Ariana Grande celebrated her latest number one single by hitting back at controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine’s claim that the top spot had been paid for.
Stuck With U, Grande’s hit with Justin Bieber in aid of the coronavirus relief effort, topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts in its first week.
It beat Tekashi 6ix9ine’s Gooba, which came in at number three behind Doja Cat’s Say So in second.
He reacted angrily, sharing a video on Instagram claiming the charts are “corrupt” and had been manipulated by the bulk-buying of Grande’s song.
The hip hop star, currently under house arrest after being released from prison early while serving a sentence for gang-related activity, said: “I want the world to know that Billboard is a lie. You can buy number ones on Billboard.”
He claims 60,000 Stuck With U units were bought “at the last second” and “half of those” were purchased with six credit cards.
He also showed a spreadsheet on his phone, claiming it showed Gooba had had 20 million streams “disqualified”. Billboard has been contacted for comment.
Grande issued her own response, saying “numbers aren’t the driving force in anything I do”.
She then addressed the claims of “buying” the number one spot, saying hers and Bieber’s fans had bought the music.
Without naming Tekashi, she added: “To anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…..), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself.
“be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in. i’ve had a lot of ‘almost number ones’ in my career and i never said a goddamn thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL …. and you should feel that way too.”
Bieber has also defended the single. Writing on his Instagram Story, he said the 60,000 Stuck With You units arrived late because “we don’t disclose our numbers until the end of week”.
“That’s called strategy,” Bieber added. The Canadian pop star said claims six credits cards had bought 30,000 units are a “lie” and that the numbers have all been verified by market research company Nielsen Corporation.
Bieber added: “This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honoured to work with her to raise money for a great cause. If you gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it’s our song.”
Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, is one of the most controversial stars in modern music.
He has clashed with a string of high-profile figures – including Meek Mill and Snoop Dogg – and faced a lengthy prison sentence for his involvement with a violent street gang before he turned star witness for the prosecution.
He was released from prison early in April over fears his asthma made him vulnerable to coronavirus. The rapper is under house arrested in New York.