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Paint The Town Red Deconstructed

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Paint The Town Red Deconstructed

Doja Cat

"Paint The Town Red" serves as the second single from Doja Cat's 2023 album, Scarlett. The song boasts a talented team of writers, including Doja Cat herself, along with Earl On The Beat, Jean-Baptiste, Karl Rubin, and Ryan 'DJ Replay' Buendia. Additional credit is given to Burt Bacharach and Hal David, courtesy of their 1964 Dionne Warwick hit, "Walk On By," which is skillfully incorporated into the song. This expertly crafted track marks Doja Cat's sixth appearance in the Hot 100's top 10 as a primary artist and her second chart-topping hit.

The success of "Paint The Town Red" can be attributed, in part, to its ability to effectively serve the song, the artist, and the marketplace – a trifecta known as Hit Songs Deconstructed's S.A.M. principle. In terms of serving the song, it possesses all the qualities expected of a massive hit: catchy hooks, a captivating vocal performance by Doja Cat, intriguing lyrics, a groovy beat, a familiar structure, and a seamless blend of elements that enhance the listener's emotional connection to the song.

Equally important is the song's personal resonance with Doja Cat and its ability to both create familiarity and push the boundaries of her existing Hot 100 top 10 catalog. Lyrically, "Paint The Town Red" is an empowering anthem celebrating Doja's self-worth and resilience in the face of haters. Her compelling delivery brings authenticity to the lyrics, deepening the connection between fans and the song.

In terms of her Hot 100 top 10 body of work, "Paint The Town Red" maintains elements of hip hop, R&B/soul, pop, and retro influences, all of which are present in the majority of her hits. Additionally, the song features primarily electronic drums, synth bass, non-bass synths and electric piano, clocks in over 100 BPM, and is delivered using a blend sung and rapped deliveries. These qualities, along with the inclusion of catchy post-choruses, further heightens “Paint The Town Red’s” familiarity factor with listeners. However, the song distinguishes itself from many of her other hits with its more pronounced hip-hop/rap quality, the use of the "Walk On By" sample from the early/mid-1960s (as opposed to her previous references to the 1950s and 1970s), and its focus on lifestyle and boasting-themed lyrics, as opposed to love and relationships.

"Paint The Town Red’s" expert fusion of hip hop, pop, R&B/soul, and retro also allowed it to resonate with a broad fanbase while standing out in the competitive music marketplace. The inclusion of a prominent trap-influenced beat and extended rapped verses aligns with contemporary hip hop trends, while the timeless allure of the 1964 "Walk On By" sample infuses a pop and R&B/soul influence that resonates across generations. The entirely sung, repetitive, and catchy post-choruses further enhance the song's pop appeal, contributing to its top placement on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart.

Since its release in August 2023, "Paint The Town Red" has achieved impressive global recognition, landing in the top 10 on over 50 charts worldwide and reaching the coveted #1 position on more than 20 of them.

At-A-Glance


Artist: Doja Cat
Song: "Paint The Town Red"
Songwriters: Burt Bacharach, Doja Cat, Earl On The Beat, Hal David, Jean-Baptiste, Karl Rubin Brutus, Ryan ‘DJ Replay’ Buendia
Producers: Earl On The Beat, Jean-Baptiste, Karl Rubin Brutus, Ryan ‘DJ Replay’ Buendia
Mastering Engineer: Dale Becker
Mixer: Serban Ghenea
Record Label: RCA
Primary Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Influences: Retro (1960s), Pop, R&B/Soul, Trap
Length: 3:50
Form: I-B-VB-A-B-VB-A-B-VB-O
Key: G Dorian
Tempo: 100 BPM
First Chorus: 0:19 / 8% of the way into the song
Intro Length: 0:19
Electronic vs. Acoustic Instrumentation: Electronic/Acoustic Combo
Prominent Instruments: Bass (Synth), Drums/Perc (Primarily Electronic), Guitar (Acoustic), Piano (Electric), Snaps, Strings (String Section), Synth (Non-Bass), Wind (Trumpet)
Primary Lyrical Themes: Boasting, Inspiration/Empowerment, Lifestyle
Title Appearances: "Paint The Town Red" appears six times in the song

"Paint The Town Red" Section Abbreviation Key
I = Intro | A = Verse | B = Chorus | VB = Vocal Break | PST = Post-Chorus | O = Outro
Music notation and lyric excerpts are reproduced here under Fair Use terms, for the purposes of commentary and criticism.

Overview, Highlights & Takeaways


Hooks

“Paint The Town Red” features an assortment of strategically arranged sampled and non-sampled hooks that take its catchiness, connectability, and emotional impact to a heightened level.
“Paint The Town Red’s” Hook Arrangement Table

Sample Hooks 

"Paint The Town Red" incorporates two sampled hooks, one vocal and one instrumental, sourced from Dionne Warwick's 1964 hit, "Walk On By." These hooks remain in effect throughout the song, appearing in different degrees of prominence, both in conjunction with and independently of Doja Cat's lead vocal and the accompanying trap beat.

While each hook is catchy on its own, it’s their combined call and response quality that forms a super-catchy multipart hook that takes the song’s infectiousness to a heightened level. In addition, these hooks achieve the following:

  • Contribute to the song’s vibe and emotional impact.
  • Provide the song with an underlying 1960s retro influence.
  • Accentuate the song’s ability to stand out among its mainstream contemporaries.
  • Complement and enhance the song’s narrative through the vocal hook’s summative connotation. 

Doja Cat Vocal Hooks

“Paint The Town Red’s” chorus and vocal break post-chorus “hook centers” feature three unique Doja Cat vocal hooks. 

Standout Statement Hook #1 (Chorus)

The first hook heard from Doja Cat is her direct, confident, rapped delivery of the powerful lyric “(yeah), b***h, I said what I said.” Primely placed at the top of both chorus stanzas, the hook also serves as the song’s main opening line following the sampled intro, effectively drawing the listener in and setting the tone for the impactful lyrical summation and developments that follow.

Song Title Hook (Chorus)

Bookending each chorus stanza is Doja Cat’s rapped delivery of the song title hook, “I don’t care, I paint the town red,” which provides the song’s main lyrical summation in an intriguing, yet easy-to-grasp, manner due to its familiarity in popular culture. Heightening its impact is its effective combination of lyrical A.I.D.E. principle components including action (“paint”), imagery (full hook), detail device (metaphor), and emotion.

In addition, the song title portion of the hook is both foreshadowed and subsequently reinforced by the rhythmic, inflection, and rhyme commonalities in the vocals that precede and follow (i.e., “said what I said,” “famous instead,” “get to my head”). This is a technique that Hit Songs Deconstructed calls an E.O.L.A., an acronym for end-of-line accentuator.
 

Song Title Hook E.O.L.A. Commonalities
Standout Statement #2 (Post-Chorus)
The vocal break post-chorus houses “Paint The Town Red’s” other notable standout statement hook across the first two lines of each stanza: “Mm, she the devil / She a bad lil’ b***h, she a rebel.” 

In contrast to the rapped chorus hooks, this hook is sung, which provides an engaging variation in the scope of the song while making the song even more appealing to a pop audience. Further bolstering this appeal is the hook’s K.I.S.S. ME (keep it simple, singable, and memorable) components, including its short to moderate-length phrases, easy-to-lock into rhythms, easy-to-follow melodic patterns, effective balance of repetition and contrast, and a combination of stepwise and stagnant motion along with a few interest-heightening intervallic leaps.

