Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber's “Stuck With U” just debuted at No. 1, but not everyone is celebrating. Tekashi 6ix9ine is claiming that the pop stars bought their top spot on this week’s Billboard Hot 100, after his rival single “GOOBA” stalled at No. 3. Grande, Bieber, and even Billboard have spoken out, denying his outrageous accusations.
On Monday, the controversial rapper cried fraud on Instagram, tagging @Billboard and captioning a nearly four-minute video rant with the capslocked declaration: “CAUGHT CHEATING. YOU’RE A LIE AND CORRUPT. YOU GOT CAUGHT CHEATING AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW.”
“So listen — I want the world to know that Billboard is a lie. You can buy No. 1s on Billboard,” 6ix9ine said in the video post. He went on to claim that his “ongoing investigation” had revealed that Grande and Bieber’s team had used “six credit cards” to buy “30,000 units,” in order to inflate “Stuck With U’s” numbers just before last week’s chart deadline.
The rapper also pulled up a screenshot of a spreadsheet on his phone, which he claimed provided evidence that Billboard had “illegally disqualified” roughly 20 million “GOOBA” streams to shut him out of the No. 1 spot. He said his team had reached out to Billboard for an explanation as to how this week’s numbers were tallied, but had been told, “We can’t disclose that information.”
“Billboard doesn’t want no one to know this,” 6ix9ine asserted. He later posted a photo of himself holding up six credit cards, joking, “Don’t worry we going #1 next time.”
Both Grande and Bieber took to Instagram to discredit 6ix9ine’s story. Grande posted a lengthy comment on an Instagram photo of the Hot 100 chart. “I would like to address a few things which i don’t usually do (i don’t give my energy to drama or strange accusations normally but this has gone a little too far)...my fans bought the song,” Grande’s post began. “JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). they are ride or die mother***ers and i thank god every day that i have them in my life. not just when they fight for us to win (even when i ask them not to as i did this week) but because they’re some of the greatest people i know. sales count for more than streams. u can not discredit this as hard as u try.”
Grande also called out 6ix9ine’s sexism, adding: “To anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason.....), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself. be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in. i’ve had a lot of ‘almost number ones’ in my career and i never said a goddamn thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL .... and you should feel that way too.”
Bieber also responded, via his Instagram Stories, echoing Grande’s key point: that a single credit card can only buy a maximum of four units, thus making it impossible that six cards could have made such a massive purchase. “[6ix9ine] is counting his global streams and this is a domestic chart. 60,000 units came because we don’t disclose our numbers until end of week. That’s called strategy. He said 30k was bought with 6 credit cards but that is a lie,” Bieber wrote. He also defended his duet partner, saying, “This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honored to work with her to help raise money for a great cause. If you gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it’s our song.”
Scooter Braun, who manages both Grande and Bieber, did not release his own official statement of denial, but he did retweet the First Responders Children’s Foundation and Grande’s joint post on his Twitter, which seemed to point out — as Bieber had — that “Stuck With U” is in fact a charity single.
#StuckWithU #1 🤍 THANK YOU to everyone who has supported this song. And THANK YOU @ArianaGrande @justinbieber @SB_Projects @scooterbraun this song will truly impact so many first responders on the frontlines of COVID-19 and their families to keep them #FirstRespondersStrong https://t.co/lBQra0bcAn
— First Responders Children's Foundation (@1strcf) May 18, 2020
And finally, things came to such a head that by Monday night, Billboard itself got involved, refuting 6ix9ine’s allegations in a story on its website that broke down just how this week’s chart numbers were calculated. The article explained that while “GOOBA” had more global streams than “Stuck With U,” the chart only counted streams from within the United States. “Overall, ‘Stuck With U’ drew 28.1 million U.S. streams, 26.3 million in radio airplay audience and 108,000 sold in the tracking week. ‘GOOBA’ had 55.3 million U.S. streams, 172,000 in radio airplay audience and 24,000 sold. Those sums resulted in the songs’ respective rankings on this week’s Hot 100,” the article read.
Billboard also denied the notion that only six credit cards were used to buy 30,000 units, insisting that Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data check to ensure that suspicious bulk purchases aren’t padding sales figures. Billboard theorized that Bieber and Grande’s last-minute sales spike was probably due to autographed CDs that went on sale in both artists’ online stores last Thursday.