Ari wants to shift "Focus" to her talented friends. Shortly after she dropped her new single, "7 rings," Ariana Grande tweeted a message to fans that paid homage to fellow musicians Taylor Parks (AKA Tayla Parx), Victoria Monét, Njomza, and Kaydence, in the early morning hours of Jan. 19:
"i wouldn’t have made this celebratory bop or feel ‘okay’ these days w/o my brilliant, gentle and funny friends who get me drunk, write songs w me & help me heal. i am tremendously grateful for u. pls support them in their art: @TAYLAPARX @VictoriaMonet @NJOMZA @Kaydenceis"
In a followup tweet, she added of her girlfriends (all of whom appeared in Grande's "7 rings" music video), "shift your attention here. these women are impeccable and they are who you should be talking about. love."
While she didn't explicitly say so, the conversation the singer may have been trying to divert from was one that started when rapper Princess Nokia accused Grande of allegedly stealing from her 2017 song, "Mine" in a since-deleted Jan. 18 Instagram post, per People. (Bustle reached out to Grande's reps for comment regarding the similarities to Princess Nokia's song, but did not receive an immediate response.)
Grande's latest track also happens to include the line, "write my own checks like I write what I sing."
“Does that sound familiar to you? ‘Cause that sound really familiar to me. Oh my God!’ Nokia said in the deleted Instagram and Twitter video of her listening to the track before playing a snippet of her song off of her 1992 mixtape, per People. “Ain’t that the lil song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmmmm… sounds about white.”
“Rock my many styles then go natural for the summer / Hair blowing in the hummer / Flip the weave, I am a stunner / It’s mine, I bought it / It’s mine, I bought it.”
Meanwhile, in “7 rings,” Grande raps:
“My wrist, stop watchin’, my neck is flossin’ / Make big deposits, my gloss poppin’ / You like my hair? / Gee, thanks, just bought it / I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.”
Per The Fader, Nokia also retweeted a fan post that read: "AG’s new album literally plagiarizes flows, words, bars from Nokia... yo what a shame, millions of dollars and a TEAM of people to make and write your music.... yet they STILL STEAL" (The tweet no longer appears on the rapper's official Twitter page.)
Nokia isn't the only artist throwing Ari some serious shade. The same day, a Soulja Boy fan tweet comparing the two tracks claimed that "7 rings" is just a sped-up version of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag" from 2010. As of publication, it had racked up almost 100,000 Twitter. The "Crank That" rapper caught wind of the similarities and shared a comparison video asking if Grande allegedly stole Soulja Boy's flow. “Arianaaaa??????,” he captioned the video. “Ariana?!” (Bustle reached out to Grande's reps for comment regarding the similarities to Soulja Boy's song, but did not receive an immediate response.)
At the end of the day, however, Grande has always made clear that "7 Rings" is about friendship. As she explained via Twitter in November:
"well ............. ‘twas a pretty rough day in nyc. my friends took me to tiffany’s. we had too much champagne. i bought us all rings. it was very insane and funny. & on the way back to the stu njomza was like ‘b*tch, this gotta be a song lol’. so we wrote it that afternoon."
In subsequent tweets, the singer revealed the rings' recipients, aside from Parx, Monét, Njomza, and Kaydence, to be: Alexa Luria, music video director Hannah Lux Davis, Courtney Chipolone — who played Gretchen Wieners in "Thank U, Next" — and Grande's mom and nonna, too, of course.
Despite the controversy, Grande's made clear that genuine friendship is her real favorite thing.