The hook essentially consists of three distinct segments that are segmented from one another by a sustained note and rest:
  • Segment 1: The sustained “Mm” provides an engaging contrast against the faster-paced, rapped delivery of the preceding chorus, enabling the vocal break post-chorus to further stand out and connect. In addition, it provides subtle separation between sections of similar accompaniment without breaking up the groove.
  • Segment 2: The impactful lyric, “she the devil,” stands out with its faster-paced quality and notable leap of a fifth into the key lyric, “devil.”  Note that this lyric also ties in with the red color theme in the song title hook.
  • Segment 3: The concluding standout statement, “she a bad lil’ b***h, she a rebel,” stands on its own following the eighth rest at the end of segment 2. Further punctuating its presence is the leap of a fourth into the impactful lyric, “bad lil’ b***h.” 
Further bolstering the hook’s ability to connect and resonate are the following:
  • The “she the devil” and “she a rebel” components rhyme and feature the same rhythms, which heightens cohesion and memorability against the lyrical and melodic variations.
  • The full hook melody is almost identically repeated in the next two lines, while subtle melodic variations and lyrical changes enhance engagement while contributing to the post-chorus lyrical summation.

Structure: Overview

Genres & Influences: Overview

“Paint The Town Red” features a combination of hip hop, trap, pop, R&B/soul and retro 1960s influences that are put into effect by the qualities of the vocals, instruments, lyrics, and the overall production.

Key

X: The influence appears prominently within the stanza and/or section
x: The influence appears minimally within the stanza and/or section
-/-: Divides stanzas

Instrumentation & Arrangement: Overview

Energy: Overview

S.I.A. (Section Impact Accentuator) Key

Bar Lines: Illustrate increases and decreases in energy over the course of the song
Downward Red S.I.A.: The full accompaniment is removed from the mix, resulting in a brief reduction in energy.
Downward Yellow S.I.A.: A part of the accompaniment is removed from the mix, resulting in a brief reduction in energy.

Harmony: Overview

“Paint The Town Red” features one main chord progression with no significant deviations.

Progression 1

Progression 1: Variation 1 

Gm7 – Am7

Vocal Production: Overview

Lead Vocal Gender

“Paint The Town Red” features a solo female vocal performance from Doja Cat. Within the hip hop genre, Hot 100 top 10s with a solo female lead have been few and far between over the past five years, accounting for just 6% of songs or less. In the first two quarters of 2023, the only representative preceding “Paint The Town Red’s” arrival in Q3 was Coi Leray’s “Players.”

Lead Vocal Gender in Hot 100 Top 10 (Hip Hop Hits): 2018 – Q2 2023 

Lead Vocal Delivery

“Paint The Town Red” features a combination of sung and rapped lead deliveries from Doja Cat. Hip hop top 10s that feature a combination of sung and rapped deliveries have been by far most common over the past five years and beyond, accounting for 80% or more since 2020.

Lead Vocal Delivery in Hot 100 Top 10 (Hip Hop Hits): 2018 – Q2 2023 

Background Vocals

Complementing Doja Cat’s lead are an assortment of background vocals, including unison doubles, lead harmonies, and independent of the lead adlibs. Together they serve to heighten interest within and across sections, contribute to vibe and emotion, foster familiarity, and call attention to key lyrics.    

In addition, Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By” vocal remains in effect throughout the entire song, serving mainly in a background capacity save for the intro and outro, where it’s the only vocal in the mix. 

Effects & Processing

“Paint The Town Red” features common hit song vocal processing, including reverb, compression, and subtle autotune to heighten the effectiveness of the sung vocal performances.

Vocal Production Visualization Key 

Lead: Female (Doja Cat): Doja Cat’s lead vocal
Sample Vocal: Female (Dionne Warwick): Dionne Warwick’s lead vocal from the “Walk On By” sample
BGV 1: Female (Unison Double): Background vocal doubles in unison with the lead
BGV 2: Female (Lead Harmony): Background vocals that harmonize with the lead on different pitches

S: Sung
R: Rapped
BGV: Background vocals

Underlined Lyrics: Denotes unison doubles with the lead
Color-Coded Lyrics: Denotes lyrics sung in unison with the lead (light green) and in harmony with the lead (dark green). Note that this matches the color-coding of the above vocal arrangement overview table

Vocal Delivery Arrangement Overview

Vocal Melody: Overview

Sectional Melodic Part Structure: At-A-Glance 

CHORUSES 

VOCAL BREAKS 

VERSE 1 

VERSE 2 

Sectional Melodic Pattern: At-A-Glance

CHORUSES

VOCAL BREAKS 

VERSE 1

VERSE 2

Rhymes: Overview

“Paint The Town Red” features an abundance of expertly crafted rhymes and other lyrical connection accentuators that bolsters the song’s ability to connect and resonate. Among them are logically unfolding end-of-line rhyme schemes and a plethora of strategically placed internal rhymes, double and triple rhymes, alliterations, lyrical repetitions, cross-section commonalities and unique pronunciations to make rhymes happen where they otherwise wouldn’t.

Key

A, B & C: End-of-line Rhymes
Underline: Repetitive lyrics
Colors and rhyme schemes are unique to each section

*For simplicity of analysis, note that only lyrics connected by both rhyme and another notable characteristic (i.e., proximity, placement, melodic connection, etc.) are shown in each table. Lyrics that rhyme but are otherwise unconnected are not noted.

Narrative: Overview

“Paint The Town Red” is a lifestyle, inspiration/empowerment and boasting-themed song about Doja Cat’s defiance and perseverance against her haters. Supporting this are depictions of Doja Cat’s confidence, rebellious spirit, and determination to succeed on her own terms, while addressing topics of fame, personal qualities, and career aspirations.

The narrative unfolds in a logical and easy-to-follow manner, utilizing an effective balance of clever and common lyricism that is both intriguing and easy-to-grasp. While the interpretive storyline pertains to Doja Cat specifically, the universal subject matter of perseverance and living life your own way primes “Paint The Town Red” to connect with the listener on a profound personal level as well. 

INTRO & ALL SUBSEQUENT SECTIONS

CHORUSES

VOCAL BREAKS

VERSE 1

VERSE 2

Song Structure


Overview

“Paint The Town Red” possesses structural qualities that are in line with both hip hop (the song’s primary genre) and non-hip hop Hot 100 top 10 hits. The song’s hip hop-leaning qualities include the chorus preceding the first verse, omission of a “D” (departure) section and pre-chorus, lengthy verses, and minor tonality, all of which are more common in hip hop hits than genres outside of hip hop. Conversely, the inclusion of catchy vocal break post-choruses, spending the vast majority of time in a hook-based section (intro, chorus, post-chorus and outro) and 100 BPM tempo are more in line with genres outside of hip hop, most notably pop.

Together, these qualities, among others, helped make “Paint The Town Red” familiar and approachable to both hip hop and non-hip hop audiences alike, broadening the song’s reach and success potential.

Song Sections

“Paint The Town Red” contains 10 sections within its framework:

  • One intro section
  • Two verse sections
  • Three chorus sections
  • Three vocal break post-chorus sections
  • One outro section

Song Section Classifications

Post-Chorus Section Classification

“Paint The Town Red’s” post-choruses are the vocal breaks following each chorus. They feature the summative “Mm, she the devil / she a bad lil’ b***h she a rebel” vocal hook over the continuation of the chorus accompaniment and sample-based “Walk On By” hook.

