A Bunch Of Artists Are Accusing Ariana Grande Of Plagiarism
Soulja Boy told Ariana Grande to "stop stealing my swag".
This Friday, Ariana Grande dropped ‘7 Rings’, the second official single off her fifth album, thank u, next. The song is a trap-backed flex, where Grande raps about having an absurd amount of money and buying Tiffany rings for her BFFs on a whim — and, after listening, a trio of artists have independently accused Grande of plagiarising their work.
Co-produced by Grande with her long time collaborator, Tommy Brown, alongside Charles Anderson and Michael Foste, ‘7 Rings’ isn’t afraid to reference — it begins with a riff on The Sound Of Music‘s ‘My Favourite Things’, and features a sample of Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Gimme The Loot’ at the bridge.
According to Princess Nokia, the song also ‘riffs’ off ‘Mine’, her track from 2017 mixtape 1992 Deluxe about reclaiming black women’s hair styles as their own, the two sharing a pretty similar beat, rap flow, and, in one point, lyrics.
Across her social media, Nokia uploaded a now-deleted video of her listening to Grande’s track with bemusement before playing ‘Mine’, tagging Grande’s handle in the post. The video’s since been uploaded to YouTube by account Twitter Clips.
“Does that sound familiar to you? ’Cause that sound really familiar to me,” she said. “Ain’t that the lil song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmmm… sounds about white.”
Nokia also re-tweeted a fan who said Grande “literally steals flows, words, bars from Nokia”. In ‘7 Rings’, Grande raps, ‘You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it’, which is essentially the ethos of ‘Mine’ (‘We bought it/it’s ours’, she says), albeit removing the racial context behind Nokia’s song. ‘Mine’ ends with a brief monologue telling white people to not ask people of colour whether their hair is a wig or natural.
Given the context, the accusation of Grande’s copying aligns with broader criticism that she appropriates African American culture/readily presents as black or bi-racial, despite being Italian.
I think ppl’s concern here is specific. less about the sonic origins of “spend it”/”mine” & more about the context of Ariana being white & rapping about buying hair and Princess Nokia rapping about buying hair and the policing of+fixation with black and brown image by white ppl
— Ivie Ani (@ivieani) January 18, 2019
Once Nokia’s posts were written about online and circulated, they were deleted.
Nokia’s calls of plagiarism have attracted the most attention online, but she’s not alone in calling out Grande. Soulja Boy has noticed some similarities to his 2010 single ‘Pretty Boy Swag’ — and in fan-edited comparison videos, it does sound like ‘7 Rings’ is a pitch-shifted Nightcore remix. Soulja Boy has retweeted Grande asking for his “credit. Period.”, asked her to “stop stealing my swag”, and reposted a fan-made video comparing the two tracks.
Give me my credit. Period https://t.co/Akhp2BXcuY
— Soulja Boy (Young Drako) 💲🔌🔫 (@souljaboy) January 19, 2019
In addition, 2 Chainz has slyly called out Grande, suggesting on Instagram that ‘7 Rings’ neon-lit Hannah Lux Davis music video, set in a sorority house, bears a few similarities to his Pink Trap House in Atlanta.
Grande has not acknowledged any of these comments. Listen to ‘7 Rings’ below.