Doechii Proves She's Fit to Carry The TDE Torch - Rolling Stone
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Doechii Proves She’s Fit to Carry The TDE Torch at Rolling Stone and Meta’s Creators Issue Launch Party

As TDE ushers in a new era, Doechii can be positioned as a leader of one of the most prolific labels in Hip Hop history.

Doechii performing at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Party at the Hearst Estate in Los Angeles, CADoechii performing at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Party at the Hearst Estate in Los Angeles, CA

Doechii performing at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Party at the Hearst Estate in Los Angeles, CA

Renae Wootson for Rolling Stone

Doechii set the rap scene ablaze following the release of her breakthrough single, “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake,” in 2020. The epic origin story tastefully showcases the 22-year-old’s smooth, boastful lyrical prowess while highlighting her bold versatility. She has proven to be in complete control of her ascension with the releases of “Crazy” and “Persuasive” under the Top Dawg Entertainment imprint.

The TDE backing is just a plus; Doechii has two EPs under her belt — Oh the Places You’ll Go (2020) and BRA-LESS (2021)and a standout guest appearance on Isaiah Rashad’s “What U Sed.” On top of a growing loyal fan base, the rapper has positioned herself as one of the most unique, rising stars of this Creator-first era. 

The Tampa native is no stranger to capturing the attention of social media users with her main character energy and authentic content. She started uploading videos singing covers but quickly pivoted. “I rebranded, and I was like I’m gonna be a vlogger full time, and I actually did really well,” Doechii recalled before taking the stage at Rolling Stone and Meta’s Creator Issue launch party. She’s starring in Rolling Stone and Meta’s ongoing Reels series, Behind the Creator, where fans will get the chance to see candid moments leading up to her standout set.

It wasn’t long after our conversation before the historic Hearst Estate was immersed in the self-proclaimed Swamp Princess’ aura. DJ Kal Banx warmed the crowd for an unforgettable performance packed with singing, rapping, and a brief, impromptu dance number assisted by The Future X member Tray Taylor. Doechii won the creator-friendly crowd over once she topped her performance[KB3]  with a rendition of “Persuasive,” which she rightfully claimed as “the most trending song on m************ Reels right now!”  

In a pre-event chat, the TDE freshman explains how she knew the LA-based record label was the right place to call home and the evolution of her creativity throughout the pandemic:

Rolling Stone: What was the creative process like producing the music video for your breakthrough single, “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake?” Did you think the song would blow up the way that it did?

Doechii: No. I didn’t think it would blow up the way that it did. I mean, at that time I was independent, so I funded everything, and I like was in a place where I swore that I would never work for anybody ever again, and that I was gonna be a full-time artist. And so, by committing to that, I like filed for unemployment. So, I was using my unemployment checks and I only had one left and I blew that last check on that music video. But I felt like that was me and God going in agreement with each other about what was gonna happen. So I didn’t expect for it to blow up, but I still knew that God had me, you know? So, it was really stressful. It was really hard. I came up with everything. I bought all of the props, all of the costumes. I paid everybody. It was insane.

RS: What was life like for you before that first viral hit? You already mentioned not wanting to work for anyone else, but where were you mentally?

D: I think I had just left New York. I was living in New York for a while. I went back to Florida for the pandemic, cuz I didn’t wanna be quarantined in New York. I’d rather quarantine, you know, with my family in Florida. So I left New York, went to Florida and because of the pandemic. I had nothing to do, but just sit with myself, think, buy books, and read! So much happened and I ended up growing a lot creatively during the pandemic. The pandemic served me very well.

Guest at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Event presented by Meta held at the Hearst Estate on May 12th, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Doechii performing at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Party at the Hearst Estate in Los Angeles, CA

Renae Wootson for Rolling Stone

RS: You hopped on Isaiah Rashad’s “Wat U Sed”” the following year. How did that collaboration come about?

D: Isaiah just pitched me the song.

RS: Did you guys know each other before?

D: Not that well. Like I knew of him, of course when I got on the label, but we hadn’t even like met yet. But he pitched me the song and I gave him three different versions ‘cuz I really wanted to land that feature and he picked it, and then I met him after.

RS: Which version did he pick?

D: He picked the first one that I did but I sent him two more versions just to be sure.

RS: Did you receive any offers from other record labels? How did you know TDE was the one?

D: I had a lot of offers. Every label has reached out to me except for Sony. I didn’t wanna sign to anybody. I wanted to remain independent. Um, the only reason why I signed to TDE, not just because they value their artists, but I didn’t want to have to sacrifice my freedom. That was most important to me and that’s why I wanted to be independent. I didn’t want to be told what to do. If I ever signed it had to be at my freedom. So now I’m working with a team, they let my ideas be whatever and I really, really love that they support me and they’re a Black-owned label.

RS: Considering that you’re the first female rapper to sign to TDE, would you also be the first female rapper to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar?

D: Wait, no female rapper has collaborated with Kendrick, ever?!

RS: Nope.

D: You just gave me a new goal. I have to be. No, I will be.

RS: Kendrick Lamar announced his departure from TDE meanwhile, SZA is preparing to drop this year too. Fans are wondering who will carry the torch in the label’s second generation. Where do you plan to position yourself?

D: It’s me Ray Vaugh, Zacari, and Isaiah. The vets are handing us the torch and now it’s our turn. I feel a really big responsibility as the first female rapper to open up doors that the other guys haven’t opened. SZA opened up so many doors for the next R&B girl that’s gonna be on the label. So now I have a chance to open doors for the next [rap] girl.

RS: “Persuasive” and “Crazy” mark your first major record label releases. What are some business tips you learned about releasing music when you have “the machine” behind you?

D: I don’t skip steps and I roll my music out. It’s so important. Don’t just drop the song and post the flyer. Like you have an opportunity to tell a whole story with this experience. It’s longevity. It’s supposed to carry people and find new ways to engage the audience. So that would be my advice.

Guest at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Event presented by Meta held at the Hearst Estate on May 12th, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Doechii performing at Rolling Stone Creators Issue Launch Party at the Hearst Estate in Los Angeles, CA

Renae Wootson for Rolling Stone

RS: Many Hip Hop artists blend genres, leading to controversial conversations about categorizing them. How would you personally describe your music?    

D: I wouldn’t. I don’t even think it’s up to me to categorize it. I don’t even know. It’s just so many different sounds. I wouldn’t. I don’t think there’s a category, so I don’t know. I’m interested to see where I end up or what category I end up in. Cuz I have no clue. I feel like people are fighting the fact that times are freaking changing and it doesn’t even matter anymore. There are layers in genres, just like hip hop. Hip Hop doesn’t have just one sound.

RS: Fans were happy to see you link up with Doja Cat at the Grammys. Did you guys get in the studio together yet? 

D: We haven’t gotten in the studio together yet, but I did send her two songs. I finally finished them cuz I’ve been working on the songs I want to do with her for a while. It kind of took me a while cuz I just wanted it to be perfect.

RS: Who are your female rap inspirations?

D: Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj, and Missy Elliott.

RS: When can fans expect your debut album?

D: I’m gonna be dropping something this month. Not my debut album, but I’m gonna be dropping something this month for sure.

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