“Say So” by Doja Cat
No man likes being rejected by a woman he approaches. But at the same time, females suffer their own frustration when there’s a dude they like who clearly wants to speak to them yet doesn’t have the heart to do so. That is the situation that Doja Cat is dealing with throughout the song “Say So”.
In the first verse she is interacting with some dude who can’t “stop cheesin’”, as in continually smiling at her. And obviously she’s interested too, as she actually wants him to make a move. But this guy is hiding within an emotional “shell”, apparently due to having experienced prior disappointments in romance.
And Doja sympathizes with him. But at the same time if he keeps ‘frontin’’, as in hesitating to make a move, she will just ‘bounce’, i.e. leave the scene altogether, thus depriving him of a golden opportunity.
Meanwhile the chorus seems to take on more of a long-term approach, with the singer’s relationship with the addressee reading more like an established friendship.
And she’s willing to be his girlfriend alright, so long as he has the heart to actually “say” that he wants her. Or let’s look at it like this. The addressee may be revealing romantic clues to her, but she’s not down to participate in some read-between-the-lines’ type of game.
Rather she wants him to man-up – if you will – and approach her directly. And doing so will also make her respect him more so to say, as in becoming more “focused” on their relationship in the first place.
The second verse takes on a raunchier tone. It starts off with the singer basically inviting the addressee to a sensual activity. And it also serves the dual role of being braggadocious in nature. Here, the vocalist utilizes the opportunity to tout her impressive “a-s and t–ties” for instance (in the name of seducing the addressee).
The status of their relationship is sort of like being stuck in the friend zone, with even outsiders apparently believing that they’re together. And the fact that they’re not is really starting to piss Doja off.
So again, she wants dude to stop ‘acting like she’s shy’ and go ahead and ‘grab her a-s’ already. And no, such a tactic is not generally recommendable in the pursuit of romance. But again, this is someone whom the singer apparently wants to get into a serious romantic relationship with, starting off with some hot bedroom fun.
So yes, this is in fact a love song. And along those lines arguably the primary sentiment being relayed, even more so than the singer’s frustration with a passive beau, is the fact that she really likes this dude in the first place.
Creation and Release of “Say So”
This track was produced by Dr. Luke, a long-standing and well-recognized musician in the industry. And he also co-wrote the song in conjunction with Doja Cat, Yeti Beats and Lydia Asrat.
“Say So” came out on 7 November 2019 as part of Doja Cat’s sophomore album “Hot Pink”. And later, in early 2020, RCA Records and Kemosabe Records also released it as the fifth single from said project. They decided to do so in direct response to the song blowing up on TikTok.
“Say So” changed the career trajectory for a number of artists involved. For instance, you may recognize the aforementioned Dr. Luke as someone who concurrently is caught up in a serious, industry-related lawsuit. As a result his reputation has become so tarnished that Doja Cat even received criticism for working with him.
Well, the success of this track was his first major release since said lawsuit. That is to say that the last time he had a comparable hit was circa 2012 with Katy Perry’s “Part of Me”.
Concerning the lawsuit itself, Dr. Luke was sued in 2014 by one of his artists, Kesha. And even though he tends to continually emerge victorious from their legal battles (which are still ongoing as of early 2021), the whole fiasco resulted in a major social and professional backlash against Luke.
“Say So” becomes a Hit
“Say So” went on to be remixed featuring Nicki Minaj, a much longer-tenured rap superstar than Doja Cat. In fact prior to this song, Minaj had made it onto the Hot 100 a notable 109 times (compared to Doja Cat’s 3). And Doja has expressed both admiration and “love” for Nicki.
The remix they came out with together was the particular version of “Say So” that went on to top the Billboard Hot 100, marking the first time either rapper had done so. Also as far as the music industry is concerned in general, said remix holds the distinction of being the first time in history that two female rappers collaborated to produce a Hot 100 number 1.
Also the original version of Say So was quite it a hit. For instance, it earned itself two Grammy nominations (Best Pop Solo Performance and Record of the Year) at the 2021 Grammy Awards in March of 2021.
And it was primarily the original which managed to chart in an astounding 50 countries around the world, scoring a few Billboard US number ones besides the iconic Hot 100. And some of these Billboard charts include the following:
- Dance/Mix Show Airplay
- Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
- Mainstream Top 40
Just to note, on the UK Singles Chart, “Say So” peaked at number three. And other countries where it reached number one besides the US are Canada, Latvia and Mexico.
The song has also achieved multi-platinum status in the US, Australia, Mexico and Poland.
In terms of the original rendition of this song, its popularity has been attributed to the fact that it went mega-viral on TikTok.
More Facts about “Say So”
The video to this track was directed by an A list filmography in the pop music industry, Hannah Lux Davis. That original was released in February of 2020 and was in fact inspired by TikTok. A couple of months later, in May, Doja Cat, in conjunction with Vevo Lift, came out a live music video for the tune also.
And just to note, the remix with Nicki Minaj never received its own official music video. However, there is an official lyric video to it.
A Japanese cover of this song, as rendered by an Indonesian musician/YouTuber named Rainych, went viral in 2020. In fact it caught the attention of Doja Cat herself, who publicly responded favorably to it.
“Say So” has also been covered by Lisa of Blackpink fame and another K-pop artist, Luna of F(x).
Doja Cat also rendered a rock-n-roll, nu-metal stylized performance of “Say So” at the 2020 MTV EMAs.
At the time of this track’s release Doja Cat would have been 24 years old.