“I’d rather be famous instead. I let all that get to my head, I don’t care, I paint the town red.”

It is a different kind of Doja Cat this time with the release of her 4th album Scarlet. It is a rough-around-the-edges record with a predominantly rap approach and a proclivity to explicit lyrics and themes. Prepare to get your sub-frequencies blasted, and yes we do mean the bass on your speakers.

The album opens with Paint The Town Red, with a looping sample from the Dionne Warwick classic Walk On By. This signifies the new musical direction she’s taking. This is her response to critics who has been on her since the beginning. It has a hint of modern rappers’ cadences such as Kendrick Lamar and similar artists. This goes straight to the next track Demons, trolling believers who think she already sold her soul to the devil. The music video is also the stuff of nightmares. Check it out yourself if you don’t believe.

The third track, which title we will not write, hits hard. Enough said. The production so far is bass heavy. The lyrical themes are of what you expect from typical male gangsta rappers – sex and violence. Doja Cat’s rapping skills and rhyming definitely took a hard left turn. This most especially on the fourth track F.T.G. hardlined with its accompanying beat talking about the big deal about female artists competing against each other. Ouchies is a mix of Timbaland-ish dancehall reminiscent of Missy Elliott while 97 continues on the theme of doing things Doja’s way without any care.

The next track, Gun, is all about sex – at least the way Doja Cat knows how. Go Off is more of a hype-up positive type of track about herself and what she embodies laced in a trap beat. The hater callout continues on track 9, Shutcho, to which some may seem to appear close to Doja Cat and the 10cc sample I’m Not In Love still sticks well.

Track 10, Agora Hills, is not about the place. It’s about Doja Cat and her man, how she feels about him, explicitly or otherwise. We’ll let you be the judge what she wants with her man. This is a sea change on the mood of this back half, compared to the earlier tracks. Can’t Wait is a continuation of her love bombing to her partner, mixing singing with clear and easy rapping. Think of this as the PG version to the Rated X Agora Hills. The twelfth track Often is a R&B-laced track and is mostly sung than rapped. Track 13, Love Life, shows a side of Doja Cat that is thankful to everything positive that has happened in her life and overcoming struggles.

Skull And Bones has a great 70’s funk style instrumental with Doja rapping about her so-called change of image coming from critics and addresses her truth. Attention has a steady hip-hop beat with Doja’s playful and funny delivery of addressing the matter of her critics. Balut (which is a dead duck delicacy from the Philippines) has a Ric Flair introduction with another hit to her naysayers. The album closer WYM Freestyle is more of an informal freestyle capping off what her past trajectory was from being a pop-oriented singer and her self-criticism of selling out from her previous albums to her intended musical direction being rap, at the moment.

With this album, Doja Cat has proven enough to be more than capable of carrying her own torch on a genre where all eyes were on her. Scarlet may be far from a perfect rap record but it showed a side of Doja that was enjoying what she has done and doesn’t care about all the negatives. The streaming numbers speak volumes, people.


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