While post-chorus usage among hip hop Hot 100 top 10 hits has generally been low in recent years, accounting for less than 10% of songs between 2017 and 2021, they’ve recently been on the rise. In 2022, their use jumped to 28% of songs, and midway through 2023 they were at 40% (present in two of the year’s five hip hop hits). In addition to “Paint The Town Red,” notable recent hip hop hits that feature a pre-chorus in their framework include “Super Freaky Girl” (#1), “All My Life” (#2), and “Big Energy” (#3).

Use of a Post-Chorus in Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q2 2023

Form

Time and Percent into the Song When Core Sections Occur

“Paint The Town Red”

Song & Section Length

Song Length

“Paint The Town Red” clocks in at 3:50, 23 seconds longer than the mid-year 2023 hip hop average of 3:27, and 35 seconds longer than the overall Hot 100 top 10 average of 3:15. Since 2020, the 3:30-3:59 song length range has increased both among hip hop hits and the overall top 10, rising to 40% and 29% of songs, respectively.

Song Length Ranges of Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q2 2023

Section Length

“Paint The Town Red” features highly uniform section lengths, which creates structural familiarity in the scope of the song. Each section lands at 19 seconds/8 bars save for the notably longer double length verse sections, which is a common trait of verse-centric hip hop hits. Compared to hip hop Hot 100 top 10 trends over the past year (Q3 2022 – Q2 2023), “Paint The Town Red’s” section lengths are within 5 seconds or less of the average:

  • The intro is 2 seconds longer than the hip hop average of 17 seconds.
  • The verse is 3 seconds shorter than the hip hop average of 42 seconds.
  • The chorus is 5 seconds shorter than the hip hop average of 24 seconds.
  • The outro is 5 seconds shorter than the hip hop average of 24 seconds.
  • The vocal break is 4 seconds longer than the hip hop average of 15 seconds.

Note that while the verses are the longest sections in the song, an equal amount of time is spent in the combined hook-centric chorus and vocal break post-chorus sections. This provides the song with an effective flow and balance between hooks and narrative development as it progresses.

*Note: Section lengths are rounded.

Total Section Breakdown

*Note that numbers may be rounded, resulting in slightly more or less than 100% of the song’s total composition

The greatest amount of time in “Paint The Town Red” is spend in its two verses, comprising just over one-third of its total composition. The choruses and vocal break post-choruses follow at one-quarter each, followed distantly by the intro and outro at 8% each. In addition, two-thirds of the song is spent in a hook-based section (intro, chorus, vocal break post-chorus and outro).

In terms of trends, “Paint The Town Red” spends significantly less time in the verse, slightly less time in the chorus, significantly more time in the vocal break post-chorus, and a near equal amount of time in the intro and outro compared to hip hop Hot 100 top 10 averages over the past year.

“Paint The Town Red” / Q3 2022 – Q2 2023 Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Average Time Allocation

  • Intro: 8% / 9%
  • Verse: 34% / 46%
  • Chorus: 25% / 30%
  • Vocal Break: 25% / 10%
  • Outro: 8% / 12%

Tempo and Key

Tempo

“Paint The Town Red” sits at 100 BPM, 20 BPM faster than the mid-year 2023 hip hop average of 80 BPM. Over the past year, only 24% of hip hop hits have landed over 100 BPM, with a couple of the most notable being the #1s “First Class” (107 BPM) and “Super Freaky Girl” (133 BPM). Note, however, that the song’s tempo is in line with non-hip hop tempos, which averaged at 103 BPM and 101 BPM in 2022 and mid-year 2023, respectively.

Tempo Range in Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: Q3 2022 – Q2 2023

Key

“Paint The Town Red” is in the key of D minor. Minor tonalities in hip hop hits have been in the majority for over a decade, accounting for 80% of songs in the first half of 2023.

Major vs. Minor Keys in Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q2 2023

Hooks


“Paint The Town Red” features an assortment of strategically arranged sampled and non-sampled hooks that take its catchiness, connectability, and emotional impact to a heightened level.

“Paint The Town Red’s” Hook Arrangement Table

Sample Hooks 

"Paint The Town Red" incorporates two sampled hooks, one vocal and one instrumental, sourced from Dionne Warwick's 1964 hit, "Walk On By." These hooks remain in effect throughout the song, appearing in different degrees of prominence, both in conjunction with and independently of Doja Cat's lead vocal and the accompanying trap beat.

While each hook is catchy on its own, it’s their combined call and response quality that forms a super-catchy multipart hook that takes the song’s infectiousness to a heightened level. In addition, these hooks achieve the following:

  • Contribute to the song’s vibe and emotional impact.
  • Provide the song with an underlying 1960s retro influence.
  • Accentuate the song’s ability to stand out among its mainstream contemporaries.
  • Complement and enhance the song’s narrative through the vocal hook’s summative connotation.

Doja Cat Vocal Hooks

“Paint The Town Red’s” chorus and vocal break post-chorus “hook centers” feature three unique Doja Cat vocal hooks.

Standout Statement Hook #1 (Chorus)
The first hook heard from Doja Cat is her direct, confident, rapped delivery of the powerful lyric “(yeah), b***h, I said what I said.” Primely placed at the top of both chorus stanzas, the hook also serves as the song’s main opening line following the sampled intro, effectively drawing the listener in and setting the tone for the impactful lyrical summation and developments that follow.

Song Title Hook (Chorus)
Bookending each chorus stanza is Doja Cat’s rapped delivery of the song title hook, “I don’t care, I paint the town red,” which provides the song’s main lyrical summation in an intriguing, yet easy-to-grasp, manner due to its familiarity in popular culture. Heightening its impact is its effective combination of lyrical A.I.D.E. principle components including action (“paint”), imagery (full hook), detail device (metaphor), and emotion.

In addition, the song title portion of the hook is both foreshadowed and subsequently reinforced by the rhythmic, inflection, and rhyme commonalities in the vocals that precede and follow (i.e., “said what I said,” “famous instead,” “get to my head”). This is a technique that Hit Songs Deconstructed calls an E.O.L.A., an acronym for end-of-line accentuator.  

Song Title Hook E.O.L.A. Commonalities

Standout Statement #2 (Post-Chorus)

The vocal break post-chorus houses “Paint The Town Red’s” other notable standout statement hook across the first two lines of each stanza: “Mm, she the devil / She a bad lil’ b***h, she a rebel.”

In contrast to the rapped chorus hooks, this hook is sung, which provides an engaging variation in the scope of the song while making the song even more appealing to a pop audience. Further bolstering this appeal is the hook’s K.I.S.S. ME (keep it simple, singable, and memorable) components, including its short to moderate-length phrases, easy-to-lock into rhythms, easy-to-follow melodic patterns, effective balance of repetition and contrast, and a combination of stepwise and stagnant motion along with a few interest-heightening intervallic leaps.

The hook essentially consists of three distinct segments that are segmented from one another by a sustained note and rest:

  • Segment 1: The sustained “Mm” provides an engaging contrast against the faster-paced, rapped delivery of the preceding chorus, enabling the vocal break post-chorus to further stand out and connect. In addition, it provides subtle separation between sections of similar accompaniment without breaking up the groove.
  • Segment 2: The impactful lyric, “she the devil,” stands out with its faster-paced quality and notable leap of a fifth into the key lyric, “devil.”  Note that this lyric also ties in with the red color theme in the song title hook.
  • Segment 3: The concluding standout statement, “she a bad lil’ b***h, she a rebel,” stands on its own following the eighth rest at the end of segment 2. Further punctuating its presence is the leap of a fourth into the impactful lyric, “bad lil’ b***h.”

