Better Off

Album: Sweetener (2018)
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Songfacts®:

  • This moody R&B breakup ballad is about Ariana Grande's wish to exit a toxic relationship. It has been speculated the track is about the singer's former boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, whom she split from in May 2018. Grande tweeted that she penned "Better Off" a long time ago - probably when she was still with Miller - and she wasn't going to originally put it on Sweetener in fear of the honest feelings she was expressing about their relationship.
  • My love'll have you fall to your knees
    I tell them this too often
    Know better than to bark up my tree
    Just for me to fall and leave
    Nah, I'd rather just watch you smoke and drink, yeah


    This lyric is most likely a reference to Mac Miller's use of weed and alcohol. He's frequently rapped about drugs and drinking and Grande revealed via Twitter that the rapper's struggle with sobriety was a factor in their breakup.
  • The song was co-produced by:

    Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis, Jr, whose other credits include Lil Wayne and Eminem's 2010 single "Drop The World" and Jay-Z and Kanye West's 2011 Watch the Throne track "Niggas in Paris."

    Tommy "TBHits" Brown, who first collaborated with Grande on her 2013 debut, Yours Truly. He also worked with the songstress on all of her 2015 Christmas and Chill? EP plus the majority of songs on 2016's Dangerous Woman.
  • TBHits told Billboard that Hit-Boy did the original instrumentation. Grande loved its vibe and asked TBHits to see if he could make any improvements. He made a few production changes, mainly minimalizing it. TBHits explained:

    "I think it sounds a lot cooler minimal and actually just hearing her on the song. Because people listen to it to hear the artist, they don't listen to it to hear a beat, necessarily. So, we minimalized it, and everybody collaborated on it, and it came together."

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