Three out of seven of my favorite crystal rings. Made each one myself.
So I was thinking it might be fun to write a reaction post to this drama brewing up between Princess Nokia and Ariana Grande. I got a little annoyed seeing all the hate daggers people were throwing at Princess Nokia when she threw some hints that Ariana stole her sound in her latest installment “7 Rings.” I was watching one of my favorite YouTuber’s Empressive’s channel. She has some incredible music documentaries and celebrity tea that could rival shows like UnSung. (Even just watched her documentary on JoJo) In this video, she brought up the controversy behind the fact that Ariana’s new hit sounded a bit too familiar. The beat was accused of being a bit too reflective of several artists including Soulja Boy’s ‘Pretty Boy Swag’ and 2 Chainz ‘Spend It.’ In Empressive’s video, Princess Nokia spilled her two cents on the track claiming that Grande’s track seemed “familiar” and “sounds about white.”
While watching the video, I scrolled down to the comments (normal unbreakable habit when watching YouTube videos) and found Ariana stans dragging Princess Nokia for her truth. It was kind of sad. As a fan, I cringed every time I saw someone call her Princess Flip Phone……Smh…… The savagery was difficult to take in. Some commenters also confronted her about her own similar sounds in her track ‘Orange Blossom’ and compared it to another dope somewhat underground artist that I love Kali Uchi’s ‘Honey Baby.’
My disgust at the harsh comments and thirst for musical knowledge thrust me into an investigation to see if any of the allegations being made against Ariana Grande and Princess Nokia are true. I first looked into the accusations against ‘Orange Blossom.’ This track has an ultra chill, lullaby type vibe that carries on the flow throughout. The video of Princess Nokia enjoying Coney Island’s amusement park is a perfect compilation of the feel good mood carried on in the melody. In her music, I always love how versatile and different Princess Nokia is. She’s chill, but fiesty, woke by silly. I love the collective vibe that she gives.
Only a small snippet of this choice track compares to the also delectable sounds of Kali Uchi’s ‘Honey Baby.’ The way Kali Uchis sings in a sort of lullaby way would make one think that Princess Nokia may have taken some sort of inspiration from the track. However, Kali’s is a bit more slower and even has a slower Crystal Water’s ‘Gypsy Woman‘ type beat placed in. Plus, this part is literally only 30 seconds of the song. The rest of ‘Honey Baby’ has two transitions that goes from a cruising melody to a psychedelic fast paced trip. The two songs are very different. Both artists are hella dope. People need to stop with the drama.
However, Ariana Grande’s song ‘7 Rings’ does sound much more like Princess Nokia’s ‘Mine.’ My investigation took me further by listening in depth to the Ariana track. She starts off in her own rendition of Julie Andrews ‘My Favorite Things‘ singing quite similarly to the Sound of Music star throughout the song, but doused with a hip hop/pop flair. The theme sticks to the starlet boasting about her being able to get what she wants with her own money and flossing with her girls. The song is a fun homage to being proud of what you can earn with your hard earned cash. Yet, I do hear other inspirations from other artists like how poppin’ her gloss is (Lil Mama) and how she just bought her hair (Princess Nokia).
Speaking of Nokia, ‘Mine‘ is a dope homage to the hairstyles of women of color. “It’s mine, I bought it. It’s mine, I bought it,” repeats the chorus. The song flows hard and heavy requesting ‘certain people’ not to touch the hair of a brown or black person and embraces the many dynamic wears, whether weave, wig or natural, of how we shape our hair. It’s funny because both sounds do have a bit of similarity to ‘Pretty Boy Swag‘ from Soulja Boy, but not as much in my opinion.
Each of these songs possess their own unique dosage of resonance injected into them. However, each of them sound like a piece from someone else’s art. From the beginning of time, ideas and thoughts have been created but also seen in new and exciting ways. People love to say that nothing is original anymore. But with so much incredible findings being discovered already, it’s quite difficult to be completely innovative. Every idea is twisted and reformed from another one. Maybe Ariana is just another artist reforming old ideas and making them into her own. Besides, each of these songs sound versatile and have their own magnetic flair that attracts a variety of souls to their tune. I think that’s the true beauty of what they choose to give out to the world.
BTW, I just checked out this Genius video that finds more influences including Beyonce from Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ video. What other music influences to you see?