Grande, who did not attend this year’s ceremony due to an alleged dispute with the show’s producers, fired off a string of tweets when Cardi made history as the category’s first ever female solo winner for her 2018 album Invasion of Privacy.
Miller, who died in September, had received a posthumous nomination for his album, Swimming, and Grande’s messages appeared to take aim at the Recording Academy for inviting the late rapper’s parents to the awards show in the knowledge that he would not receive a trophy.
As Cardi took to the stage to receive her trophy, Grande tweeted “trash,” followed by “f***” and “Literal b******,” before seeming to think better of the candid outpouring and tweeted “sry” to her fans. She deleted the posts shortly after.
Followers quickly began to speculate that the singer might be throwing shade at Cardi, but Grande was quick to clear up any confusion about the intent of her messages.
When one fan wrote “Ariana isn’t shading Cardi it’s cause Mac didn’t win,” she appeared to confirm their viewpoint, telling them: “Nothing to do w her. Good for her. I promise. I’m sorry.”
After another described the rapper as “trash,” Grande responded: “She’s not at all and that’s not what I meant and u know that.”
One fan told Grande that she " shouldn't have tweeted" about Cardi's win, prompting her to respond: "THEY INVTED [MILLER'S] PARENTS OUT."
"Karen was gonna have a green suit made," she added, in reference to Miller's mother.
Despite her apparent grievances with the Recording Academy, the night also saw Grande win her first ever Grammy for Best Pop Album, an experience which the singer described as "wild and beautiful."
"I know I’m not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things… this is wild and beautiful," she wrote on Twitter.
In a video recorded backstage at the ceremony, Cardi dedicated her win to Miller, promising that she was "sharing this Grammy" with the late star.