If anyone told you this time last year that Ariana Grande would drop a song that simultaneously samples The Sound of Music and jacks Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag,” would you have believed it? We’ve come a long way from the bubblegum-R&B of her early years.
“7 Rings” is a sexy, feelin’-myself bop inspired by an actual event: a champagne-fueled Tiffany’s shopping spree Grande went on after her breakup with Pete Davidson. She brought along “six of [her] bitches,” as the song goes, and everyone took home matching diamond rings. The song pulls off a series of pop-trap moves, as Grande toys with an Atlanta flow over pink-hued hi-hats. It’s confident, fun and a huge leap for an artist who has quickly gone from her generation’s great pop vocalist to, potentially, its great pop star.
Of course, leaps like that can come at a cost. Everyone from Soulja Boy to Princess Nokia to 2 Chainz has taken issue with the song and video, alleging that Grande has copped certain flows, songs and visuals. When it comes to the hawking of black music in particular, songs like this one raise a bigger question of who is allowed to borrow from whom. Would a black pop star be able to get away with the same type of boldness?
Grande can and should engage with those conversations at some point, but whatever the case, “7 Rings” is dangerously fun, and as deliriously intoxicating as the champagne at Tiffany’s with all your best bitches.