Further bolstering the hook’s ability to connect and resonate are the following:

  • The “she the devil” and “she a rebel” components rhyme and feature the same rhythms, which heightens cohesion and memorability against the lyrical and melodic variations.
  • The full hook melody is almost identically repeated in the next two lines, while subtle melodic variations and lyrical changes enhance engagement while contributing to the post-chorus lyrical summation.

Genres & Influences


Genres & Influence Blend

Key

X: The influence appears prominently within the stanza and/or section
x: The influence appears minimally within the stanza and/or section
-/-: Divides stanzas

“Paint The Town Red” features a combination of hip hop, trap, pop, R&B/soul and retro 1960s influences that are put into effect by the qualities of the vocals, instruments, lyrics, and the overall production.

The song’s main influence and primary genre is hip hop. This is due in part to Doja Cat’s rap-styled delivery throughout much of the song and the electronic kick, hi hat and bass-focused instrumental arrangement. In addition, the timbre and patterns of the drums and bass provide the song with an underlying trap influence. These influences are featured prominently throughout the song save for the intro, where they’re omitted all together, and the second stanza of both verse sections, where the core drum and bass accompaniment drops out.

“Paint The Town Red’s” pop, R&B/soul and retro 1960s influence are featured in tandem with one another throughout the song and put into effect by the “Walk On By” sample. Recorded back in 1964, the sample features light pop and R&B-styled vocals from Dionne Warwick, smooth keys, and a catchy trumpet hook to boot. Together, these influences are most prominent in the intro and outro and take more of a back seat behind the hip hop/trap instrumental arrangement and Doja Cat’s vocals in the other song sections. However, the pop influence is also prominent in the vocal break post-choruses due to Doja Cat’s entirely sung delivery of the song’s primary vocal hook.

Blending In & Standing Out in the Hot 100 Top 10

“Paint The Town Red’s” expert balance of influences enabled it to connect with a wide array of audiences and cross over into diverse Billboard charts including the US Hot 100, Rhythmic, R&B/Hip Hop, Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 charts.  

Within the hip hop genre specifically, pop and R&B/soul influences have generally been on the rise over the past few years while trap dropped off to a still-notable 80% of songs. The main differential factor both within hip hop and the overall Hot 100 top 10 is the song’s 1960s influence, put into effect by the “Walk On By” sample.

Since 2018, only 2% of hip hop hits have featured a 1960s influence, with the most notable being Lizzo’s chart-topper “Truth Hurts.” Within the overall Hot 100 top 10, it’s been the case with only 3% of hits, with a couple of notable #1s including “Kill Bill” and “Stuck With You.” 

Hip Hop as a Primary Genre in the Hot 100 Top 10: 2018 – Q2 2023

Influences in the Hot 100 Top 10: 2018 – Q2 2023 (Within Hip Hop)

Energy & Dynamics


Overview

“Paint The Town Red” features a relatively linear, groove-based energy flow across its three energy “waves.” This type of energy arrangement is more commonplace in hip hop than in genres outside of hip hop, which tend to feature more dynamic fluctuations across sections.

However, to help keep things interesting along the way, lower-energy breakdowns are implemented in the second stanza of each verse, and partial and full accompaniment pull S.I.A.s (section impact accentuators) are implemented within and across sections to heighten engagement, highlight key lyrics, and provide separation between sections of similar accompaniment.

Energy Arrangement

Energy Graph Key

Bar Lines: Illustrate increases and decreases in energy over the course of the song
Downward Red S.I.A.: The full accompaniment is removed from the mix, resulting in a brief reduction in energy.
Downward Yellow S.I.A.: A part of the accompaniment is removed from the mix, resulting in a brief reduction in energy.

Loudness

“Paint The Town Red’s” loudness level progressions are generally in-line with the song’s three energy “waves.” The loudest sections in the song are the vocal break post-chorus, first stanza of each verse, and outro, all landing at -8.5 LUFS. Close behind are the choruses, landing at -9 LUFS. Note that all these sections share the commonality of the loud and powerful hip hop/trap beat.  

Following these sections are the second stanza of each verse, landing at -13.5 LUFS. These two sections forego the core hip hop/trap beat in favor of the softer “Walk On By” sample supporting Doja Cat’s rapped delivery. The softest section in the song is the intro, which lands at a notably quieter -18.5 LUFS. This is the only section in the song comprised entirely of the “Walk On By” sample without any supporting vocals from Doja Cat or powerful hip hop/trap beat.

Section-By-Section

Wave 1: Intro (I) – Vocal Break Post-Chorus 1 (VB1 PST)

Intro (I)
“Paint The Town Red’s” lowest energy section is the intro. Consisting solely of the “Walk On By” sample, it establishes a mellow, laid-back groove that provides room for energetic growth in subsequent sections, along with enabling the ensuing chorus to hit with greater perceived impact.

Chorus 1 (B1)
With the “Walk On By” sample from the intro remaining in effect, “Paint The Town Red’s” first chorus hits hard with the introduction of the powerful bass, snap and hi hat hip hop/trap- based arrangement. This, along with Doja Cat’s rhythmic-focused delivery, provides the song with a greater sense of groove-based forward motion and power.

S.I.A. #1

A partial accompaniment pull S.I.A. is implemented in the last two beats of the chorus through the removal of the hip hop/trap arrangement, leaving only the “Walk On By” sample in the mix. This creates a brief transitional lull that achieves a few key things, including providing separation between sections of similar accompaniment, enabling the ensuing vocal break post-chorus to further stand out and connect, and highlighting the “paint the town red” song title hook. 

Vocal Break Post-Chorus 1 (VB PST 1)
Following the energy reducing S.I.A., the vocal break post-chorus brings the song's energy to its first peak. While both the chorus and vocal break post-chorus feature the powerful and forward-moving hip hop/trap beat, the post-chorus’ flowing melodies and most notably denser vocal production provide the section with a subtly more intense quality.

S.I.A. #2

A partial accompaniment pull S.I.A. in line with S.I.A. #1 is used to transition from the vocal break post-chorus into the first verse with the same results.

Wave 2: Verse 1 (A1) – Vocal Break Post-Chorus 2 (VB2 PST)

Verse 1 (A1) Stanza 1
Following the S.I.A. at the end of the vocal break post-chorus, the first stanza of verse 1 brings the song’s energy down a touch to a level on par with the preceding chorus. This is due to the reversion to a rapped delivery from Doja Cat over the continuation of the hip hop/trap arrangement.

S.I.A. #3

At the transition point into the second stanza, another partial accompaniment pull S.I.A. in line with the others is implemented. However, this time it is used to subtly heighten engagement and set the stage for the stanza 2 breakdown that follows.

Verse 1 (A1) Stanza 2
The verse’s second stanza omits the core hip hop/trap beat for the first time since the intro, leaving only the “Walk On By” sample and backbeat snaps supporting Doja Cat’s rapped vocals.  
This provides an engaging reduction in density while maintaining forward motion.

S.I.A. #4

Further heightening engagement in this two-stanza section is the first instance of a full accompaniment pull S.I.A. Appearing midway through the second stanza, this brief one-beat full accompaniment pull creates an unexpected, jarring moment that also serves to highlight the first of the standout “ugh” lyrics.

S.I.A. #5

At the end of the verse, the snaps are pulled from the already sparse arrangement to further bolster the arrival of the ensuing chorus.

Chorus 2 and Vocal Break Post-Chorus 2 (B2, VB2 PST)
Both chorus 2 and vocal break post-chorus 2 follow suit with their first occurrence counterparts in terms of energy, arrangement, and vocal qualities.

Wave 3: Verse 2 (A2) – Outro (O)

Wave 3 essentially features the same arrangement and energy flow as wave 2, which creates structural and sonic familiarity in the scope of the song. However, there are a couple of key differences to note:
  • A one-beat full accompaniment pull S.I.A. is uniquely implemented on the downbeat of the third and final chorus. Along with heightening engagement at the onset of the section due to its unexpected use, it also serves to highlight another standout lyric, “b***h.”
  • The outro bookends the song on a familiar note with the “Walk On By” sample and the omission of Doja Cat’s vocals. However, compared to the intro, the powerful hip hop/trap beat remains in effect. This rides the listener out on an energetic groove before abruptly cutting off at the end.  

Instrumental Arrangement


Overview

“Paint The Town Red’s” instrumental arrangement is both classic and current, fusing the classic 1964 “Walk On By” sample with a modern hip hop/trap beat.
Along with creating an engaging sonic tapestry, both work in perfect unison with Doja Cat’s vocals to accentuate the impact of the empowerment-themed lyrics.

Instruments: Hip Hop/Trap Beat

Drums/Percussion

Kick (Electronic)
The electronic kick drum possesses a modern, punchy timbre. It is present solely in the first stanza of the verses and outro, where it locks in with the bass pattern to provide it with heightened definition and power.

Snaps (Electronic)
The electronic snaps are initially heard in the first chorus and provide the backbeat (beats 2 and 4) for the duration of the song. They possess a layered, bright quality, which along with the subtle chorusing enables them to further stand out in the mix. In addition, the decision to use snaps on the backbeat as opposed to a snare was warranted to enhance the song’s laid-back, grooving vibe.

Hi Hat (Electronic)
The electronic hi hat is featured in every song section except for the intro. It possesses a bright timbre and plays an eighth-note pattern interspersed with rapid-fire rolls, which is commonplace in trap beats. Its use contributes high-frequency information to the mix, provides forward motion, and bolsters the song’s hip hop/trap influence.

Filtered Hi Hat (Electronic)
The filtered hi hat appears solely in the first stanza of each verse and outro. It provides these sections with heightened sonic and rhythmic interest with its unique, gritty, electronic shaker-like timbre and syncopated accents.

Bass

808 Bass
The 808 bass is heard in every song section except for the intro. It possesses a deep timbre, providing each section with low end power and rhythmic motion while contributing to the song’s hip hop/trap influence.

Instruments: "Walk On By" Sample & Complementing Elements

Drums/Percussion

Shaker (Acoustic)
The acoustic shaker contributes to the laid-back groove with a consistent eighth-note pattern. It is processed with reverb and slightly panned to the right.

Brass

Lead Trumpet
The lead trumpet plays a staccato pattern that serves as the song’s catchy, recognizable instrumental hook and is panned to the left.

Warbly Trumpets
Two harmonizing trumpets with a warbly quality play a repetitive, sustained two-note pattern in every section of the song save for the first half of the intro. They provide engaging harmonic and timbral contrast while contributing to the song’s vibe and meshing with the other sample elements in the mix.

Synths

Bright Synth
The bright synth is heard in the first stanza of each verse and the outro. It possesses a bright timbre reminiscent of a Yamaha DX7 that provides engaging high-frequency contrast against the other midrange-focused elements in the mix.

Warbly Flute Synth
The warbly flute synth contributes a sustained pad-like pattern at a low level in the mix, subtly providing contrast through its resonant and warbled timbre.

Warm Brass Synth Lead
The warm brass synth plays a tension-heightening, ascending countermelody in the second stanza of both verses carrying over into the beginning of each ensuing chorus. It possesses a distinct brass-like timbre that complements the sampled trumpet and is treated with reverb and delay that contributes to the section’s depth and atmosphere. In addition, vibrato is added to further heighten interest as it progresses.

Keys

Electric Piano
The electric piano is heard in the intro and verses, establishing a harmonic foundation, possessing a timbre similar to a classic Rhodes, and adding depth and atmosphere to the mix through its notable reverb, tremolo, and filter processing. 

Guitars

Acoustic Guitar Strumming
The acoustic guitar is featured relatively low in the mix, panned right. It plays a steady eighth-note strummed pattern that contributes to the groove and provides additional texture.

Electric Guitar Stabs
A bright electric guitar processed with slight overdrive contributes to the groove with syncopated muted stabs.

"Walk On By" Sample

“Paint The Town Red” uses a brief five-second sample (0:14-0:19) from Dionne Warwick’s 1964 hit, “Walk On By,” as its main “hip hop beat” hook, as Hit Songs Deconstructed calls it. Penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the song hit the top spot on the Cashbox R&B chart and #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The original sample segment consists of acoustic guitar strums, electric guitar stabs, vibey electric piano, low-level acoustic piano, and a shaker, all of which support Dionne Warwick’s delivery of the “walk on by” song title hook and trumpet hook. Complementing these elements in “Paint The Town Red” are the uniquely added warbly trumpets, warbly flute synth, warm brass synth, and bright synth, all of which enhance its presence and vibe. In addition, the sample’s fidelity has been manipulated with a glitchy, skipping effect, which provides it with heightened character.

The core sample repeats throughout the song, with the complementing elements being added and removed as warranted. In terms of prominence, it is featured most notably in the intro, where it’s the sole element in the mix. It takes more of a back seat in the vocal sections of the of the song, where it serves to support Doja Cat’s vocals while being reinforced in a subtler manner, and in the verse stanza 1 segments, choruses, vocal break post-choruses, and outro, it is featured in conjunction with the prominent hip hop/trap beat. Furthermore, note that the sample’s mid-range focus provides room for the hip hop/trap beat to further fill out the frequency spectrum with the high frequency hats and low frequency bass and kick.

Instrumental Arrangement: Section-By-Section

Intro (0:00 – 0:19)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

“Paint The Town Red’s” intro consists solely of the modified “Walk On By” sample (see above for specifics). Its instrumental arrangement achieves a few key things at the top of the song:

  • It begins mid-stream into the sample (i.e., in the middle of Warwick’s sustained “bye” as opposed to a smoother, more natural lead in). While this “false beginning” is much more atypical than the more common “false ending,” it functions as a psychological tool that instantly engrosses the listener in the song.
  • It immediately imparts the song’s retro R&B/soul and pop influences. However, the sample’s processing and complementing elements provide it with a modern spin as well, making it more relevant to modern ears.
  • It establishes a laid-back groove that is both serene and melancholic. Along with drawing the listener in and setting the song’s initial vibe and emotion, it enables the direct confidence present in Doja Cat’s ensuing chorus vocal and accompanying hip hop/trap beat to further stand out and connect in comparison.
  • Along with the Dionne Warwick vocal, the sample serves as an instantly recognizable, unique calling card for the song. As soon as one hears it, they know exactly what song it is.
  • Its midrange focus provides room for high and low frequency growth in the subsequent chorus. 

