A Star is Born: The Inimitable Doja Cat

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for RCA

Doja Cat exploded onto the pop music scene in what would come to be prophetic fashion. Armed with a unique aesthetic and all the know-how of Gen Z music, the star is now one of the biggest names in commercial, charting music. But, her rise to the top wasn’t all rainbows and roses. Here’s how Doja picked up the pieces of viral internet fame and defied the odds of being a one hit wonder.

Her Only Career: Music

Like many music lovers in this series, Doja too began sharing her music to SoundCloud as a teenager. Her pursuit to superstardom began long before her hits peppered the Hot 100 singles charts and music surveys world over. To deem her journey a meteoric one would be befitting considering the fact that years of niche audiences and not-quite-there hits accompanied her efforts.

And, while that may put a few people off their chosen path, Doja stuck to her guns. In fact, the rapper once revealed that she considered becoming a YouTuber; a beauty vlogger. But, after a brief stint with exactly one video, she decided that music was her onward journey of choice. She said, “I’ve never had a job except for this. I’ve never worked a cash register”. And, staying on the path would soon prove to be a rollercoaster ride.

At the age of 17, Doja Cat signed an official record deal with RCA Records and Kemosabe Records. And, soon, the star released her debut EP, “Purrr!”. The 5-track project featured tracks like ‘So High’, ‘No Police’, ‘Control’, and more. What followed was a string of single releases, collaborations and more. Further, she put out her debut album, “Amala” in 2018. The 13-tracker featured songs like ‘Candy’, ‘Body Language’, and more – songs which would soon become hits on her discography. But, hopes and dreams aside, the project was met with low to middling success. In fact, quite dramatically, Wikipedia calls it a critical and commercial failure.

But, undeterred, Doja Cat continued to create. Now, some of the most enticing qualities about her music and artistic persona are – discovery and perspective. And, while these may seem like deep insights, that’s not what we’re angling at. Doja just does things differently. And, the perspective and that a listener tracks when listening to one of her songs isn’t the kind that you’d associate with soul-searching; quite simply – it’s the kind you can only associate with Doja herself. And, a perfect example of that is the track – ‘MOOO!’.

The Advent of ‘MOOO!’

For anyone that thinks Doja got big with ‘Say So’, you’re not entirely wrong. But, you’re missing out an essential puzzle piece – the ditzy, ironic and entirely meme-worthy track, ‘MOOO!’. This one was the original kid on the block; the one that took over Tik Tok before ‘Say So’ could have its moment.

The track is, as Doja once admitted, “a joke”. And, with lines like “B*tch, I’m a cow/ I’m not a cat/ I don’t say meow” and “Got steak ho?/ Got cheese?/ Grade A ho, not lean”, it’s not hard to accept that sentiment. Speaking of the song, Doja once said, “I wasn’t going to sit and write about a boy, so I wrote this. It was a joke!”.

Well, that “joke” ended up scoring 80 million views and counting, putting her on the radar of millions of chaotic, meme-loving viewers. And, so it began – her reign of the internet.

Doja Cat: The Queen of the Internet

Doja wears the crown of queen of the internet, and it’s for good reason, too. The ‘Like That’ songstress has delivered hit after hit on alternative content platforms. Her track, ‘Say So’, didn’t make it to the music map because of the Hot 100 No. 1 remix with Nicki Minaj. Sure that was a part of it. But, what preceded its success was its virality on Tik Tok. Upon release, the track exploded on the short format content app, and as of today, has accumulated millions of videos to its tune.

And, after ‘Say So’, was ‘Juicy’. And, after ‘Juicy’, was ‘Boss B*tch’. After that? It was literally every track the singer has ever put out. In a test of longevity, the rapper teamed up with Nicki Minaj on a remix of ‘Say So’. Soon after, the track landed atop the Hot 100 singles chart, marking the first time in chart history that the top spot was occupied by two black women.

And, then Doja’s album, “Hot Pink”, entered the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Then, she charted again with her feature on The Weeknd’s ‘In Your Eyes’ remix. Further, she proved naysayers wrong in every capacity as her single, ‘Like That’ soared to the top of the charts.

Record-breaking numbers, millions of streams and a slew of award nominations later, Doja Cat is a certified superstar. With her command over the internet, its quirks and an intuitive understanding of what it takes, Doja has proved what many predicted would happen to the music industry.

It’s not just about major labels, looking good and having a likeable persona. With the advent of alternative content platforms, likeability is an ever-evolving concept. And, with the support and alliance of millions of irony-loving, witty, bad b*tch aspirants, there’s no telling where your music will reach. If you’re Doja Cat, you’ll reach the top.

By: Ahalya Narayanan