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“Planet Her” secures Doja Cat’s place in pop superstardom

Welcome to Planet Her. Right now, it’s Doja’s world and we’re just happy to share it with her. On Friday, the California rapper and singer released her highly anticipated, third studio album titled Planet Her— a conceptual project that lures audiences and listeners into a Doja-dominated orbit.

But if you’ve been following Doja’s career since (at least) 2019 after her second studio album Hot Pink dropped, you’ve been here a while. In the past year and a half, Doja has been launched into virality on TikTok several times over, been nominated for three Grammy awards, and consistently stunned social media with her grandiose, high production performances.

Notably, on the concept and inspiration behind her new album, Doja Cat tells Youtube’s RELEASED, “I feel like for the most part, I do this whole space vibe, this whole futuristic thing just to have an excuse to [put] insane looking makeup on.” And speaking of insane makeup looks, the rollout for Planet Her has been nothing short of perfection. 

The aesthetics surrounding her makeup, award show outfits, performances, and music videos have been entirely cohesive with the space theme of the album and have successfully enticed people into awaiting not only the album’s drop but what Doja is going to do next.

However, the pendulum of fame and high visibility has also often swung against Doja’s favor. In her short time at the forefront of the public eye, the 25-year-old has found herself in a slew of almost-image-altering controversies. 

Around this time last year, Doja was accused of being in racist chat rooms that she denied having involvement in. But she did, however, have to apologize for an old song she recorded and released in 2015 called “Dindu Nuffin”: The song gets its name from a phrase, or slur, that makes a mockery of AAVE as well as Black people’s claim of innocence when enduring instances of police brutality.

Doja has also had to apologize for using homophobic slurs and faced criticism for working with producer Dr. Luke, since the beginning of her career, who was accused of sexual misconduct; most notably by Kesha— whose legal battle with the disgraced producer is still an ongoing case. 

All things considered, Doja’s quick rise to fame may have seen some road bumps but her success hasn’t been stopped yet. Amidst all the aforementioned controversy, she’s still achieved a number one single, collabed with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Chloe x Halle, and Saweetie, and won numerous critically acclaimed awards, including New Artist of the Year at last year’s American Music Awards.

And Doja herself had something to say about it all on the opening track of the album titled “Woman.” “I’m a motherfucker but they got a problem… gotta prove it to myself that I’m on top of shit,” she says. The song’s sound honestly came as a surprise for me. Nevertheless, it sets a pleasant tone to Planet Her with an ethereal-sounding production accompanied by African-inspired beats. 

Once you think you’ve pinner her down, Doja keeps subverting expectations. On the fourth track titled “Get Into It (Yuh),” Doja plays around with a rap style reminiscent of Coi Leray’s and also pays slight homage to Nicki Minaj’s older rap flow. She even goes so far as to give Nicki her flowers as the second verse of the song sounds similar to Minaj’s song “Massive Attack”; which Doja acknowledges and references at the end of the track. “Thank you Nicki, I love you. Got that big rocket launcher,” she says.

There were times throughout the album I was waiting for Doja to explore subjects a bit more personal or at least offer listeners some insight into who Doja is as a person or artist rather than a persona. However, I also think personability wasn’t really the point of this project. Planet Her is meant to feel other-worldly, fantastical, and dripped in female sensuality. Those themes, at least, remain consistent from the album’s start to its finish. 

The only exception is the song “Alone,” produced by Linden Jay and Yeti Beats, which seems to illustrate a breakup and how Doja is learning to be comfortable being alone. “Maybe you don’t want what you need the most. Is it crazy I’m not scared to be alone?” Doja says in the chorus. A hint of vulnerability I welcome.

Overall, the tracks that stood out the most for me were two of the album singles “Need to Know” and “Kiss Me More (feat. SZA)” as well as “Ain’t Shit” and “I Don’t Do Drugs (feat. Ariana Grande).” And I’m not just saying that because I’m an Ari stan.

Doja also dropped a music video for her third single “You Right” that features The Weekend on Thursday night right before the album was released. The video, directed by Quentin Deronzier, mixes the aesthetic of Greecian Gods with futuristic visuals as Doja pines for the attention of another romantic partner. 

Needless to say, every aspect of marketing and world-building for Planet Her, including the quality of the album itself, has been stellar (pun intended). For better or for worse, whether people like it or not, Doja Cat is clearly here to stay. With each album release, Doja’s sound, production, and collaborations show significant improvement. 

She never stays in one lane too long. At the same time, she gives her albums maximum effort and time to breathe before moving on to the next project. Doja is also bringing back album concepts á la Lady Gaga’s Born this Way or Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream in a way that’s simply captivating without being gimmicky. 

In truth, Planet Her might’ve just secured Doja Cat’s place in pop superstardom. With an album this well pulled off, after following the success of Hot Pink, Doja’s future in the music industry looks very bright. And frankly, we can’t wait to see what she pulls off next.

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By Ebony Purks

Ebony Purks is a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional writing. She is currently a freelance writer and Junior Life Editor at The Tempest. Ebony specializes in writing about pop culture, social justice, and health, especially examining the many intersections between those subjects. Though when she’s not writing, she’s rewatching her favorite comfort shows or excessively tweeting.