(born on 1995)
Los Angeles' Doja Cat rose from a viral novelty track to being a mainstream superstar with her smooth, hypnotic R&B-flecked pop songs of sexuality, friendship, and personal power. She gained some significant buzz with her early releases, but it was her 2019 sophomore effort Hot Pink that took Doja Cat to the the top of the Hot 100. Subsequent charting singles and collaborations with SZA and Saweetie further solidified her starpower, and made the arrival of her 2021 album Planet Her all the more hotly anticipated. Doja Cat was born Amala Zandile Dlamini in 1995 in Tarzana, California, the daughter of South African actor Dumisani Dlamini and painter Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer. After moving to New York for a few years, she returned to California with her mother. As a child, she studied piano and took tap, ballet, and jazz dance lessons. She also discovered surfing and breakdancing. By her teens, she was teaching herself to sing and listening to an eclectic mix of hip-hop, indie rock, R&B, and electronic music. She also began recording songs on her computer and in 2014 released her debut EP, Purrr! She quickly found herself with a viral hit with the track "So High." More singles followed, including the languid "Nunchucks" and "No Police," each one grabbing attention online. Another single, "Mooo!," arrived in 2018 and quickly went viral. On the heels of that success, Doja Cat issued her full-length debut album, Amala, which found her expanding upon her dreamy, meme-friendly sound with more hip-hop-, pop-, and R&B-infused tracks, including "Candy" and "Roll with Us." In 2019, she issued an expanded version of Amala that added the singles "Juicy" and "Tia Tamara," featuring Rico Nasty. Her sophomore album, Hot Pink, was quick to follow; with features from Smino, Gucci Mane, and Tyga, the 2019 LP leaned more into the sexually wry aspects of her ever-shifting persona. A Top Ten hit on the Billboard 200, the album's fifth single, "Say So," pushed her even further up the charts. After making a steady rise up the Hot 100 at the start of 2020, the multi-platinum track finally hit number one in May, boosted by a Nicki Minaj remix. After picking up a couple of American Music Awards, Doja carried the momentum from her breakout year into 2021. That year she began appearing alongside established celebrities more frequently, adding a guest feature to Saweetie's single "Best Friend," contributing to an Ariana Grande remix with Megan Thee Stallion, and releasing the SZA-assisted single "Kiss Me More." All of this led up to the June 2021 release of her third full length studio album Planet Her. The album featured guest spots from Young Thug, The Weeknd, JID, and others and its cover art was shot by photographer David LaChappelle.
© Matt Collar /TiVo
© Matt Collar /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 25, 2021 | Kemosabe Records - RCA Records
Pop polymath Doja Cat crossed completely over to the mainstream after her 2019 release Hot Pink. Third album Planet Her puts the emphasis on her versatility and anything-goes stylistic blend, applying even slicker production values to her already radio-friendly sound. The record swings wildly, tackling different sounds almost song to song. Album opener "Woman" is a sultry and bass-heavy track that pulses with a psuedo-Caribbean groove before throwing in the curveball of a Kendrick Lamar-esque rap flow halfway in. The gears switch quickly to hooky rap-singing on the melodic Young Thug-assisted earworm "Payday," slick cosmic R&B on "You Right," featuring a cameo verse from the Weeknd, vaporous indie-adjacent electronic sounds on "Been Like This," and sugary balladry meeting booming bass thumps on the lovestruck yearning of "I Don't Do Drugs" featuring Ariana Grande. All of Doja Cat's various creative wanderings are held together seamlessly by incredibly clean and detail-rich production. Each of her unexpected left turns and potentially clashing marriages of styles are guided into easy landings with expertly placed rhythmic dropouts, ear-catching synth flourishes, and inventive instrumental moves that fill any space that could be awkward or uneven in less-skilled hands. Planet Her's dazzling construction is matched by Doja Cat's controlled performances and a personality that can deliver hypersexualized brags and expressions of tenderness and fragility with the same power. Some of the album's best moments hold space for both, like the lewd yet sweet drift of "Love to Dream," and the pitch-perfect summer anthem "Kiss Me More," which closes out its celebration of lust and the giddy excitement of brand-new love with a verse from SZA. Doja Cat tries something new with almost every orbit on Planet Her. When the production magic keeps up with her boundless spirit, the songs reach a unique hotspot of fun and infectiousness that makes all of Doja Cat's disparate impulses gel into an exhilarating whole. © Fred Thomas /TiVo