Intro Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Chorus 1 (0:19 – 0:38)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

With the “Walk On By” sample elements remaining in effect to provide cross-section continuity and vibe, the chorus adds a prominent hip hop/trap beat to the mix, consisting of electronic kick, 808 bass, hi hat and snaps. Their addition achieves a few key things, including:

  • Enabling the chorus to stand out and connect on a profound level right from the get-go. Furthermore, note that the bass entering on the downbeat in tandem with the key lyric “bitch” punctuates its impact.
  • Locking the listener into a powerful groove. Note that the rapid-fire hi hat roll in the last beat of bar 4 (i.e., the midway point of the section) serves to further heighten interest while imparting the chorus with a recognizable trap characteristic.
  • Complementing Doja Cat’s confidently rapped vocals through the beat’s powerful, driving qualities.
  • Filling out the frequency spectrum from the low bass to the mid/high snaps to the high hi hats. 

In the last bar of the chorus, the 808 bass, snaps and hi hat are removed from the mix. This creates a partial accompaniment pull S.I.A. (section impact accentuator) that:

  • Provides separation between sections of similar accompaniment.
  • Enables the ensuing vocal break post-chorus to further stand out and connect.
  • Further calls attention to the “paint the town red” song title hook through the arrangement’s sparser qualities.

Chorus 1 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Vocal Break 1 (0:38 – 0:57)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

The vocal break post-chorus retains the same instrumental arrangement as the preceding chorus. This continuity across sections keeps the listener locked in the groove and allows their full attention to be on the first instance of the “Mm, she the devil…” vocal hook without distraction.

In the last two beats of the section, the bass, snaps and hi hat are once again pulled from the mix. Like the chorus before it, this S.I.A. technique serves to subtly heighten engagement leading into the ensuing verse and provide separation between sections of similar accompaniment.

Vocal Break 1 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Verse 1 (0:57 – 1:36)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

Stanza 1
The first stanza of verse 1 features the same core accompaniment as the preceding vocal break post-chorus, providing cross-section continuity against the lyrical development and vocal style shift from sung to rapped. However, there are a few subtle and notable changeups to the arrangement that help to prevent redundancy:

  • A kick drum is layered in with the 808 bass, further punctuating the rhythmic pattern and providing the section with additional low-end power.
  • A filtered, gritty electronic hi hat playing a sparse, syncopated pattern provides additional texture while subtly contributing to the groove. Conversely, note that the rapid-fire hi hat roll that was featured at the midway point of the chorus and vocal break post-chorus is omitted from the mix.
  • The classic Rhodes-sounding keys from the intro returns, providing the verse with additional color, texture, vibe, and harmonic support.
  • A bright synth performing whole note chords provides additional harmonic support and an engaging timbral shift due to its bright, digital timbre.

In the last two bars of the first stanza, the arrangement begins to thin out. First to go is the electric piano, followed by the bright synth, warbly trumpet, and the bulk of the percussion and bass. This provides a smooth, wind down transition into the ensuing breakdown second stanza while maintaining the listener’s focus on the vocals without jarring distraction.

Stanza 2
The second stanza initially breaks down to the sparsest arrangement heard since the intro, consisting primarily of the “Walk On By” sample, backbeat snaps, and the newly added warm brass synth. This synth performs an ascending legato pattern that heightens tension and interest as the section progresses, while the overarching breakdown heightens engagement against the preceding denser and more powerful hip hop/trap beat.

At the midway point of the stanza, a full accompaniment pull S.I.A. is implemented, creating an engaging, jarring moment that also serves to highlight the first of the repeated “ugh” vocals. This is followed by the return of the warbly trumpet, which subtly heightens interest as the song approaches the second chorus. Further bolstering the chorus’ impact is the omission of snaps on beat 4.

Verse 1 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Chorus 2 (1:36 – 1:55)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

Following the verse breakdown, chorus 2 hits hard with the reintroduction of the powerful 808 bass and hats. This returns the song to the powerful hip hop/trap groove that defined its chorus 1 counterpart.

The sole difference between choruses is the carryover of the warm brass synth lead from the preceding verse, which gradually decreases in volume over the first two bars. While subtle, this helps to provide a greater sense of cohesion across disparate sections. 

Chorus 2 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Vocal Break 2 (1:55 – 2:14)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

Similar to the chorus 1/chorus 2 relationship, the second vocal break post-chorus features an identical arrangement as its first occurrence counterpart. Along with heightening familiarity in the scope of the song, it keeps the listener locked in the catchy groove while the vocal hooks take center stage.

Vocal Break 2 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Verse 2 (2:14 – 2:53)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

Like the chorus and vocal break post-chorus relationships, verse 2 features the same instrumental arrangement as its verse 1 counterpart, allowing the listener’s focus to be on the lyrical development.

The sole difference between sections is the omission of the full accompaniment pull, which was initially implemented on the first instance of the lyric “ugh” in verse 1. This strategic decision prevents redundancy and predictability in the scope of the song. Instead, a vocal rest is implemented to provide a changeup across sections.

Verse 2 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Chorus 3 (2:53 – 3:12)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

Chorus 3 features the same instrumental arrangement as its chorus 1 and 2 counterparts with one notable difference: a full accompaniment pull S.I.A. is implemented on the downbeat. Where the bass hit punctuated the lyric “b***h” in choruses 1 and 2, here the full accompaniment pull does the same in a fresh, new way by creating an engaging, unexpected moment that also serves to bolster the final chorus’ arrival.

Chorus 3 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Vocal Break 3 (3:12 – 3:31)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

Vocal break 3 is identical to its previous vocal break counterparts.

Vocal Break 3 Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Outro (3:31 – 3:50)

Chord Progression: Gm7 – Am7 (G Dorian: i7 – ii7)

The outro reprises the first stanza arrangement of both verse sections. This rides the listener out on a powerful, groove-based note without new or recycled vocal material from Doja Cat.
The song ends as abruptly as it began by cutting off mid-stream, which leaves the listener hanging and likely longing for more. 

Outro Arrangement: At-A-Glance

Harmonic Progressions


“Paint The Town Red” features one main chord progression with no significant deviations.

Progression 1

Progression 1: Variation 1

Gm7 – Am7

Progression Characteristics

“Paint The Town Red’s” sole chord progression is rooted in G Dorian, following a Gm7 – Am7 (i7 – ii7) pattern. The unique use of the Dorian mode and two-chord progression provides the song with an underlying cycle of tension and release, heightened by the use of jazz-based tensions present in the chord progression (7th) and trumpet hook (9th).

Delivering the chord progression throughout the song are an assortment of synths and electric piano. Complementing it are aspects of the trumpet, 808 synth bass and low-level acoustic guitar patterns.

*In the Hit Songs Deconstructed Immersion Database, the song is shown in the key of D minor, since the database does not account for all modes. This was done to properly illustrate the all-important E natural in the Am7 chord, which is indicative of G Dorian.

Vocals


Vocal Production

Lead Vocal Gender

“Paint The Town Red” features a solo female vocal performance from Doja Cat. Within the hip hop genre, Hot 100 top 10s with a solo female lead have been few and far between over the past five years, accounting for just 6% of songs or less. In the first two quarters of 2023, the only representative preceding “Paint The Town Red’s” arrival in Q3 was Coi Leray’s “Players.”

