After a whirlwind year, including the release of her critically-acclaimed album Planet Her and eight Grammy nominations, Doja Cat wraps up 2021 on the cover of Rolling Stone.
In the interview, the 26-year-old rapper, born Amala Dlamini, opens up about the demands of superstardom and the controversy that has surrounded her career, including allegations that she participated in alt-right chatrooms and recorded a 2015 song “Dindu Nuffin” containing a racist slur.
“I’ve talked about this many times in the past, and I feel like all of that’s been pretty thoroughly explained, and I don’t need to talk about it anymore,” says Doja, who donated $100,000 to the Justice for Breonna Taylor fund after the controversy.
Nas referenced Doja on his 2020 single “Ultra Black,” rapping about being “unapologetically Black” and “the opposite of Doja Cat.” At first, she says that the comments didn’t offend her, but later admits, “It’s just like, ‘This is a human being, a real human being with feelings.’”
She adds, “[I] don’t think it had anything to do with me, to be honest. I think whatever [Nas] was talking about was something that other people kind of planted into his mind. [But] if you’re able to reach that conclusion about me so confidently, there’s no point in ever talking about it.”
She also responds to the debate over whether she should be classified as a rapper or as a pop artist. “Anyone who says that I’m not a rapper is in denial,” she says. “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Doja admits that she’s not a big fan of her stage name, which is derived from her love of cats and a marijuana strain. She tried to change it a few times over the years, but an old manager convinced her not to.
“My image was the pothead hippie girl, and I’m not that,” she says. “[‘SNL’] made a joke the other day that Doja Cat sounds like a Pokémon. And, you know, it didn’t hurt my feelings, but it definitely hurt my feelings.”
Elsewhere, she addresses her relationship with Dr. Luke, who is credited for her chart-topping hit “Say So.” “I don’t think I need to work with him again. I don’t think I need to work with him in the future. I know that,” she says. “I think it was definitely nice of me to work with him.”
While she has no interest in politics (“It just seems like a boring issue. My brain just doesn’t attach to that”), Doja loves experimenting with recipes and is planning a cooking show in the style of Action Bronson’s Vice series, “F**k, That’s Delicious.”
Plus, she reveals that she and Billie Eilish almost collaborated on 2017’s “Bellyache.” “I remember thinking it was so cute. I loved it. I just couldn’t think of anything to write,” Doja says. “It was one of my writer’s-block moments. … And I remember seeing that song blow up and thinking, ‘Good for her. That’s awesome.’ I don’t think the song was for me, though. It was quite hard to write to.”