Scarlet 2 CLAUDE

Scarlet 2 CLAUDE

“I never learned to superstar from a textbook,” Doja Cat snarls towards the end of “Attention,” a song that’s all at once a boom-bap showcase, an R&B slow-burner, and a canny summary of her against-the-odds success. Those who remember Doja’s breakthrough (a viral 2018 joke song, “Mooo!”, whose DIY video had her shoving french fries in her nose in front of a homemade green screen) probably wouldn’t have predicted that a few years later, the girl in the cow suit would be a household name. But for Doja, being an internet goofball and a multiplatinum pop star aren’t just compatible, they’re complementary—a duality attuned to her audience’s craving for realness. With her fourth album, Scarlet, the maverick adds “formidable rapper” to her growing list of distinctions. In since-deleted tweets from April 2023, Doja made a pledge: “no more pop,” she wrote, following up with a vow to prove wrong the naysayers doubting her rap skills. Scarlet makes good on that promise, particularly its first half, a far cry from the sugary bops on 2021’s star-making Planet Her. Instead she hops between hard-edged beats that evoke NYC in ’94 or Chicago in 2012, crowing over the spoils of her mainstream success while playfully rejecting its terms. “I’m a puppet, I’m a sheep, I’m a cash cow/I’m the fastest-growing bitch on all your apps now,” she deadpans on “Demons,” thumbing her nose at anyone who conflates glowing up with selling out. And on “97,” the album’s best pure rap performance, she embraces the troll’s mantra that all clicks are good clicks, spitting, “That’s a comment, that’s a view, and that’s a rating/That’s some hating, and that’s engagement I could use.” Behind the provocations, though, is an artist with the idiosyncratic chops to back them up. That’s as true in Scarlet’s lusty midsection as it is on its gulliest rap tracks: No one else would interrupt a dreamy love song (“Agora Hills”) to giggle in Valley Girl vocal fry, “Sorry, just taking a sip of my root beer!” (No one, that is, but Nicki Minaj, Doja’s clearest influence, who paved the way for women who juggle art-pop with hip-hop bona fides.) As catchy as it is contrarian, Scarlet offers a suggestion: Maybe it’s Doja’s willingness to reject the premise of being a pop star that makes her such a compelling one. On the album’s sweetest track, “Love Life,” she takes in her view from the top—still the weirdo her fans met in a cow suit but more confident in her contradictions. “They love when I embrace my flaws/I love it when they doin’ the same,” she raps softly. “I love it when my fans love change/That’s how we change the game.”

Disc 1

Disc 2

Other Versions

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada