Production duo Rock City, who consist of brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas, co-wrote the song with Shama Joseph and R&B star Shontelle for Rihanna's latest album Loud.
The Anthony Mandler-directed video that accompanies the single has been heavily criticised for 'accepting murder' by parenting groups, but the Thomas brothers insisted that 'Man Down' is meant to be open to interpretation.
"We wanted the song to be something where everybody had an opinion," Theron told MTV. "Some people felt it was literal, some people felt it was a metaphor."
Timothy added: "When we wrote the song, me and my brother were trying to recreate in the best way possible, you know, like, Bob Marley 'I Shot the Sherriff', the female version of what that would be."
Responding to 'Man Down's video, Theron explained: "It's like somebody wrote a script for a movie and she delivered it perfectly
"I just think sometimes people need something to talk about, and this is a thing to talk about... 'Cause when you listen to the song word-for-word-for-word, if she shot it theatrically how [the lyrics are], it probably would have been a little [more graphic], if you ask me."
> Rihanna: 'Man Down murder video is art with message'
Watch Rihanna's 'Man Down' video below: