain to create change.
Bourelly recently released a five-song EP, Free The Real: Part #1, via Def Jam and Part #2 is scheduled to release later this summer.