Our Lord and Savior Ariana Grande dropped a new single yesterday at 3PM, and the hits keep coming. Ari and longtime collaborator Victoria Monét teamed up for the 2:39 track, and like all of Ariana's recent songs, there's a lot to unpack here. The track is, first and foremost, a thank you to Ari's fans for keeping "7 Rings" at number one for eight weeks and possibly bringing Thank U, Next back into the top spot as well, but its also an ode to the thrive, real friends, and hard work paying off. "Monopoly" is so much more than we expected, and we're not just talking about the return of Ari's whistle tones.
A ton of people on Twitter have been genuinely asking who TF Cletus is (or, if you're Ari, "Clevis"), even though they literally say it in the song. Cletus Klump is a character in The Nutty Fropessor The Nutty Professor played by Eddie Murphy, just like every other character in that terrifying film. The line, "Where you been, Cletus?" isn't from the movie, but Papa Klump pays the bills and so does our girl Ariana, so the connection is there.
The *biggest* meme reference is low-key spread throughout 80% of the video, when Victoria, Ariana, and occasionally a third dancer fling words off of their body and deflect emojis with their ~sick moves~. That dancer is actually viral Canadian Donté Colley, a dancer from Toronto who came up with the viral dance videos that inspired the visuals for "Monopoly." If an emoji is flung off a tree falling in the forest, it was probably inspired by Donté. There's also a fun moment at 0:25 where Victoria seems to have been inspired by the "Who Is She" Vine from 2015.
The line "You'd be straight for life if I gave you my PIN/ Even though we gave up that 90% for the win" is referencing the deal Ariana struck with Rodgers And Hammerstein's estate to use The Sound Of Music in "7 Rings." If you don't know the verses sample "My Favorite Things," what was your childhood and what rock have you been hiding under? Ari had to give 90% of the songwriting royalties to the estate, which was fine because she clearly doesn't need the cash, and she did get that win.
Trust, we *all* love Eric Vetro. Eric is Ari's vocal coach, who has also worked with Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Katy Perry, and a ton of other super famous talented people. It's honestly a little obscene how many stars he's coached — I guess you could say he has a ~monopoly~ on vocal coaching the stars. The full line is "I never track my vocals, so shout out to Eric Vetro." Tracking vocals in a literal sense is just the process of recording, but this is also where vocal overdubbing is done. What Ari's saying is that her sh*t's genuine, no autotune needed.
The line heard around the world. Maybe Ari's queer-baiting again. Maybe she's been bi this whole time and no one has been paying attention to the hints she's been dropping. What's definitely true is that Victoria is bi, so it's very possible the line "I like women and men" was her contribution to the song, and Ari's just confident enough in her sexuality to sing it as well. TBH, sexuality is a spectrum and we *all* fall on it somewhere, so whatever Ari means doesn't have to be labeled anyway.
Speaking of women and men, IDK if I'm just dumb, but I spent a hot second trying to figure out what Victoria was doing with her hands during this scene. I assumed it was some type of hip new hand sign that I didn't know because I'm out of touch and deeply Caucasian, and then I realized she was just making the men's room sign into a women's room sign. Not everything is a hidden message, apparently. This did give us all a great view of Ari and Victoria wearing their "7 Rings" diamonds, a quaint lil friendship ring for this song about real friends.
It's been known that Victoria did a lot of work on Thank U, Next, but Ari and Victoria's artistic collaboration has been around since before Pete Davidson ever stepped onto the scene. They recorded an unreleased track, "She Got Her Own," which they performed at a Sweetener World Tour stop and was meant to be released as part of Dangerous Woman. They've also released a song called "Better Days" to support Black Lives Matter, and Victoria did a heavy amount of work on the Christmas masterpiece Christmas & Chill.
Clearly, this is also a reference to The Twins, Ari's identical backup dancers, but it's also about weed. Back before Ice Cube was old, he was one of the OGs. In one of his films roles, Friday, Cube's co-star Chris Tucker refers to two dime bags of marijuana as "twinny, twin, twin." Working so hard that you need a smoke break makes a lot more sense than working so hard you need two hot backup dancers, if you really think about it.
Most Ari stans will already know this, but "Remember when we made a f*ckin' album off that Clicquot?" is a reference to the writing process for Thank U, Next. In an interview with Billboard, Ari joked that she and her crew drank ridiculous amounts of champagne, to the extent that while most people are 60 percent water, they're "60 percent pink Veuve Clicquot." That rose champagne will run you between $50 and $60 per bottle, just FYI.
Speaking of the twinny twin twins, the pink beanie-d man whose faces were superimposed between Victoria and Ari's legs were actually two pink beanie-d men. Scott and Brian Nicholson are Ari's twin backup dancers, who have danced for Ari since way back in the day during the Yours Truly days. The Twins have appeared in music videos for "Baby I," "Right There," "Almost Is Never Enough," "The Way," "Problem," "Break Free," "Santa Tell Me," and of course, "Thank U, Next."
When Ari shows us her discography, she includes all five of her major albums, "Thank U, Next," and "7 Rings." So where TF is Christmas & Chill? Let's not pretend like Christmas & Chill is anything less than a banger and an important part of Ari's artistic development. The EP also made it to number 34 on the Billboard 200, but whatever, NBD apparently. What can I say? I stan that album.
In a cute little Easter Egg, Ari included emojis with some positive words of affirmation like "positivity," "light," "healing," and "cash," the type of energy we can all use in 2019. She also threw out the word loyalty, which she paired with a ring emoji. Y'all, that is just too cute. Ari's friendship bop "7 Rings" is all about loyalty, and she managed to sneak a reference to her Day 1s (and to her record-breaking hit song) in a blink-or-you-miss-it moment at 1:33.
As important as it is to shout out the good things, for true spiritual healing, you have to throw out the bad. Ari gets rid of negativity and haters at the 1:42 mark, but she also throws out the major pox on humanity that is Tr*mp. Victoria jumps in with her own contribution, saying "hell nah" to the POTUS (Pathetic Oaf That Upsets SanePeople). Even while having a fun, lighthearted dance party, Ari and Victoria have their priorities straight. Register to vote at the Sweetener World Tour, guys. Seriously.
Social House are a pop duo signed under Ari's manager Scooter Braun who have collaborated with our pop queen on "thank u, next," "goodnight n go," "7 Rings," and the unreleased Mac Miller-inspired ballad "ReMeMber." Social House produced and co-wrote "Monopoly," and in an interview for the Zach Sang Show, Ari and Victoria talked about how they often play the board game Monopoly with Social House, making them the perfect contributors to this track. Social House is an opening act on the Sweetener World Tour, so we haven't seen the last of them.
This music video was directed by Ari's tour photographers Alfredo Flores and Ricky Alvarez. Yup, *that* Ricky Alvarez. It had been speculated that Ari's ex would be joining her on tour in some capacity, and Cosmopolitan floated the idea that he'd be coming along as a tour photographer. Looks like they were right because here he is alongside her longtime photog, Alfredo. Ari is the new queen of being close with her exes, but we were still shook to see Ricky's name in the credits.