And Doechii still stands on that. She admits that she’ll be promoting “What It Is (Block Boy)” until she’s blue in the face.

“Young artists will make excuses and disguise it as, ‘Oh, they don’t deserve this. This is just too good. I’m not gonna put it out.’ Shut up, you’re scared. It’s okay to be scared, but this idea of being mysterious with your art? That’s not the point of art. I truly believe that ideas are meant to be recycled. I don’t think anything is new under the sun. This mysterious thing? You can’t be mysterious! You ain’t got nothing out! With 130 Instagram followers?! Oop!” she bursts out into laughter and puts a hand over her mouth.

But Doechii’s not being preachy, she’s just being real. She used to be scared too. Now she’s encouraging young artists and herself to trust that great ideas are abundant. Doechii can’t wait to share her new album even though she’s super tight-lipped and careful not to give away any clues about the concept. What she does say is that this album has all the range with no vulnerable songs and lots of genre-bending. It’s all about fun, energy, and really good music. “We’ve got Afrobeat, hip-hop rock, pop, rap, alt-rap,” she reveals. “The whole album could be on the radio, but each song is unique.”

I ask Doechii what this era of her career is about. “Hits, hits, hits!” she says, at least three more times while clapping her hands.

“I used to want to make music to express myself. Then I had a stage where I just wanted to put music out. Now I’m in a position where I want to win,” she says. “I just needed to love myself as an artist and now that I do, I want to be the best. I want to touch the charts and I want to get the accolades and I want to do the artist thing, and then I want to quit. I’ll probably move on. Maybe I’ll direct, start doing sports, have a farm. Maybe I’ll go back to school. I never went to college. Live in the dorm. Raise my kids. Travel. Who knows?”

Trading the spotlight for a quiet life that has nothing to do with music has its own charm. But I tell Doechii it’ll be a while until she can leave it all behind. Things are popping off, and she’s just getting started.

This cover story is part of a new Allure Melanin Edit series answering the question, “What does a nerd look like?” produced in partnership with OLAY. For a long time, Black folks have been excluded from STEM and mainstream fandoms like cosplay, or made to feel like these interests made them “less Black.” This series celebrates all those people who were told they couldn’t be nerdy — and the communities they built anyway. With their STEM initiatives, OLAY is committed to breaking down barriers to ensure more women, and more women of color, have the opportunity to pursue their passions. They’re on a mission to triple the number of women of color in STEM careers by 2030. To read inspiring stories about “Black nerd” culture — including those of the Black scientists behind some of OLAY’s most recent formulas — check out the Melanin Edit home page.

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