Ariana Grande's new single “7 Rings” is causing some controversy. The singer says the song was written after a day out with friends in which she bought each of her besties a ring at Tiffany’s. However, the new tune, which the Florida artist dropped yesterday, bears a striking resemblance to a song from Princess Nokia’s album 1992, which was released last year.
After Grande’s song was released, Nokia, a rapper and songwriter, posted a video on Twitter Clips comparing the tune to her song “Mine.” "Does that sound familiar to you? Because that sounds really familiar to me," she asks mockingly. "Ain't that the little song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmm. Sounds about white."
In the video, Nokia, whose real name is Destiny Frasqueri, also played Grande’s song before playing her own. The lyrics that the New York artist takes issue with in “7 Rings” are from the chorus where Grande asks, "You like my hair?/Gee thanks, just bought it/ I want it, I got it/I want it, I got it." In “Mine,” Nokia says, "Hair blowing in the hummer/Flip the weave, I am a stunner/ It's mine, I bought it/It's mine, I bought it."
“Mine” touches on the racism that women of color confront when it comes to their hair, while “7 Rings” celebrates friendship. On Twitter Clips, fans told Nokia she should take legal action against Grande. When asked about the similarities, Grande refused to comment, though her fans were less reserved, writing that Princess Nokia “shouldn’t flatter herself thinking Ariana actually knows who she is.”
In Nokia's defense, her debut album was very well received. Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian gave the album 4 stars out of 5, saying, "Through sheer force of charisma, her blunt edges still cause major damage," while Robert Christgau of Noisey gave the album an A, calling her "the most complete New Yorker to hit hip-hop since Heems if not Nas." The album was also listed as the 32nd best album of 2017 by NME.
Nokia is not the only one calling out Grande. Others have pointed out that Grande’s song is similar to Soulja Boy’s 2010 hit “Pretty Boy Swag,” only its faster and more pop-oriented. Soulja Boy also posted a comparison video on Instagram, which was made by a fan. The rapper, who doesn’t directly address the issue, captioned the post, “Arianaaaa?????? Ariana?!”
Finally, Grande also samples the classic musical number “Favourite Things” from The Sound of Music in her song, yet it’s unlikely that Rodgers & Hammerstein will complain since they’ve both been dead for over forty years.