Review: Doja Cat – Amala

An overview of the recent viral sensation's debut album

Doja Cat has had the fortune of being one of a crop of musicians who have seen their stock increase due to their involvement in viral internet memes. A little over a week ago, the singer/rapper/producer released a video for her comedic bovine anthem “Mooo!”, featuring lyrics like “Bitch I’m a cow, bitch I’m a cow / I’m not a cat, I don’t say meow”, which launched hundreds of memes on multiple social media platforms and garnered her thousands of new followers/fans. The video itself, as of the time of this writing, has almost 3 million views on YouTube.

The song, though humorous in nature, ironically displays all the aspects of Doja’s music that new listeners may only now be discovering: her proficiency as both a singer and a rapper; her penchant for funny, catchy hooks and verses; and the overarching magnetic, lighthearted nature of her music.

On Amala, Doja Cat’s debut “self-titled” album (her real name is Amala Dlamini), her music is about as playful as her stage name. At times, her vocals are almost cartoonish. Take the opening track “Go To Town” as an example. The chorus of exaggerated high-pitched vocals is indicative of her very animated “African auntie” alter ego. The song is an exuberant pop song about cunnilingus, with lyrics that are both charismatic and humorous (“He text me an eggplant, I text him a peanut”).

The following track, “Cookie Jar” has the LA artist concocting another memorable, poppy chorus (“Boy whatchu looking for, you know where them cookies are”), and this time she puts her captivating flow and underrated pen on display (“Brookie, he rookie, he want the cookie, the cookie / I think you thirsty, you milkin’ it, tryna crook me, mistook me”)

And Dlamini’s proficiency in regards to both rapping and singing, while an increasingly more prominent characteristic of contemporary music in general, is not something to be overlooked on this project or in her other music. It’s a skill she put on display on her previous Purrr! EP and hones on many songs here, such as “Game”, “All Nighter”, and “Wild Beach.”

Nothing else on the album quite matches the jovial charisma of the first two tracks; however, that should definitely not be mistaken for a dip in quality. Dlamini simply diles down that bubbly “African auntie” personality and unearths the slightly more serene “Amala.” Some of the album’s highlights, such as “Wine Pon You” and “Morning Light”, are late-night, slower-tempo jams, while “Casual”, “Candy”, and the aforementioned “Wild Beach” are all infectious, sugary, bassy works of  R&B that sound like they have the potential to dominate playlists.

While she’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel anywhere on Amala, it’s an album that’s just hard not to enjoy.

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