“When it comes to rap I could be better,” Doja Cat said. “I think everybody feels that way with their own art, in all kinds of ways. But I see all these incredibly talented rappers around me, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m doing pop, but I should focus on my pen now more than ever.’ I’m good, and I can be funny and charming, and I can do little punchlines here and there, but I need to talk about my life more, and about what’s going on.”
Elliott explained to Doja that, while growth is necessary, it’s also important to stay weird and authentic with her music.
“For my first album, I didn’t listen to the radio. I didn’t watch videos. I didn’t do any of those things, and I didn’t realize how much that helped me at the time,” Missy said. “But it helped, because me and Timb, we didn’t mimic. So if we did something far-left, we weren’t afraid, because we didn’t know what was hot anyway. But now, when I got my phone and I’m seeing things, I can think of something really far-left and then I’ll be like, ‘They’re going to think I’m crazy. Let me reel it back.’”
Doja also told Missy that she sometimes becomes self-conscious when she’s writing rhymes. “It’s harder for me to rap. Sometimes I get writer’s block, because I don’t want to write something stupid,” she explained. “Sometimes I’ll write something and be like, “Why would I say that?” Then I’ll restart, and eventually just give up. But when I do it right, I’m really, really happy about it.”
As for her meteoric rise, Doja said she hasn’t really felt the effects of her rise in popularity quite yet. “And the thing is, I haven’t been out in the world yet and seen people screaming and going crazy,” she said. “I’ve had fans at shows that were going crazy, and one who chased me, but I still feel normal. Also, COVID didn’t let me understand what Hot Pink did for my fans, because I had to cancel the tour. None of that was able to happen, so I still don’t really know.”
Speaking of that rise, the 25-year-old artist currently holds three top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “Kiss Me More,” featuring SZA (No. 5), “You Right” with The Weeknd (No. 17) and “Need to Know” (No. 20), all from her latest album Planet Her.
Shortly after the interview went live, Doja Cat took to Twitter to call out Interview for publishing a photo that she didn’t love.
“I wonder why magazines don’t allow the people they shot to approve pictures,” she tweeted. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this and I’m low key done doing mag shoots.”
Check out Doja Cat’s full conversation with Missy Elliott for Interview’s September cover story here.