The accompanying music video for “Rude Boy” was directed by Melina Matsoukas. The video relies upon on the use of greenscreen, and contains strong references to critically acclaimed famous artists, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Salt-n-Pepa, M.I.A. and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In an interview with Carson Daly on his radio show, Amp Radio, Rihanna described the video as “completely different from any other video” she had done before and “pretty freakin’ cool”. She explained its artistic qualities, and said:
“A lot of my videos are really dark and edgy and tough. ‘Rude Boy’ is more playing along the lines from my roots. We used a lot of color, but also the costumes were very Jamaican dance-hall-queen type.”
The video premiered on February 10, 2010, via the high definition music video provider VEVO.
The video features Rihanna in a multitude of brightly colored and vibrant Caribbean inspired scenes. In the opening scene, Rihanna approaches a drum kit, which she plays as the song progresses. During the rest of the video, Rihanna engages and plays with a variety of props, including a male extra, a zebra, a motorcycle and a stuffed lion, which are intercut with scenes of Rihanna playing the drum kit. Rihanna wears a variety of outfits in the video, including a gold net bodysuit and a black and white zebra print catsuit, which she wears while sitting atop a stuffed zebra. Rihanna performs various 1990s dancehall dance moves, such as the Bogle.