Ariana Grande apologizes following backlash over controversial “7 rings”

Princess Nokia and Soulja Boy have accused Grande of plagiarism.

January 21, 2019

After the firestorm surrounding Ariana Grande’s new track “7 rings” the artist has issued an apology over Instagram. She shares, “it’s never my intention to offend anyone” and thanks fans for “opening the conversation.”

Last week, the singer dropped a new song-video combo in the Sound of Music-sampling “7 rings,” which can be described as a “Hell yeah I’m rich” flex-anthem for the ages that had fans doing some financial flaunting of their own.

The song’s title made reference to the friendship rings that Grande purchased this December in New York for herself and six of her other friends, four of which have writing credit on the track. The single from her upcoming studio album included lyrical musings  like, “You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it” and “I got my receipts, be lookin’ like phone numbers”—which inspired listeners to make some of their own connections between their lives and the lavishness Grande displays in the song:

However, almost immediately, artists and listeners recognized the similarities between the track, and music by other artists. Namely, Princess Nokia’s women of colour-focused celebration of hair, “Mine” which was released on her 2016 mixtape, 1992.  And it doesn’t take a rock scientist to notice several core elements of “7 Rings” —from the track’s melody, to the flow of the chorus, and even the thematic content—are eerily similar to Nokia’s anthem about black hair.

Coinciding with the response from Nokia, Soulja Boy, also to come also called out the similarities between “7 Rings” and his 2010 hit, “Pretty Boy Swag.”

While it remains to be seen if either camp will take additional action, legal or otherwise, it’s clear that “7 Rings” is the most recent  example of the navigating the complicated dynamics of appropriation, inspiration, and adequate accreditation.

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