Lead Vocal Gender in Hot 100 Top 10 (Hip Hop Hits): 2018 – Q2 2023

Lead Vocal Delivery

“Paint The Town Red” features a combination of sung and rapped lead deliveries from Doja Cat. Hip hop top 10s that feature a combination of sung and rapped deliveries have been by far most common over the past five years and beyond, accounting for 80% or more since 2020.

Lead Vocal Delivery in Hot 100 Top 10 (Hip Hop Hits): 2018 – Q2 2023

Background Vocals

Complementing Doja Cat’s lead are an assortment of background vocals, including unison doubles, lead harmonies, and independent of the lead adlibs. Together they serve to heighten interest within and across sections, contribute to vibe and emotion, foster familiarity, and call attention to key lyrics.

In addition, Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By” vocal remains in effect throughout the entire song, serving mainly in a background capacity save for the intro and outro, where it’s the only vocal in the mix.

Effects & Processing

“Paint The Town Red” features common hit song vocal processing, including reverb, compression, and subtle autotune to heighten the effectiveness of the sung vocal performances.

Vocal Production Visualization Key

Lead: Female (Doja Cat): Doja Cat’s lead vocal
Sample Vocal: Female (Dionne Warwick): Dionne Warwick’s lead vocal from the “Walk On By” sample
BGV 1: Female (Unison Double): Background vocal doubles in unison with the lead
BGV 2: Female (Lead Harmony): Background vocals that harmonize with the lead on different pitches

S: Sung
R: Rapped
BGV: Background vocals

Underlined Lyrics: Denotes unison doubles with the lead

Color-Coded Lyrics: Denotes lyrics sung in unison with the lead (light green) and in harmony with the lead (dark green). Note that this matches the color-coding of the above vocal arrangement overview table

Vocal Delivery Arrangement Overview

Intro

The first vocal heard in “Paint The Town Red” is Dionne Warwick’s solo sung lead from the “Walk On By” sample. Processed with reverb and featured mid/low in the mix, her serene, soulful delivery jibes perfectly with the instrumental elements in establishing the song’s underlying laidback groove.

Note that Warwick’s sampled vocal appears throughout the remainder of the song but is omitted from the remaining lyric tables for visualization purposes.

Chorus 1

The first chorus provides a jarring shift in vocal production with the introduction of Doja Cat’s rapped lead into the mix. Her vocal is processed with minimal reverb, which allows her direct, confident delivery to punctuate the trap beat and accentuate the impact of the lyrics, most notably on the section opener, “yeah, b***h.” Furthermore, note the juxtaposition between Doja Cat’s lead against Dionne Warwick’s laid-back sampled vocal, which is now featured at a lower level in the mix. This contrast further heightens interest as the song progresses.

Stanza 2 introduces a higher register, breathy harmony into the mix that is double tracked, panned across the stereo field, and processed with more notable reverb compared to Doja’s lead. It appears on the last four syllables of each line, achieving the following:

  • It heightens interest against the repetitive vocals and lyrics.
  • It provides the chorus with a unique quality that enables it to further stand out against the other sections in the song.
  • It accentuates key lyrics in each line, including the song title in line 8.

In addition, the harmony’s similar placement across lines fosters familiarity, which bolsters the listener’s ability to connect with the section.

Vocal Break 1

“Paint The Town Red” undergoes another notable shift in vocal production in the first vocal break post-chorus. Doja Cat shifts to a sung delivery as opposed to rapped, with her lead now featured at a relatively equal level with the sung doubles and harmonies that span the stereo field. This, along with the notable reverb, creates a lush, dense, smooth vocal soundscape that achieves the following:

  • It complements the continuation of the “Walk On By” sample, which is featured relatively low in the mix.
  • It provides engaging contrast against Doja Cat’s rapped lead in the chorus and continuation of the trap beat. This both serves to heighten interest as the song progresses while enabling the post-chorus to further stand out and connect.
  • The harmony layer becomes more prominent and direct in the second stanza, heightening interest against the section’s otherwise repetitive qualities.

Verse 1

Verse 1 reverts to the direct, rapped vocal qualities that define the first chorus, which simultaneously heightens both interest and familiarity in the scope of the song.

Similar to the chorus and post-chorus, the verse changes things up a bit in its second stanza to heighten interest against the continuation of Doja Cat’s rapped lead, which is in effect through the entirety of the section. Here, notable reverb is applied to the lyric “ugh” at the beginning of the last four lines. Along with heightening interest, it achieves the following:

  • It provides a cohesive thread across the last four lines, further engaging the listener through the familiarity imparted.
  • It serves as an additional embellishment that also provides “Paint The Town Red” with a notable, standout quality.
  • It accentuates the emotion present in the lyrics.

In the last line of the section, two “yeah” lead pickups are heard, heightening interest and hyping things up as the song heads into the second chorus.

Chorus 2 - Outro

The balance of the song features vocal production qualities that are in line with the sections that precede them, along with a few deviations:

  • The choruses and vocal break post-choruses are identical to their first occurrence counterparts.
  • Verse 2 is identical to verse 1 save for two changeups: The reverb-laden “ugh” and “yeah” lead pickups are omitted, which prevents predictability and redundancy in the scope of the song; and there is a subtle changeup in the quality of Doja Cat’s rapped lead at the beginning of the second stanza.
  • The outro reverts to the “Walk On By” sample, bookending the song on a familiar note with Dionne Warwick’s solo lead.

The outro maintains the same vocal qualities as the preceding two sections, which provides cross-section cohesion as the song draws to a close.

Vocal Melody

Key

Vocal Part Classifications
Main vocal parts, such as upper-case A,B and C, reflect the main melodic/rapped structure of each line in a song section.
Vocal sub-parts, such as lower-case a, b, c, reflect melodic/rapped structure both within and across lines.

The vocal part classifications in each song section are specific to that particular section (i.e., a part A classification in verse 1 does not relate to part A in verse 2 or the chorus).

Vocal parts are determined by pitches, rhythms, inflections, and pattern commonalities.

Choruses

Chorus Part Structure: At-A-Glance

“Paint The Town Red’s” all rapped chorus is composed of an ABBB/ABBB main vocal structure across its two stanzas. It features relatively simple, short, repetitive patterns which, in conjunction with the similar 7888/6888 syllable structure and AAAA/AAAA end-of-line rhyme scheme, makes the all-important chorus very easy to connect with and remember.

Opening Line
Doja Cat’s opening line, “yeah, b***h, I said what I said,” is composed of vocal subparts a and b1. Subpart a consists of two quarter notes that rise in inflection, helping to punctuate the standout lyric, “yeah, b***h.” Subpart b1 follows with alternating rises and falls in inflection, similar to the Hit Songs Deconstructed A.M.P. (Alternating Melodic Pattern) technique. This provides the powerful opening line with a catchy, roll-off-the-tongue quality that easily connects with and is remembered by the listener. In addition, note the rise in inflection at the end of subpart b1 on the lyric “said.” This contrasts the other subpart b2s in the section, all of which fall in inflection and conclude with a more direct quality. The rise provides the line with an intriguing quality that piques interest and heightens anticipation for what comes next.

Subsequent Lines 
The subsequent lines in both stanzas are composed of subpart b2, all of which are identical across iterations. While similar to subpart b1, they possess subtle rhythmic and inflection differences, which together provides the chorus with an effective balance of familiarity and interest. Additionally, note that the last four syllables of each b2 subpart are identical to subpart b1, save for the fall in inflection. This commonality serves as a catchy E.O.L.A. (End Of Line Accentuator) that further bolsters connection value across lines along with the repetitive rhyme scheme and syllable structure.

