Doja Cat Pounces: A Profile of the American Rapper and Singer

A look into Doja Cat’s career.


@LavishRuby / Wikimedia Commons

Here, Doja Cat performs after the release of one of her albums, ‘Hot Pink.’

Being famous isn’t all that great. Celebrities oftentimes fall under scandals and drama that leaves their careers tarnished. As for Doja Cat, new drama has left fans worried about the future of her career. 

Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, professionally known as Doja Cat, found a passion for the arts from a young age. She spent the early years of her life in a Hindu commune in California. There, she would sing bhajans and practiced a style of Indian classical dance called Bharatanatyam. She would eventually leave the commune because she said she felt the religion had kept her away from a “normal” childhood. 

Once she left, Dlamini started engaging in different forms of dance like hip hop and started taking breakdancing lessons. While attending high school, she would take part in dance competitions in Los Angeles. To further pursue her artistic interests, her aunt helped her audition for a performing arts high school in Los Angeles.  

Dlamini struggled in her teenage years. While living in Los Angeles, she and her brother experienced harsh racial discrimination. “People were very racist and rude and unhinged and weird,” she told Rolling Stone. This, coupled with her struggles with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), led her to drop out of high school in her junior year to follow her dreams of producing music.  

Life after high school was not easy for her. Dlamini spent the majority of her time scouring the internet for rhythms and beats, often relying on websites like Myspace, online chat rooms, and YouTube. Using what she learned through dance and singing in her commune and the resources she gathered online, she produced multiple songs that were posted on the popular music share platform SoundCloud under the name “Doja Cat.”  

During this time, she also signed with Kemosabe Records, an imprint of RCA Records, under label executive Dr. Luke.  

Doja’s success has been largely attributed to her songs’ presence in mainstream media. Her first EP, Purrr!, described as “spacey, eastern-influenced R&B” by The Fader, was featured on the hit Fox series “Empire,” In 2019,“Candy,” an R&B rap song, gained attention through the popular video sharing app TikTok after a dance was made out of a segment of the song.

Doja is no stranger to social media platforms. She claims that she would often skip school to go on online chat rooms and social media. Now, the singer has also made her own account on TikTok. Her content is light-hearted and mindless and allows her to show her fans a more loose and casual side of her personality. 

In 2018, Doja released a song titled “MOOO!” In the music video, she dresses up in a cow costume eating a hamburger and drinking a pink milkshake in front of an extremely poor quality green screen. The thumbnail shows her in front of a large hamburger with two french fries sticking out of her nose.  

The song? It’s about her being a cow.  

The lyrics are satirical, playful, yet rhythmically sound. One user on YouTube commented “With everything combined: video, personality, cleverness, melody, etc. . .it’s a classic.”

Her presence on stage is also unmatched. With her experience in dance, Doja can effortlessly create an environment on stage that allows for a flow of artistic movement. She engages with her audience so they feel they are part of her performance, and her visual presentation is boldly defined with her onstage outfits and ethereal dances. 

As much as she can make a concert something magical, real world problems might make things difficult for her. In March, Doja was forced to cancel a show in Paraguay due to severe flooding, an unforeseen circumstance. However, after praising her time in Brazil, fans in Paraguay felt unappreciated and betrayed because of the cancellation. 

Additionally, fans swarmed to social media sites, most notably Twitter, to criticize her for not taking pictures with them after they waited outside her hotel and concert venue in the rain.   

Doja responded in a Twitter post, stating “I’m not sorry.” In other posts she said that she is “not taking pictures again with anybody else after this tour.” In the same post where she states that she is “not sorry,” Doja responded to a comment asking her what she is going to do about the situation. Her response was heated: “i … quit i can’t wait to … disappear and i don’t need you to believe in me anymore.”  

Twitter was lit ablaze as fans were unsure if she was actually quitting. Doja confirmed her previous statements, and that after completing her prior commitments and her tours, she said she will be stepping away from fame.  

Compared to this sudden dump of distressing news, her entrance into mainstream media was more lighthearted. 

“At first, I got into Doja Cat because she was a meme on TikTok with “MOOO!” Susan Ye ’23 said. “Then, I kind of forgot about her until she came out with her most recent album, which really caught my attention because I really liked all the songs on the album.” When I asked her about how she would describe Doja, Ye responded that “Doja Cat is just someone who is so free-flowing and not scared to be herself,” which, if you have seen her in social media platforms and at concerts, comes across as genuine. 

In this year’s Grammy awards, Doja took the award for best pop/duo group performance with singer SZA for their song “Kiss Me More.” In contrast to her usually playful demeanor, she reassured the audience in her acceptance speech: “But this? It’s a big deal.”