Ariana Grande dropped her new single “7 Rings” and its accompanying video this morning, representing her biggest dip into hip-hop music yet. In fact, the song sounds so informed by hip-hop that New York rapper Princess Nokia thinks parts of was ripped off from her own song “Mine,” which was included on her debut album 1992 Deluxe from last year.
Nokia posted a video of her listening to the song on her Twitter, and mused, “Does that sound familiar to you? ’Cause that sound really familiar to me. Ain’t that the lil song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmmm… sounds about white.” Nokia, however, has since deleted the video.
It’s hard to deny that the songs do share a similar chorus and a similar beat. Nokia repeatedly raps, “It’s mine, I bought it” on her song, referring her to her hair, while Grande’s chorus consists of the repeated chant “I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it” and the rejoinder, “You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it.”
Somewhat ironically given the brewing controversy, Grande’s song also includes the lyrics “Write my own checks like I write what I sing, yeah.”
Here’s Nokia’s track just for reference:
We should note that Grande’s “7 Rings” has a total of 10 credited songwriters. That includes composers Rodgers and Hammerstein (their song “My Favourite Things” from The Sound of Music is interpolated throughout), but also includes Grande, her backup singers (and “Thank U, Next” co-writers) Victoria Monét and Tayla Parx, and Charles Anderson, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk, Michael Foster, Njomza Vitia and Tommy Brown.
The Internet, however, is a bit divided over whether Grande and her team might have taken uncredited and unauthorized inspiration from Nokia, and then the conversation was essentially exploded by the entrance of who else but Soulja Boy. Yeah, turns out that some people ultimately think that Grande’s newfound rap flow may have ben borrowed from Soulja Boy’s 2010 hit “Pretty Boy Swag.”
If that wasn’t enough, some people also found similarities to 2 Chainz’s 2011 song “Spend It” which includes the repeated lyrics of “It’s mine, I spend it.”
Which has led others that the flow in question is just to generic for anyone to really take credit it.
This isn’t the first time an A-list star has been accused of borrowing aspects from lesser known tracks. Taylor Swift’s Reputation album was plagued with games of “hmmm, this song definitely sounds like this song.” Her first single “Look What You Made Me Do” was compared to Peaches’ “Operate”, while second single “Ready For It” seemed to bare some resemblances to Sleigh Bells’ song “Kids.” Nothing ever came of either case, but neither involved the cultural and racial appropriation issues that Grande’s situation carries either.
Soulja Boy, for his part, has not commented, so instead we’ll just leave you with this, and wonder why we didn’t just cut out all the middlemen and just get a Soulja Boy and Rodgers and Hammerstein collab instead.