Words: Tracy Mitchell

Images: Miguel Crespo

RESPECT. Founder: Jonathan Rheingold

Story and photos COPYRIGHT MUSINART LLC 2019

What an extraordinary year it’s been so far for women in Hip-Hop. We are seeing more personality than ever out of the genre’s queens, who are more outspoken and expressing who they really are in both their music and fashion. As a result, it’s led to the most exciting releases we’ve seen in a while.

One woman that’s been marching to the beat of her own colorful drum is recording artist Doja Cat. At 23, she is already iconic; not only because of her music, but also through her charming and fresh personality. She is no overnight success, though: her grind to the top includes 5 years of her being herself, building an organic loyal fanbase, and just doing what she loves to do. Her comedic single “Mooo!” caused so much viral attention; what started off as a joke between her fans became an influential boost to her career. In 2018, she released her debut album Amala via RCA records, and that project solidified why Doja is here to stay. The album is joyful, refreshing, and vibrant, and made us recognize that she’s truly in a class all her own. She recently collaborated with another bold female music artist — Rico Nasty — for their smash “Tia Tamera.” Once again, she proved that she’s good at what she does, and the possibilities for her are endless.

RESPECT. had a chance to speak to Doja Cat about her album, along with common misconceptions, her style, and life as an artist. Doja Cat is everything, and her looks are just as beautiful as the music she makes. Check out the interview below.

RESPECT.: You’re having a really great year so far, I have to say.

Yeah, it’s crazy it’s definitely been surreal. It’s definitely the one year that allowed me to blossom.

RESPECT.: This journey all started on SoundCloud right?

Yeah, definitely on SoundCloud, because I was too young for Myspace.

RESPECT.: I want to know what your first thoughts were coming into the music industry.

My first thoughts were kind of like, there were almost no thoughts. I kind of trusted a lot of people. I guess I’m a viral artist. I didn’t really blow up overnight. I’ve been blowing up for a while. These last 5-6 years kind of been a learning experience for me. I feel like coming into the music industry for me was a slow process, but it all worked out in the end.

RESPECT.: I could only imagine being somebody that grew up having to move from place to place. I guess that could’ve gave you tough skin for this industry.

Yeah well, the thing is when you’re going into the music industry knowing who you are and what you want it’s better. It is really important because if you don’t know they will figure it out for you. They will take that freedom and creativity and they’ll maybe try to do their own twist. Sometimes that can fall flat because a label is a bank and sometimes, they don’t have creative ideas. It’s just a business thing you know. For me, I knew what I wanted before I was even involved with it. I wasn’t the best at making it look the way I wanted but every time things worked out. It’s been really fun for me.

RESPECT.: I know you don’t want to talk about “Mooo!” I’d honestly be sick of talking about the same song forever if I was an artist.

Nope! A lot of people want me to be sick of “Mooo!” I haven’t got sick of it yet and I think it’s expected. It’s kind of predictability of it. Makes me look like I don’t like what I do. Like I’m somehow tired of the sing. “Mooo!” is one of the favorite songs I’ve ever made. I think it’s one of the funniest songs I’ve ever made and I’m super proud of it. The song was a joke. Being in the industry is like school. People wanting you to feel like the bud of the joke. The thing is I made the joke. I love the song. So, you know it’s okay. Totally cool to talk about it.

RESPECT.: Did you produce that too, by the way?

Yeah, it was a sample and I did the drums.

RESPECT.: I feel like it took a long time for people to take your artistry seriously. What are your thoughts on that?

I think it was the “Moo!” song people and people laughing at that piece of art that I did. What’s crazy is if I kept making music like that people will be like oh, she’s joking. She’s a comedian. I am goofy like everyone else is. My main thing is music and I am never going to stop making it.

RESPECT.: You produce, you write, like you really do this!

Thank you! No matter what people are going to see that. Especially with my new music on the way. They will really get to see it.

RESPECT.: In one of your recent interviews I heard that you don’t like listening to rap music because you feel like it will switch up your own sound.

Yeah! I’m easily influenced.

RESPECT.: One thing that’s super relatable with you is that you’re always in your room on Instagram live making some dope music. Do you feel like your bedroom is where you make the best stuff at?

