The talent of both of the singers is clear, the beat gets your head bobbing and the tune is catchy. The theme of the song is explicit — there’s no doubt it’s about two lovers sharing an extremely intimate night together — but it’s no more raunchy than many songs you would hear on contemporary radio. Take a listen in the video below. (Warning: NSFW due to profanity.)
The issue? The performers were embroiled in a very public domestic assault incident in 2009, and after taking a closer look, we can’t help but think that some of the lyrics in “Put It Up” are a bit reminiscent of abuse. Even more cringeworthy is the fact that the song was reportedly recorded in either 2012 or 2013, well after Brown’s attack on Rihanna, making the lyrics seem that much more questionable, considering the couple’s violent past.
Here are some examples.
“Going insane with all this fear”
This lyric is haunting, considering it’s sung by Rihanna. The songstress gave statements to police at the time of the 2009 incident regarding Brown’s previous violence. The lyric triggers questions as to whether or not Rihanna might have been afraid of Brown.
“Yeah, girl, let me take you for a ride”
Considering Brown’s brutal attack on Rihanna took place in a vehicle, this part of the song seems especially inappropriate. Granted, Brown is talking about a different kind of “ride” in “Put It Up,” but this still conjures up unpleasant imagery.
“And I’m hyperventilating right now/I can’t breathe, if I ain’t with you”
In the police report following the incident, Rihanna said that Brown had choked her, among other things.
“Your property, treat me like I’m your property”
During a concert in March 2013, Brown went on a rant, claiming he “owned” Rihanna. “Don’t make me have to tell you again, that that’s my p****, baby! It’s mine, babe, babe, mine. Don’t make me have to tell you again, that that’s my p****, baby. It’s mine, girl, it’s mine, girl, it’s mine… so you better not give it away! So every person in this motherf***ing building, if you got a bad bitch you better say that shit to her, or she might f*** another n****. Let’s go turn it up,” Brown said as he segued into a song. Control is a huge part of domestic abuse and this lyric seems pretty insensitive to their situation.
“Just let them all say what they want to say/That’s how I feel ’cause I’m in love”
Then again, both Brown and Rihanna have said their relationship is not anybody’s business but their own and this lyric kind of reiterates that. Rihanna, herself, responded to backlash in an interview with Rolling Stone when the two reunited in 2013, saying, “Even if it’s a mistake, it’s my mistake.” She also added,”You see us walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the studio, in the club, and you think you know. But it’s different now. We don’t have those types of arguments anymore. We talk about shit. We value each other. We know exactly what we have now, and we don’t want to lose that.”
She’s right, we don’t know the ins and outs of their romance, but we have been witness to Brown’s repeated violent behavior and this song doesn’t help un-sully the public’s opinion of him.