The internet made Doja Cat’s 2018 track ‘Moo’ a viral hit, with its infectiously catchy chorus and immediately identifiable aesthetic - so it’s easy to dismiss the L.A. artist as an online celebrity, but that’s such a stretch from the truth.
'Hot Pink' is Doja Cat’s second studio album, and it’s a record stuffed with tracks from every reach of pop, R&B, and funk history - there are remarkable nods to grooves of the ‘70s, electronic pop of the ‘90s, and Noughties hip-hop throughout the 12 songs.
Doja is clearly marking herself out as an artist engaging with her femininity - the glaringly obvious album title and cutesy vocals evidencing this - and it’s something that makes the record that little bit extra likeable, especially in this sexual climate. Doja is also clearly unapologetic; she is who she is and won’t silence herself for anyone.
Layered with quips and bold statements, the lyrics of 'Hot Pink' show us an artist with confidence and assertive. In ‘Rules’, Doja tells a man to “play up my pussy don’t play up my emotions / if you spend some money then maybe I just might fuck you”. Over a nineties-tinged guitar riff and vocoded vocals, ‘Bottom Bitch’ has a trap beat and is a clever-sounding amalgamation of different styles.
Following track ‘Say So’ nods to the funk and grooves of the ‘70s with a modernised almost-house beat, all tied together with Doja’s always perfect vocal performance. We’re taken back to the hip-hop R&B Doja started out in with the Gucci Mane featured track, ‘Like That’ - and it comes clear to me that maybe Doja is at her best when she’s alone. There’s more than enough brought to her solo tracks - a mix of genres and styles, combined with her sing-song vocals and stories of feminine power - there’s nothing to really miss.
The latter half of the album falls slightly, but is brought back to life by final track ‘Juicy’, the genuine standout of the album. The song could be near-perfect if it wasn’t for Tyga’s verse, which feels unnatural. The guest spot brings nothing to the song except an urge to skip past it, and Tyga’s ad libs for the rest of the track make me cringe a little bit - but I’ll forgive Doja, because the rest of the song is sincerely brilliant.
'Hot Pink' is an album that knows exactly what it is, and it’s the work of a well-crafted hip pop star with something to prove.
Words: Erin Bashford
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