Side to Side
by Ariana Grande (featuring Nicki Minaj)

Album: Dangerous Woman (2016)
Charted: 4 4

Songfacts®:

  • This finds Grande in a relationship with a bad boy despite the warnings from her friends. It appears they have had so much sex, Grande can't walk straight - he's got her "walkin' side to side."
  • This island-sounding jam features a verse by Nicki Minaj, marking the third time the two superstars have collaborated on a song. The pair previously appeared on Jessie J's 2014 track "Bang Bang" and The Pinkprint's "Get on Your Knees."
  • The reggae pop song's dancehall riddim was supplied by Swedish hitmaker Max Martin and his co-writing and production partner Ilya Salmanzadeh. Martin and Ilya produced as a pair four of Dangerous Woman's eleven tracks and also separately worked on another one each.

    Two other hitmakers, Savan Kotecha and Alexander Kronlund, are also credited as writers along with Grande and Minaj.
  • The video finds Ariana Grande spinning, boxing and weightlifting in the gym clad in a combination of spandex and casual threads from GUESS's "Active" women's line. She's later joined by Nicki Minaj for a post-workout session in an electric blue sauna.

    The clip was directed by Hannah Lux Davis, who has filmed a number of videos for the pair. She shot Grande's "Focus" and "Into You," as well as Minaj's "Only" and " The Night Is Still Young" visuals. They also all worked together on the trio's collaboration with Jessie J, "Bang Bang."

    The original idea for the video came from a message Grande sent to Davis. "I'm just thinking... spin bikes."
    Grande then let the director take the reins.
  • The lyrics detail the painful downside of having an overly active sex life. "That whole song is about riding leading to soreness," Grande confessed to MTV News. "'Ride dick bicycle' is the lyric, indeed."

    Grande is referring to Minaj's line where she sings:

    Wrist icicle
    Ride dick bicycle
    Come true yo
    Get you this type of blow
  • Minaj covers the bridge of this song with two distinct sections, one sung ("This is the new style, with the fresh type of flow"), one rapped ("All these bitches flows is my mini-me"). She also appears at the beginning of the song namechecking Grande, then at the end where both singers close out the song together, with Minaj repeating her sung section from the bridge.
  • The song opens with the chorus, which shows up four times in the song, but with different elements in each repetition. Each chorus builds in intensity, with more backing vocals added for each progression.
  • Musically, the track never gets very dense, which pushes the vocals out front. There are lots of different instruments and vocal tracks in the mix, but they are constantly coming in and out. Listen for hand claps, finger snaps, synth stabs, a woodblock, and even a saxophone.
  • A Texas artist named Christopher R. O'Connor filed a lawsuit on March 29, 2018 asserting that "Side to Side" is nothing more than a carbon copy of his original song "J5 (T6)." The complaint was filed against UMG Recordings as O'Connor believes one of the label's executives discovered his song and then had Grande and Minaj copy it. The producer also claimed that he contacted UMG about the alleged copyright violation and was instructed to send a demo of his song, but the label ultimately didn't address his theft contentions.

    O'Connor requested that the court orders UMG to give him royalties and a songwriting credit, as well as "retroactively pay me royalties for my role in the composition... in proportion to my artistic contributions to it."

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