Doja Cat’s “Say So” Remix Becomes the First No. 1 Song by a Female Rap Duo
On May 16, 2020, singer and rapper Doja Cat earned her first No. 1 hit for the remix of her song “Say So.” The song had originally peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 before Doja enlisted rapper Nicki Minaj for the remix, which would ultimately top the chart. “Say So” marked not only each artist’s first No. 1 song, but also the first time in chart history that the No. 1 spot has been held by two female rappers. Doja Cat’s popularity then grew further following acclaimed performances in 2020, the release of her album Planet Her in 2021, and her first Grammy win in 2022.
Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, known professionally as Doja Cat, was born in Tarzana, California, on October 21, 1995, to Deborah Sawyer, a Jewish-American graphic designer, and Dumisani Dlamini, a South African actor and dancer known for his role in the musical Sarafina!. Raised by her mother, Doja spent her childhood in several places, including the suburbs of Los Angeles; Rye, New York; and an ashram in California, where her family practiced Hinduism for about four years. She cites these varied experiences and heritage as influences on her music, which has been widely praised for its levity, clever wordplay, and versatility.
Doja’s music career began when she dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade and began releasing music on Soundcloud. In 2013, when Doja was seventeen, producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald heard her Soundcloud music and signed her to Kemosabe Records to produce her debut EP, Purrr!. Though she maintained a small but dedicated fanbase in her early career, the 2018 single “Mooo!” from her debut album Amala laid the groundwork for eventual pop stardom. “Mooo!” and its accompanying music video exhibited Doja’s knack for humorous songwriting and widened her fanbase substantially.
After the success of “Mooo!,” Doja released the album Hot Pink in 2019. Several Hot Pink songs, including “Say So,” gained popularity when they were used on TikTok for dance challenges. Doja also performed six versions of “Say So” during virtual performances in 2020. Doja’s talent for connecting with fans online through her authentic sense of humor on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram Live propelled her music to its chart-topping heights, as fans came to appreciate not only her artistry but also the person they saw online outside of the music.
Doja’s acclaimed third album, Planet Her, was released in 2021. The popular lead single, “Kiss Me More,” which features the artist SZA, earned Doja and SZA a Grammy in March 2022 for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. While accepting her award, Doja began to cry. “I like to downplay shit,” she said. “But this? It’s a big deal.”
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Doja Cat’s “Say So” Remix Becomes the First No. 1 Song by a Female Rap Duo." (Viewed on June 2, 2023) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/may/16/2020/doja-cats-say-so-remix-becomes-first-no-1-song-female-rap-duo>.