Working in the Carson, Calif., studio from which Top Dog Entertainment was launched, has become a rite of passage for new artists on the label. After building the studio behind his simple suburban home around 2004, founder Anthony “Top Dog” Tiffith rounded up the four most talented MCs in the LA area — Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul — and among them brought out the best. Nearly two decades later, TDE’s first female rapper found herself in a wood-paneled, windowless cave known as the House of Pain. “Yeah, kid, they put me in that cold-ass studio,” Dochi says. “I was struggling in that studio, writing music, no heater.”
At the time, the studio looked like it would be back when Lamar was making good kid, maed city a decade ago. A shabby brown couch sat under a handwritten decree about what makes a rap star. Dark wood sculptures of old-time black musicians lined a shelf, and a paper notice from the top reading “Don’t fuck with these settings” was hidden that may or may not have had a thermostat. “No, man, I remember Carson,” she continues, increasing dramatically. “I don’t want to go back.”
Doechi, 23, attracted the attention of several labels after the success of her autobiographical 2020 “Yucky Blkie Fruitcake,” took off on TikTok – especially as a soundtrack for people to show who they once were and who they are now. “I didn’t predict that people would show their weight changes, or that trans women and trans men would show their transitions, people would show their glow,” Dochi said. Rolling stone Last year.
She wasn’t interested in most of the labels that followed her – “I knew I wasn’t going to sign with them. I just wanted free studio time, and I wanted to travel,” she says. But when Top Dogg’s son Anthony “Moses” Tiffith, now TDE’s president, got in touch, the alignment was almost immediate. Within two weeks of her first meeting with TDE in January 2021, she had moved to LA, leaving most of her belongings with her mother back in Georgia. “Kids, I left that stuff,” she remembers. “I’ve got that check. It’s finished.”
As she has gained notoriety for her animated rap delivery, quirky narrative, gorgeous singing voice, and predictability for house beats, Doochie has been compared to such successes as Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliot, and Azealia Banks. Though she appreciates the comparisons, she is not giving them much importance. “When I hear people make comparisons, they’re internalizing and they’re processing and they’re digesting me,” she says. “It’s like the first time the world came into contact with Lady Gaga. She’s compared a lot to Madonna, because she [were] Trying to understand what is happening now based on what they have heard before. ,
In dialogue, as in his music, Doechie is at once serious and silly, cunning and uncompromising. From celestial slow jams to whimsical rap beats to pulsing dance music, he is comfortable with all kinds of production. Nothing seems out of place beneath that. This agility shines through on her latest project, a five-song song called Quickie. he / her / black bitch, matching pronouns in her Twitter and Instagram bios. Doachey says she retrieved the slur after following her around Tampa, Florida, where she grew up — from predominantly white schools to predominantly black people in most Hispanic neighborhoods, those words were there. were trying to humiliate him. “I embodied the slur ‘Black Bitch’ and made a whole archetype out of it,” she says. “I look up to this black girl, and she’s superpowerful, creative, confident. She knows who she is. She almost doesn’t lift weights. She’s just a boss.”
She says each song on the EP highlights a layer of this archetype: On “Bitch I’m Nice,” released in July, Doochi flexes like a swaggy kingpin. On “Swamp Bitches,” with Rico Nesty at his best, Doochi is smart-ass and filthy, doing a slow rapping of a poem before delivering a frantic one on a beatswitch. On “Bits Bee,” he’s melodious and contemplative. On “This Bitch Matters,” she seems stripped bare, with a reassuring yet sensitive sense of self.
Doechii has known the path she is walking since the sixth grade. She recalls the epiphany that turned her from Jayla Hickmon, who had never been in one place for long, to future superstar Doechi: “I realized what I wanted out of life, and when I got that Realizing it in the moment, I heard that name and wrote it in my journal. I’ve changed my MySpace name and all that. I went to school the next day and I was like, ‘I’m douchy.’ And that was it.”
As a teen, she became serious about studying dance, ballet, tap, contemporary, and gymnastics. He performed with the marching band. She started a vlog where she told elaborate and exaggerated stories about her life. Today, you can see her movement and persona skills in videos like the nudity- and violence-laden one for her spring single, “Crazy,” which was age-restricted on YouTube.
In May, she gave an explosive performance of “Crazy”. The Tonight Show, with her single “Motivational” – a sensual omen for making oneself feel off the cannabis which is in stark contrast to the song “Yucky Blky Fruitcake”, where Doochi talks about feeling anxious when he’s high. “I definitely smoked last night,” she says with a sly laugh. “Honestly, even if I get anxious, I’ll still smoke because eventually I’m going to rest. By the end of the high, I’m just meditating and thinking and vibrating and praying.”
Recently Douchey has been working round the clock on her full-length debut for TDE, which includes sessions with Pharrell Williams and Babyface. “I’m never out of the studio,” she says. “And if I am Out of the studio, I get the hell out of it. She jokingly calls Moses a “sergeant” — “the way he pushes me and works me feels like a bootcamp,” she says — but luckily, Doochi likes to work hard.
The constant studio stay means that her upcoming album has evolved over time as she infuses and falls in love with new music. Right now, she wants the album to reflect the four tarot cards that spoke to her as she discovered the practice around the age of 20. (“I was in my Tumblr, witchy aesthetic, urban outfit bag,” she says. “Like, ‘Oh my god, I’m a hippie, whatever.’) The card she’s building the album around , they are Death, The Devil, The Hermit and The Star – all with an Afro-futurist twist. She explains that the video for “Crazy,” for example, was inspired by the star’s nudity, vulnerability, and self-confidence.
Doechii is conscious of its place on one of the most influential labels of the past decade. He is grateful for the example set by SZA, with whom he toured, recorded and became friends. “We got drunk together and we had a real moment,” she recalls a moment near the end of her 2021 tour. “I don’t want to give too much personal information, but I felt like we really connected with that tequila.”
Plus, she says, “SZA really paved a way,” Dochi says. “SZA is one of the most successful artists on TDE. That made my job easier. Now they know that not only can women sell, but that’s actually what we bring in the most money.”
TDE has begun to feel like a family for Doechii, one where his vision and opinion are respected, even as some fans speculate about internal tensions at the label (especially with repeated made public) transmission of complaints at the time of SZA’s second album between SZA and TDE’s Terrence “Punch” Henderson). “The way TDE operates is really out of place,” Dochi says. “And sometimes it takes time to cook good food.”
Her labelmates like Ray Vaughan, another new signer for TDE, have been impressed by the food Doichi is cooking. “She makes a lot of different sounds,” says Vaughn. “They’ll play something and I’m like, ‘Hey, that douchey?’ And they’ll play some more and I’ll be like, ‘Hey, he is Doichi?'”
Doechii sees Kendrick Lamar, who left TDE this year, as another “beam of light”. “He is a huge example to all of us at the label,” she says. “I’m excited for the future of the label, because I am The future of labels. ,