Album: Hot Pink
Artist: Doja Cat
Record Labels: Kemosabe Records and RCA Records
Recommended Tracks: Track 4 – Bottom Bitch and Track 6- Like That (feat. Gucci Mane)
Doja Cat’s popularity may have spawned out of memedom, but she has far exceeded the limitations and expectations allotted to a typical viral sensation nowadays. If you’ve never heard of Doja Cat, you’ve likely still seen her in a low cut cow print top, potentially with fries up her nose, singing about how despite her name, she is not a cat, but a cow. The video for her breakout hit “Mooo!” has amassed over 57 million views since its release a little over a year ago in August. The video posesses just enough absurdity, sex appeal, and genuine quality singing and rapping to make it ripe for internet virality. However instead of looking at this as some sort of opportunity to delve into meme-y content future forward, Doja used her new exposure to further her more serious musical ventures. I was surprised, as I’m sure many others were, when after the “Mooo!” video she had already dropped a couple EPs, and had recently dropped her debut album Amala, based off of her given name. Even more surprising, a lot of the music in her catalog was really good! Off of Amala, “Go To Town”, “Juicy”, “Tia Tamera”, and “Wild Beach” are a couple tracks that displayed her versatility and potential for stardom. However Amala was dropped before the sensation of “Mooo!”, and while she released a deluxe edition to include it as well as some of her more polished newer tracks, there was still a sense that her big industry breakthrough could still be on the horizon. That breakthrough comes in the form of Hot Pink, an airtight 40 minutes with 3 A-list features, exhibiting more polish and popiness than Amala. To me, this album is much more successful than not as Doja’s debut in the big time. Overall, I’d give it a 4/5 . It isn’t the most inventive pop album ever, and I do wish that Doja rapped a little more, but the tracklist is chock full of fun bangers that show why Doja is one of the most entertaining pop acts right now.
My first standout track, “Bottom Bitch” was released earlier on as a single. The track employs a warm distorted guitar, a kick and clap combo crispier than autumn leaves, and pimping terminology to craft an infectiously warm friendship anthem that would undoubtedly bang cruising around with friends as the accompanying music video depicts. The guitar is in fact a sample of blink-182’s iconic hit “What’s My Age Again?” transposed down, which creates a perfect milky, nostalgic backdrop on which Doja lays down audacious and punky yet loving verses with a minor layer of vocal manipulation. This song feels like the drive home after a night of shenanigans with friends, and its youthful spirit is incredibly fun and infectious. The song isn’t incredibly intricate, but it is a very individual direction for a female pop act right now. Doja also is credited as the lead producer on the track, showing her potential when it comes to song construction past performance.
The collaboration that goes over best on the record is “Like That” which features Gucci Mane. Guwop doesn’t come in with a super inspired verse, but Doja makes the song irresistibly catchy with the stickiest book potentially on the album. This track shows another thing Doja flashes throughout her catalogue, and that’s her collection of inflections. While not quite to the extent of Nicki Minaj’s character rapping, Doja can come in softly on a track, floating a chorus reminiscent of something Ariana Grande might do, and then ride a trap beat as well as or better than most trap rappers out right now, and then she can punctuate a track with a gorgeous R&B refrain. This track has each of those, and while I think Doja could command more attention as a performer, singer, rapper, and producer, I think her versatility and potential makes for lots of exciting tracks.
On Doja Cat’s next venture, I hope she is able to carve out a sound that feels more individual to her instead of exploring others sounds, as interesting as the marriage of those sounds through her persona is. Tracks like “Bottom Bitch” and some of the less poppy, self produced cuts are really exciting to me, as even though they may not hit or have commercial everytime, I find them to be some of the more long lasting tracks as far as appeal. However, Doja is a self proclaimed crafter of sticky hooks, and I hope she doesn’t strays from her pop roots for a while, because she’s definitely an exciting voice to have around the mainstream. If you like Doja Cat, I would check out Kali Uchis, Jorja Smith, or cupcakKe. I’d definitely check out this album if you’re a fan of pop rap, need some extra energy in your life, and also if you don’t mind having hooks stuck in your head for days.