Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini (born October 21, 1995), known professionally as Doja Cat, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she signed a recording contract with RCA Records in 2014, subsequently releasing her debut extended play, Purrr!, and a series of singles, including "Go to Town", "So High" and "Tia Tamera". Doja Cat rose to prominence in 2018 with her single "Mooo!", which became a viral music video.
Doja Cat released her debut studio album, Amala, in 2018 and a deluxe repackage in 2019. She released the single "Juicy" in August 2019 which debuted at number 83 on the US Billboard Hot 100, earning Doja Cat her first entry on the chart. "Juicy" later peaked at number 45 on the same chart. In November 2019, Doja Cat released her second studio album, Hot Pink.
Amala comes from an artistic family. Her father, Dumisani Dlamini, is a South African actor, composer and film producer best known for Sarafina!. Her Jewish-American mother, Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer, is a painter, and her grandmother was an artist as well. She studied piano and danced as a child and teenager. Her brother would rap to her and she would listen which motivated her to develop her writing and rapping skills. She is noted to be inspired by Erykah Badu, Pharrell, Jamiroquai, PartyNextDoor, and Drake. She has also cited Indian culture, Hinduism, and Japanese culture as inspirations.
2013–2017: Purrr! and collaborations
Doja Cat released her debut single "So High" on the streaming platform SoundCloud in 2013, coming to prominence in March 2014 when she signed to RCA Records then signed a joint venture deal with Kemosabe Records in 2017 and released her debut EP, Purrr! in 2014 (described as "spacey, eastern-influenced R&B" by The Fader). Premiering the video for the single "So High", Vibe described her as an "18-year-old psychedelic prodigy". The song was featured on the TV series Empire soundtrack, on the third episode of the first season. "No Police" was released as the second single from Purrr!. She started releasing more music on SoundCloud and YouTube as she started gaining more attention. In mid-2015 Doja was also signed to OG Maco's label, OGG. Following this signing, the two artists collaborated on "Monster" off of Maco's 2017 album, "Children of the Rage". She had also started collaborating with other artists, such as Elliphant, Hellboy, Skoolie Escobar, Pregnant Boy, and frumhere. On July 13, 2017, Doja Cat was featured on L8LOOMER's single "Right Side". The song was then featured on L8LOOMER's debut album Soulm8s in 2018. During this time, she also released multiple songs that she produced and wrote by herself on her soundcloud account exclusively.
2018–present: Amala and Hot Pink
On February 1, 2018, she released the single "Roll with Us", which was dubbed as the debut single off her debut studio album. On March 9, 2018, she released the second single from her upcoming album, "Go to Town", with an accompanying music video released the same day on her YouTube channel. As of August 2019, the music video has reached 17 million views on the platform. On March 30, 2018, Doja Cat's first full-length debut studio album Amala was released.
On August 10, 2018, Doja Cat released a song titled "Mooo!" on YouTube. The single is a novelty song with absurdist lyrics where she fantasizes about being a cow. Made with the intention of doubling as a meme, the song quickly became a viral music video. The video gathered attention and praise from popular artists such as Chance the Rapper, Katy Perry and Chris Brown. On August 31, she released the single version of "Mooo!". It inspired several jokes and memes while the accompanying music video acquired over 65 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube on August 10.
In February 2019, Doja Cat released her single "Tia Tamera" featuring Rico Nasty, which is the leading single to her deluxe edition of her debut album Amala. The following month, she was featured on the hit YouTube channel Colorsklll with a performance of "Juicy", a song taken from the repackage of the album.
On August 15, 2019, Doja Cat released a remix of "Juicy", featuring Tyga with an accompanying music video. The song debuted at 83 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her first song to reach that chart. The success of "Juicy" also helped her album Amala to chart on Billboard 200 at number 162.
On November 7, 2019, Doja Cat released her second full length album Hot Pink to generally favorable reviews. It peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200.
On December 15, 2019, Doja Cat announced that she had contributed a song to the soundtrack of the superhero film Birds of Prey in which "Boss Bitch" was released as the album's third single.
On March 25, 2020, Doja Cat is set to embark on the Hot Pink Tour, to promote her second studio album. The tour will have fifteen shows spanning across North America, including two Coachella performances.
In September 2018, Doja Cat sparked controversy on social media when her Twitter account history revealed the usage of homophobic slurs. In a tweet dating back to 2015, Doja Cat used the word "faggot" to describe hip-hop artists Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, members of the musical collective Odd Future. Doja Cat initially defended her past homophobic remarks. She stated, "I called a couple people faggots when I was in high school in 2015 does this mean I don't deserve support? I've said faggot roughly like 15 thousand times in my life. Does saying faggot mean you hate gay people? I don't think I hate gay people. Gay is ok." Her response was met by even more backlash, including a critical tweet from Will and Grace actress Debra Messing. In her statement, Messing expressed disappointment with Doja for defending past ignorance and implored her to use her fame and platform for good. Doja Cat has since issued a series of apologies for her derogatory words and deleted her tweets. This led to "collective outrage" on social media, with calls for cancelling support for her work.
- Amala (2018)
- Hot Pink (2019)