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doja cat at the 2023 iheartradio music awards
doja cat at the 2023 iheartradio music awards
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Culture > Entertainment

Doja Cat’s New Album Puts Her Alter Ego Front & Center

Shortly after her song  “Paint The Town Red” reached No. 1 on the Billboard 100, Grammy-Award-winning artist Doja Cat released her sophomore album, Scarlet. Announcing her new album with a caption that said “no features” on Sept. 12, Doja Cat had fans around the world awaiting what’s next in her music career. The album has 17 tracks, but its title, Scarlet, doesn’t come from any of the songs — instead, Scarlet is the name of Doja Cat’s alter ego. Wait, what? Allow me to explain.

On May 9, 2023, Doja Cat bluntly tweeted in now-deleted posts that her last two albums Hot Pink and Planet Her were mediocre cash-grab music, and we fell for it. Furthermore, she wrote, “Now I can disappear somewhere and touch grass with my loved ones on an island while y’all weep for mediocre pop.” Then on June 16, 2023, Doja dropped her single ”Attention,” which many critics described as giving a glimpse of the relationship between Doja and her fans with lyrics such as “Look at me / Look at me,” and then Doja briefly pauseing before singing, “You lookin’?” The music video also was Scarlet’s first appearance (she’s the one covered head to toe in blood) and several wax statues of Scarlet were scattered in Chicago to promote the upcoming album.

With many fans and critics creating theories behind the meaning of “Attention,” Doja shed some light on the inspiration for her recent music in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. During the interview, Doja Cat emphasized how she wanted to channel her earlier music influencers, from rap to hip hop in the ’90s. Additionally, Doja delved into how in the video and lyrics, she intended to subtly show the relationship between her fans while having a more “pulled back style.” She further emphasized that despite wearing costumes — which she still loves to do — she wanted to focus on the message, being her authentic self regardless of the type of attention she receives.

Regarding Scarlet, Doja wants people to see that you deserve to be whoever you want to be. At 1:39 in the interview, she describes Scarlet as being a symbol of the imagination of self and rebirth through a new beginning. In the “Attention” music video, the distorted faces resemble fans and other people who may not agree with her recent life choices. Nevertheless, Doja is seen walking in the opposite direction, unbothered. In a live video that made the rounds on TikTok, Doja reaffirmed that Scarlet represents a long list of things including pain, vulnerability, transformation and that she’s glad Scarlet can be a physical symbol of these feelings.

In addition to formally announcing Scarlet — Doja’s first new record since Planet Her in 2021 — Doja also revealed the Scarlet Tour, which will include Ice Spice and Doechii as openers. Ultimately, Doja wants to embody Scarlet to showcase “the effort that you have to put into pushing out this new person.”  Will Scarlet be the rebirth of Doja’s musical style and influence? Only time will tell.

Eliana Jacobs is a National Contributing Writer for Her Campus. Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Eliana writes articles about lifestyle, Her 20s, and career-related goals/activities. Before becoming a national writer, Eliana wrote under the UCF Her Campus Chapter,where she wrote about health and wellness. Additionally, she has a passion for social justice, advocacy, and race-related news. Beyond Her Campus, Eliana also writes flash fiction and poetry for the nation’s largest student-run organization, Strike Magazine. Some of her most recent publications include Life In Plastic: It’s “Fantastic”. Eliana also was awarded multiple honorable mentions for her writing during her undergraduate career in her school’s Tutors’ Choice Flash Fiction Contest. Lastly, she recently graduated from the University of Central Florida, earning a dual degree in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies on a Pre-Medical Track. Ultimately, Eliana aspires to pursue an MD/MPH to specialize in Pediatric Endocrinology while intersecting her passion for public health through medical research, poetry, and journalism. In her free time, Eliana enjoys shopping, working out, and traveling. Lastly, Eliana loves exploring local cuisines and documenting restaurants she tried (Orlando and beyond) on her food Instagram.