by Olivia Mintz
She didn't quit music after all. Doja Cat released her fourth studio album Scarlet in the midst of her controversy. In recent months, Doja Cat has been called out on social media for being rude to her fans as well as claiming that her music was a series of “cash grabs.” Though her most recent albums Hot Pink and Planet Her have been praised for being fun albums to listen to, she believes that they did not represent her artistry. Through her new demonic persona, Doja uses Scarlet to drop her former pop-girl image.
Doja starts off strong with her single “Attention,” released in June. This track is closer to traditional hip-hop and sets a different tone from many of her previous singles. “Attention” has a very sinister vibe to it, but the lyrics make it known that she is back and is disregarding the hate she has been receiving. She also talks about her change in appearance and even disses her fans since she is trying something new.
Since this was the first glimpse listeners had into Scarlet, many believed that most of the album would mimic the style of “Attention.” This is somewhat true, as the latter half of the album has heavier modern rap influences while the first half takes inspiration from the 1990s and 2000s. “Agora Hills,” for example, sounds very nostalgic and dreamy with its drum kicks and hi-hats carrying the piece. The music video further demonstrates this vibe with a Y2K-esque setting. This track is a contrast to the rest of the album, however, as it is more romantic than confident.
Doja is very self-assured throughout this album with tracks like “Paint the Town Red,” “Ouchies,” and “WYM Freestyle.” “Paint the Town Red” the first song on the album sets up the main idea of Doja writing off her haters. The piece sounds very upbeat and positive with the trumpets from the sample used. On a similar note, “Ouchies” focuses on Doja’s strategy to combat opposition, which is “fight and ice.” In “WYM Freestyle,” she talks about her accolades and claims that she will still be relevant despite the hate she has been getting online.
Scarlet served as an album to showcase Doja Cat’s rapping ability as she has not been taken seriously in hip-hop, specifically on her last single, “Balut.” This track has a lot of wordplay based on her own life and what people have said about her.
The album was worth listening to because Doja wanted to demonstrate a style change but the message of altering her image was drilled to the ground. With this, some of her songs sounded too similar lyrically and lacked variety in terms of substance. To some degree, she did fall short in the intention of changing her sound. Though “Paint the Town Red” is dominating the charts, it could’ve easily been on her previous projects. In terms of production, the songs “Wet Vagina,” “Shutcho,” and “Demons” sound like slight variations of each other. The rap flows sound almost identical.
Doja Cat has proven that she can be a versatile artist – will her next work venture further into rap, or will she try something else?