A No. 1 song on the Billboard chart? Gee, thanks, but Ariana Grande didn’t buy it.
Given that both Grande’s and Bieber’s fan bases are as strong and dedicated as they come, it’s not exactly surprising that the team-up would propel them to new heights. “Stuck With U” ranks as the third No. 1 debut for both Grande and Bieber, putting them in the esteemed company of a four-way tie with Mariah Carey and Drake. (It’s also Grande’s third No. 1 ever and Bieber’s sixth.)
But not everybody is on board the Bieber-Grande train, with rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine accusing the duo of manipulating the charts and keeping him out of the top spot.
The Brooklyn-born rapper, who is currently under house arrest after being released from prison early due to coronavirus concerns, made his return to the rap scene with “Gooba” earlier this month. The song debuted at No. 3 on the chart behind Doja Cat’s Nicki Minaj-assisted “Say So” remix.
Earlier in the day, 6ix9ine slammed Grande and Bieber for “cheating” in a series of Instagram videos, alleging a conspiracy against him and explaining how the duo unfairly beat him to the top spot.
“YOU’RE A LIE AND CORRUPT,” he wrote to Billboard on Instagram. “YOU GOT CAUGHT CHEATING AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW.”
The rapper claimed someone “illegally” bought 60,000 units of Grande and Bieber’s duet “at the last second” and half of those were purchased with six credit cards.
“So listen, I want the world to know that Billboard is a lie. You can buy No. 1s on Billboard,” he said in the video, claiming that millions of his streams weren’t counted. “I want that to register in your head. You can buy No. 1s on Billboard.”
“You got caught cheating redhanded,” added Tekashi. “It’s not fair to artists who work… I got the biggest record.”
Grande hit back at his claims in an Instagram post on Monday, defending her position on the chart while making it clear that “numbers aren’t the driving force” behind her music.
“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,” she wrote without mentioning the rapper by name.
“be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in,” Grande continued. “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 also weighed in a post of his own on Instagram Stories, adding that the 60,000 units in question “came because we don’t disclose our numbers until the end of the week.”
“This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honored to work with her to help raise money for a great case,” he wrote. “If you gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it’s our song.”
6ix9ine later clarified in his own response that he’s “not coming” for Grande but merely expressing his frustration toward Billboard. However, he might as well get used to her claiming the top spot.
The Grammy winner could have another No. 1 collaboration on her hands next week after her highly anticipated track “Rain Me” off Lady Gaga’s new album drops on Friday.