If you were to ask any Gen Z-er to make a list of some of the most prominent young music stars in the game right now, there's a pretty good chance that Doja Cat would make the cut. 

This 26-year-old L.A. native may technically fall within millennial parameters, but she's a solid icon among Gen Z audiences — and the charts prove it.

Doja Cat recently began trending on Twitter on account of the massive success of Planet Her on the charts. Specifically, the project is the "first album by a female rapper in history" to maintain a top-10 spot on the Billboard 200 for six solid months. Additionally, she was recently in the headlines because her Spotify streaming numbers skyrocketing, putting this artist off to a great start of the year.

We've decided to put together some highlights from Doja Cat's career to show how she's evolved as a public figure. Buckle your seat belts because we're taking a trip down memory lane.

SoundCloud beginnings

Doja Cat, born Amala Dlamini, initially began releasing her music through SoundCloud in 2012—a familiar story for various aspiring artists of the time.

After releasing a song titled "So High" on the platform, Doja Cat caught the attention of a producer named Yeti Beats, who helped sign her to Kemosabe Records when she was still a teen.

Debut EP

In 2014, Doja Cat unveiled her debut extended play record (EP): Purrr! The 5-track project's most notable songs are "So High" and "No Police." Although the EP had a small but loyal following upon its release, it didn't precisely catapult Doja Cat to mainstream success.

First studio album

After a four-year hiatus, Doja launched her first-ever studio album in March 2018: Amala. The most well-known song off the original version of the album was perhaps "Go to Town," and it "didn't get much attention from critics" upon its release.

She even stated that she's "personally not even that crazy about the album" during an interview with Hot 96.3.

"Mooo!" and viral success

A few months after releasing Amala, Doja Cat unveiled the song that brought her widespread internet recognition: "Mooo!" 

The lighthearted track is essentially a meme where Doja Cat daydreams about being a cow, and its humorous video helped her win the hearts of many fans. The track—as well as "Juicy" and "Tia Tamera," two other highly successful singles—were eventually included on the Deluxe version of Amala, which was much more successful than the album's original inc

Homophobia controversy

What goes up must come down, and that's precisely what happened to Doja Cat in 2018. Shortly after "Mooo!" blew up, the artist found herself embroiled in controversy over a series of homophobic tweets from 2015.

She referred to Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt as "f****ts" on the app, which rubbed many people the wrong way. As a result of the backlash, Doja Cat issued a series of apologies.

"I called a couple of people f****ts when I was in high school in 2015 does this mean I don't deserve support?" she tweeted. "I've said f****t roughly 15 thousand times in my life. Does saying f****t mean you hate gay people? Do I hate gay people? I don't think I hate gay people. Gay is ok."

Despite this controversy, Doja Cat soon bounced back.

Sophomore album and "Say So"

Hot Pink was released in 2019, and it charted well and was considered a success. One song in particular, "Say So," garnered a lot of attention—though the album had other hits like "Bottom Bitch" and "Rules."

After a few months, Nicki Minaj even jumped on the song's remix, and "Say So" went on to be one of Doja Cat's most well-known songs. With this success coming on the heels of her homophobia controversy, things were looking up for the star.

Racism controversy

Remember that "What goes up must come back down" saying? Well, it proved itself to be true once again, as Doja Cat—who is biracial—was hit with racism allegations in the spring of 2020.

Doja Cat's racism controversy is more multi-faceted than her homophobia one, but it began with uncovering a song she made in 2015 titled "Dindu Nuffin." For context, this derogatory term is used to mock Black people experiencing police brutality, as it's a corruption of "didn't do nothing."

On top of this, videos began resurfacing of Doja Cat participating in racist banter on alt-right chat sites. She was also accused of exchanging sexual messages with these alt-right internet users.

She later apologized and attempted to clarify the situation on Instagram Live. However, the backlash was widespread, and her future arguably appeared somewhat unclear at this point.

"Pussy Talk" music video

Less than two months after her racism controversy began making headlines, Doja Cat found a chance at redemption through City Girls. The Miami-based duo unveiled their City On Lock album in June 2020, and one song titled "Pussy Talk" featured Doja Cat.

On Jul. 6, the video to the song was released, and many viewers were in awe over the visuals. Seeing City Girls and Doja Cat come together for such an iconic video essentially forced many viewers to appreciate Doja Cat's artistry despite her recent controversy. Her performance in "Pussy Talk" can be seen as a vital part of her rebound from the backlash.

"Streets" and the silhouette challenge

In early 2021, Doja Cat inspired a viral challenge with her sleeper hit, "Streets." The song was partnered with Paul Anka's "Put Your Head On My Shoulder." It soon became part of a far-reaching TikTok trend called the "silhouette challenge."

This led the song to mainstream success and further propelled Doja Cat's career and public image.

Third studio album

Doja Cat's Planet Her album debuted in mid-2021, and it truly cemented her pop star status. With an array of features by top artists like SZA, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, and Young Thug, it was clear that Doja Cat was a force to be reckoned with at this point. 

Planet Her was one of Spotify's most-streamed albums of 2021, and it's nominated for Album of the Year at the upcoming Grammy Awards. Additionally, as touched on earlier, the album has spent a solid six months on the Billboard 200's top-10 list.

2021 MTV Video Music Awards

In late August, Doja Cat was announced as the host for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). As big names like Katy Perry, Chelsea Handler, Miley Cyrus, and even Sean "Diddy" Combs have hosted the event, MTV recognizes Doja Cat as a massive star worthy of recognition and industry prestige. 

Doja Cat made headlines for her outlandish outfits at the event, showing that she's committed to being herself no matter the occasion.

As Doja Cat continues to grow as a star, let's keep her career-based evolution in mind. It's safe to say that she isn't going anywhere soon, so let's enjoy the ride.