It’s kind of like I make magic there. I don’t know, it’s hard sometimes because when you go to the studio with people you don’t know are there, I get a brain fart often. I have that a lot. I think I’ll want to build a studio in my house one day. A lot of studios are kind of boring.

RESPECT.: Yeah, we need like some Super Mario posters plastered everywhere to get the vibe going.

You know, exactly! Like shag rugs and rainbow walls. Good equipment.

RESPECT.: Do you have your own stylist? These outfits you wear, are they all you?

Yeah, I have no stylist. It’s so bad. There are days I don’t have one or a hairstylist. My wigs are like $30 a piece.

RESPECT.: I saw someone tried to come for you on Twitter about that.

Yeah, no, people definitely like to be like, ‘Doja, your wig. Pull it forward!’ I am like, ‘dude, I don’t know, I am not a wig person.’ I do all my makeup, my hair, my clothing, like everything.

RESPECT.: I like that you wear the blush on the nose and the cheeks!

It’s like an internet trend actually. I am constantly on my laptop so the different fashion things I find are on Pinterest.

RESPECT.: I see you have Doja shirts available.

Yeah, I have a new logo so I’m selling shirts and thongs on my website.

RESPECT.: Your collaboration with Rico Nasty for “Tia Tamera” made the perfect team. I want to know how important girl power is to you.

I think it’s important. I like it. I think what matters the most even more than girl power is real genuine music. Music that comes from a place of passion. There’s a lot of people who don’t like the competitiveness of female rappers but that’s hip-hop. No matter what I never want to let go of that. I love Rico so much artistically that of course I wanted her on a song with me. I didn’t get her on the song just because she’s a girl. It’s more so about the fact that she is fantastic, and I love her.

RESPECT.: I love how you two are so free spirited. You two are so refreshing to the industry. Is there another female rapper you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Tierra Whack. She’s great! I like the more artsy people. Rico is the best of both worlds to me. She’s artsy but she’s kind of cool and urban.

RESPECT.: What is a common misconception about Doja Cat?

That I am hateful of everybody. We can talk about this all day but I don’t discriminate against anyone. Not for any race, sexual orientation, religion anything at all. I love people. I love women, I love men, I love animals. People enjoy chaos. I understand it’s human nature. It happens to everyone. It happens to the best of us. Everyone has an opinion.

RESPECT.: Amala was a beautiful project. You’re really doing the damn thing and you have another project on the way. What growth have you had since Amala?

A lot. Like a whole lot. When I was making that album, I wasn’t using a midi board and I wasn’t as good as I am on the piano keys now. Towards the end of that album I started picking up beat making. I started singing every day and learning how to get better at that. I’ve grown a lot with my voice and understanding different aesthetics about myself and learning how to achieve that. I am half African and because of my dad I like the elements they use in their music. I love to add that and mesh it with rap music. I think I’m definitely going to keep doing music like that.

RESPECT.: “Whine me up?” You previewed a song with those lyrics on your IG live and I’ve been waiting for it.

What? Oh f*ck. I love that f**king song. Definitely! We’re working on finishing the verse with that song. I’m so glad you asked. I want to put that out for sure.

RESPECT.: Are we going to hear any collabs with Kenny Beats on the project?

I want to say yes but I can’t promise anything. Maybe not this next one but a single yes definitely. I would love to.

RESPECT.: I didn’t ask you anything about your tour life. You did Coachella. Have you had a show this week?

Yes, I’ve been doing festivals and shows and lately I’ve been having the most fun I’ve ever had. I just did one called soundset. Best festival I’ve ever done. Festivals are usually hot and they always want to do them in the daytime. The heat beaming on me and all. This one was so perfect, fun, easy, never seen that many people out and about in my life.

RESPECT.: What’s your favorite city to perform in.

Paris, Houston, and Amsterdam.

RESPECT.: Do you feel like you have anything to prove?

No. I can become more competitive when it comes to singing and go get some lessons but nope! I feel good.

RESPECT.: Do you ever think about 20 years from now? Do you think about what’s it’s going to be like?

As long as I keep practicing the possibilities are endless. I want to direct and be more involved in my music videos. I want to pick up acting and maybe start my own talk show.