This is the second single from Barbadian singer Rihanna's fourth studio album, Rated R.
The-Dream, who co-wrote "Umbrella
," penned a few tracks for Rated R
including this number. He told MTV News: "'Hard,' I want that song to explain itself. Most of the stuff I wrote - still to this day what I write - I try to find out through people - what they're going through or what they gotta say. Then we put that in."
The song features Jeezy, known at the time as Young Jeezy. Dream told MTV News that the American rapper delivered on his verse: "Oh, c'mon, he killed it! You know Young killed it," Dream smiled. "That's ATL right there. That's all we do."
The Dream co-produced the track with his music partner Tricky Stewart.
Rihanna explained to MTV News why she hooked up with Young Jeezy for this track. She said: "When I first heard the song, I was in Paris. Dream and Tricky, they flew out and played me the record. They played me a few [songs], but this one stuck out to me. It had such an arrogance to it, which is so far from who I am... which is part of why I wanted to do it. It was fun. It was bragging. A lot of attitude. Young Jeezy was the perfect person for the topic of the song. Just the vibe of the song. I love, love, love his verse. He added so much more to the record."
When The-Dream and Tricky Stewart first played Rihanna this song they thought it would have too much of an attitude for her tastes. However Rihanna explained to MTV News it was exactly what she had in mind. "Funny enough, when I first heard the song, we were in Paris - they flew out there to play me some songs they had done for me, some ideas. And before they played 'Hard,' they were like, 'We're gonna play you the ghetto one first, and you have to do it, you have to do it," Rihanna laughed. "They thought I wouldn't like it, and when I heard it, I just loved it. It had such an attitude and a swagger... super cocky, and just a fun song."
The song's music video was shot in Los Angeles with director Melina Matsoukas. Rihanna explained to MTV News its concept: "It's couture military. Everything is surrounded around the idea of something military. We have tanks, we have troops, we've got helicopters, we've got explosions. We've got lots of cute outfits, lots of bullets. It's crazy."
This won BET's 2010 Viewers Choice Award, at the cable television network's annual salute to R&B and hip-hop stars.