Side to Side
by Ariana Grande (featuring Nicki Minaj)

Album: Dangerous Woman (2016)
Charted: 4 4
Play Video


  • 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."

Comments: 1

  • Skank Radar from Lost Angeles02-23-2021

    Another fine song from yet another millennial 'role model' (aka: millenial skank).

    Two skanks riding dick bicycles! Awesome song for preteens. Grande & Minaj's parents must be SO proud.

    BTW: I am a millennial myself & am quite embarrassed of some of the so-called 'music' being made by my generation's 'musicians'.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Guy Clark

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"They're Playing My Song

Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.

Joan Armatrading

Joan ArmatradingSongwriter Interviews

The revered singer-songwriter talks inspiration and explains why she put a mahout in "Drop the Pilot."

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.