The Light Is Coming
by Ariana Grande (featuring Nicki Minaj)

Album: Sweetener (2018)
Charted: 57 89

Songfacts®:

  • "The Light Is Coming" kicks off with a sample taken from a confrontation between former Senator Arlen Specter and a member of the public during a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting. A man erupted in anger over the issue of private insurance under the Democratic healthcare proposal and shouted, "I called your office and I was told I could have the mic […] because I came prepared to speak. He then cried:

    and, instead, you wouldn't let anybody speak

    The sample is repeated a number of times throughout the song.

    Pharrell Williams' skitter production takes inspiration from his own N.E.R.D song "Lemon." That track borrows from the same Pennsylvania public meeting, but in that instance its Arlen Specter, shouting "wait a minute."
  • Ariana Grande's lyrics utilize a metaphor of light overcoming darkness in order to describe a relationship that originally had its doubters, before true love eventually wins through.

    I've been into you, s--t that you've been through
    They are so confused, who cares about the rational?
    If it ain't your view
    That's the bottom line
    Know-it-all


    Pharrell Williams' sample from the Pennsylvania public meeting adds a second political meaning to Ariana's lyrics about true love overcoming the haters.
  • Nicki Minaj raps the first verse in which she plays along with the concept of Ariana's album Sweetener as well as dropping a reference to her "Chun-Li" single.

    Now I'm the bad guy, call me Chun-Li (ooh)
    'Cause you was slippin', yep, you clumsy
    And everything I peep, can't just unsee
    Sips tea, and it's unsweet


    Grande told The Fader, that she auditioned eight rappers for "The Light Is Coming" before turning to Minaj: "That's what Nicki Minaj does, she elevates a record," she said. "If you're going to have a rapper on a song, they need to really really really be there for a reason, and she does that every single time."
  • "The Light Is Coming" is one of several collaborations between Grande and Minaj. The pair first worked together when they both appeared on Jessie J's smash "Bang Bang" in 2014. They subsequently linked on Minaj's "Get on Your Knees", Grande's 2016 hit "Side to Side" and "Bed," recorded for Minaj's Queen album, which was released six days before this song.
  • Grande debuted the song on June 2, 2018 at Wango Tango 2018 in Los Angeles.
  • This was Nicki Minaj's 92nd Hot 100 hit. The entry meant that the Queen Barbie became the solo artist with the most visits to the chart without a #1, overtaking James Brown who previously held this distinction, with 91. Minaj best chart placing was the #2 she achieved with "Anaconda" in 2014.

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