When it was first introduced that Kanye West had dropped out of Coachella’s Sunday evening headlining slot simply weeks earlier than the pageant, one of many names floated through the flurry of hypothesis about who would substitute him was Doja Cat. Within the time since her identify had first appeared on the flyer for the canceled 2020 version of the pageant, that identify had jumped up three traces and gotten a number of font sizes bigger. Now that that long-delayed Coachella debut has occurred, it’s clear that Doja’s identify ought to have jumped up yet one more line.
Whereas Doja isn’t technically a complete Coachella rookie – she joined Rico Nasty onstage in 2019 – that is her first time showing on the pageant’s lineup. In 2019, Doja was nonetheless primarily generally known as the “Mooo!” lady in most on-line circles however since then, she has confirmed that she’s no joke. Her Scorching Pink music “Say So” was the breakout hit of 2020, climbing all the best way to No. 1 on the Scorching 100 propelled by a TikTok pattern, a Nicki Minaj remix, and a spicy (and in the end unfulfilled) promise.
But, all through that unbelievable run, Doja was by no means afforded the chance to carry out it for actual, in entrance of an viewers of followers who have been there to see her reasonably than no matter award present she occurred to be on. Likewise, when “Streets” additionally took off due to its personal large viral second on social media (Google “silhouette problem” should you’re unaware), Doja was unable to take the present on the highway, so it was in all probability laborious to get a bead on simply how large she’d gotten in over the course of the yr main as much as the discharge of her third album, Planet Her.
However now, we’ve positively seen all of the proof we want to say that Doja ought to have headlined Coachella 2022 – and can greater than possible achieve this within the close to future. An exuberant set with flash and coloration, Doja’s efficiency had all of the elements of legendary units like Beyonce’s. She gave us costume adjustments and a inventive stage design; she served choreography and dazzling dwell preparations of her rising assortment of previous hits. She even returned Rico Nasty’s favor, bringing out her outdated pal for a zany rendition of their collaboration “Tia Tamera.”
That final one is notable as a result of that’s the form of factor a headliner does: Lend their platform to bequeath only a little bit of their notoriety to a deserving successor. Doja and Rico are extra like friends, but it surely’s possible that bringing Rico on throughout Doja’s set uncovered her to a a lot wider viewers of each attendees at Coachella and followers watching the livestream at residence. Simply think about how a lot greater that viewers might have been with Doja closing out the pageant.
Doja’s set synthesized the entire experiences and methods she’d picked up over a yr of performing nearly solely for tv. Positive, she’s all the time had a present for showmanship, however that confidence doesn’t all the time translate to an enormous stage – it did Sunday evening, although, and in spades. She confirmed a picture-perfect deal with of the way to carry out to each the gang on the polo grounds and to the cameras, flashing her broad, real smile at simply the best moments to accent a very deft present beat, and show her well-practiced vocal expertise with ease and charisma.
It’s becoming that she was additionally simply in regards to the end result of Sunday’s showcase of genre-bending hip-hop (and sure, Doja Cat may be very a lot a hip-hop artist). If Friday and Saturday have been about surveying the place hip-hop is and its possible future, then Sunday noticed the varied permutations the style can accommodate when the boundaries are ignored. All through the day, hip-hop unfold its wings, delving into acts that problem the style’s established order with their sonic experimentation – acts like Compton house-hop rule-breaker Channel Tres, rebellious rabble-rousers Run The Jewels, and eclectic journeyman Denzel Curry, who introduced his personal X-Wing from Star Wars to the Sahara stage.
It gave me numerous pleasure to see the gang spilling out of the Sahara tent at Channel Tres electrifying afternoon set (in all probability stemming from hometown pleasure), whereas Run The Jewels drew a large crowd of their very own to the primary stage only a few minutes later. Vince Staples, recent off his tour with Tyler The Creator, labored on increasing his set with nods to his newly launched album, Ramona Park Broke My Coronary heart. Throughout his set, he bantered with a fellow Lengthy Seashore native within the entrance row, teasing him for complicated the town’s east aspect with Vince’s beloved Norf Norf.
UK rapper Dave ended up being one of many few exceptions to the unofficial “hip-hop at Sahara” rule in impact this weekend, blessing the Mojave tent with a scintillating efficiency that noticed him rap, sing, play his guitar (sadly, not the flamethrower one from the BRIT Awards), and share the stage with an enthusiastic fan from London named Spike. Spike didn’t simply know each phrase; he carried out with Dave like they’d been rehearsing all week, blowing away the artist as a lot as the gang.
Doja Cat capping off this lineup inadvertently turned a reasonably pointed assertion on how expansive hip-hop has change into. In latest weeks, the talk over whether or not or not she counts as a rapper intensified after veteran rapper Remy Ma refused to categorise her as one. With a Coachella set that leaned into displaying her rap expertise, backed by a big selection of musical kinds from Afropop to laborious rock, Doja Cat didn’t simply show that she’s a rapper. She additionally made a reasonably stable argument that she is among the greatest and greatest rappers — and performers — on the planet. The subsequent time we see her identify on a Coachella flyer, it’d simply be within the large print in any case.