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Doja Cat Skips the Pop Megahits in Edgy Coachella Performance

Day three headliner Doja Cat gave a thrilling end to the weekend’s festivities, bringing an extension of her Scarlet tour to her Sunday night set at Coachella. The Grammy-winning hitmaker last played the festival in 2022; she is the second Black woman to headline the event, after Beyoncé in 2018.

The 28-year-old MC’s performance was a hard-nosed and hot-blooded spectacle, conceived of pure, unadulterated id. Sparing little in the way of stage banter, Doja opened with a sample from Madonna’s biting 1994 anthem, “Human Nature” — then blazed through several tracks off her 2023 album, Scarlet, such as “Agora Hills” and “Paint the Town Red.” Sampled with Dionne Warwick’s 1964 classic, “Walk On By,” the latter became Doja’s first No. 1 song as a soloist last September.

Special guests on Sunday included the a capella group The Joy, who share South African heritage with Doja; they were followed by MC 21 Savage, who rapped opposite Doja in the 2024 track, “H. N. I. E.” Bashfully wielding a bouquet of baby’s breath, Teezo Touchdown joined Doja for a live debut of their song “Masc,” as featured in Scarlet 2 CLAUDE: the deluxe edition of Scarlet, which dropped last week. A$AP Rocky also emerged from backstage, raring to throw down to a metal version of their brand new song, “URRRGE!!!!!!!!!!”

Doja omitted her most poppy of songs from her setlist, including “Say So,” “Woman” and “Kiss Me More,” her Grammy-winning pop number with SZA. As Los Angeles’ biggest female hip-hop star to date, Doja chose instead to flex her precision as an MC, spitting fire in each verse without missing a single beat.

Doja’s cutting, angsty rap flow was matched in might by a live band and a backdrop designed like an industrial power plant, where she moshed, sparred and undulated along with her dancers. The theatricality of her performance demanded some memorable sartorial moments: she surfaced in a hooded hazmat suit and yellow gloves for her set opener, “Acknowledge Me,” then stripped down to a shaggy, blond hair suit to perform her venomous rap track, “Demons.” After a thunderous, hard rock rendition of “Tia Tamera,” she dramatically shaved off the fur, and transitioned into a shibari rope bodysuit to perform “97” while trailed by a giant reproduction of a T-rex skeleton.

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She punctually closed the show by 1 a.m. with her song “Wet Vagina,” which made for a risqué final act. Flanked by a group of female backup dancers, Doja writhed and waded through a puddle of mud, making out and rolling about with the ladies in one lusty mass. Fireworks burst through the air as Doja tore away from the pack and marched down the runway, beaming and covered in muck. She’ll be back to reprise her show next Sunday for Weekend Two.

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