Stanza 2
Stanza 2 features the same lead vocal qualities as stanza 1, ensuring that the chorus gets firmly ingrained in the listener’s head. Helping to heighten interest are the inclusion of background vocals, which complement Doja Cat’s lead (see the Vocal Production segment of the report for details).

Vocal Breaks

Vocal Break Melodic Part Structure: At-A-Glance

In contrast to Doja Cat’s rapped verses and choruses, the vocal break post-choruses are entirely sung, following an alternating A-B main melodic structure across their two stanzas. As one would expect from a post-chorus “hook center,” it features catchy melodies that largely adhere to the Hit Songs Deconstructed K.I.S.S. ME principle (keep it simple, singable and memorable) to ensure the section fully connects with and is remembered by the listener. Among the section’s K.I.S.S. ME qualities are its short to moderate length phrases, easy-to-lock into rhythms, easy-to-follow melodic patterns, effective balance of repetition and contrast, and a combination of stepwise and stagnant motion along with a few interest-heightening intervallic leaps.

Lines 1, 3, 5, 7
The odd numbered lines throughout the section are composed of the A melody and two subparts – two variations of subpart a (a1 and a2) and subpart b.

The opening line of both stanzas, “Mm, she the devil,” is composed of subparts a1 and b. Subpart a1 is the “mm” vocal, which is sustained for one and a half beats on the root. Subpart b, “she the devil,” is delivered over scale degrees 1-1-5-4 and features a faster, mainly sixteenth note delivery. Together, they achieve a few key things:

  • The sustained “Mm” in line 1 provides engaging contrast against the faster-paced, rapped delivery of the preceding chorus, enabling the vocal break post-chorus to further stand out and connect. In addition, it provides subtle separation between sections of similar accompaniment without breaking up the groove.
  • The leap of a fifth in the subpart b melody punctuates the potent lyric, “she the devil.” In addition, it provides the post-chorus with an engaging variation from its mainly stepwise and stagnant patterns.
  • Along with the lyrics, the unique melodic qualities create one of the song’s most recognizable standout vocal hooks.

Lines 3 and 7 are composed of subparts a2 and b. Subpart a2 differs from subpart a1 in that it features a string of faster-paced sixteenth notes on the root preceding the sustained quarter note commonality with subpart a1. This variation serves to heighten both interest and familiarity while accommodating the additional lyrics and melodically filling out the section.

Lines 2, 4, 6, 8
The even numbered lines are composed of the C melody, which features two subtle variations (subparts c1 and c2).

Following the engaging leap of a fifth in the subpart b melody (“she the devil”/ “to the pedal”) and ensuing eighth rest, the first five syllables of the C melody return to the root, which provides engaging contrast and sets up another leap to scale degree 4 in the lyric “she a bad lil’ b***h” before descending stepwise down to scale degree 2. Along with heightening interest, it calls attention to and punctuates this powerful lyric while also providing a subtle familiarity with subpart b due to the similar melodic shape and sixteenth-note based rhythms.

In the same vein, the end of each line features a notable commonality between subparts b and c, with an identical rhythmic pattern across the last four syllables, as depicted in the boxed areas in the sheet music above. This contributes to the post-chorus’s effective balance of familiarity and interest while also serving as an E.O.L.A. that bolsters rhyme connection.

Verse 1

Verse 1 Part Structure: At-A-Glance

Following the sung vocal break post-chorus, verse 1 reverts to an all-rapped delivery from Doja Cat. The entire two-stanza, 16-line section is composed of an all-A main vocal structure due to the commonalities across lines. However, there an array of subpart a and b variations brought on by changes in rhythm and inflection that help to keep things interesting while keeping the listener locked into Doja’s flow and the lyrical developments.

Stanza 1
Stanza 1 features a lesser amount of variation compared to stanza 2, which is warranted to help ensure the listener remains locked into the song, especially following the simplistic post-chorus (if the verse patterns were too complex, the listener might disengage).

Each line is composed of two subparts (a & b) that possess distinct qualities:

  • Subpart a resides on a higher inflection than subpart b and features an eighth and syncopated sixteenth-note rhythmic pattern that remains largely the same across lines.
  • Subpart b initially continues the higher inflection but then drops lower across the last few syllables. This, along with the rhythmic shift, heightens interest within lines while serving as a consistent E.O.L.A. across lines, heightening familiarity and end-of-line rhyme connection as the stanza progresses. 

Stanza 2
Stanza 2 features a combination of subtle and more pronounced shifts in rhythm and inflection compared to stanza 1. In addition to heightening interest while remaining cohesive within the scope of the section, these shifts also serve to bolster the impact of the lyrical developments. A few of the most notable changeups include:

  • The shift to an eighth-note rhythm across the last few syllables of each line as opposed to the faster eighth and sixteenth-note rhythms in the first stanza. Note that this also serves as an E.O.L.A.
  • The inclusion of a quarter note that delivers the lyric “ugh” at the beginning of the last four lines. This, along with the reverb processing, creates a unique standout moment that further heightens interest while emphasizing the fed-up emotion behind the lyric. 

Verse 2

Verse 2 Part Structure: At-A-Glance

Like verse 1, verse 2 features an all-rapped delivery from Doja Cat. However, her rap style differs in a manner more indicative of hip hop than pop, which typically features highly similar verse melodies across iterations. In addition, verse 2 features a higher degree of inflection and rhythmic variation across its two stanzas with an all-A/all-B main vocal structure, respectively (as opposed to all-A across stanzas), along with an assortment of subpart variations.

However, this variation is balanced by the section’s short to moderate length lines, use of repetition and rhyme scheme mirroring, which ensures that the listener still easily connects with and remembers what they’re hearing.

Stanza 1
Similar to verse 1, stanza 1 in verse 2 is composed of multiple variations of subparts a and b (note that they are not related to verse 1). Subpart a features straightforward, eighth and sixteenth-note rhythms with slight variations in inflection across lines to punctuate key lyrics. Subpart b features inflection variations reminiscent of the Hit Songs Deconstructed A.M.P. (Alternating Melodic Pattern) technique and identical eighth and sixteenth-note syncopated rhythms, which also serve as a cohesion-heightening E.O.L.A. across the stanza.

Stanza 2
Stanza 2 features a more notable changeup in Doja’s rap style compared to stanza 1, hence the B main vocal part tagging. In addition to being a bit shorter, these lines essentially run straight through without any notable segmentation, unlike preceding verse stanzas. Along with heightening interest within the section, the shift in style also accentuates the impact of the lyrics. A few examples include:

  • Lines 9-11 are delivered with alternating rises and falls in inflection, also similar to the Hit Songs Deconstructed A.M.P. technique. This provides a catchy, taunting-like quality that heightens the impact of the boastful lyrics.
  • Line 12’s “fans ain’t dumb but extremists are,” where Doja Cat delivers the impactful lyric in a more impassioned manner compared to the other lines in the section.
  • The prolonged period of rest that follows line 12, which allows the impactful line to sink in while creating an unexpected, off-kilter moment that heightens the impact of the powerful lyric that follows, “I’m a demon lord,” which is delivered in a more matter-of-fact manner. Furthermore, note that this is the same point in verse 1 that features a full accompaniment pull S.I.A. (Section Impact Accentuator). This cleverly creates structural familiarity in the scope of the song in a fresh way.
  • Doja’s stress on the last lyric in the section, “more,” which heightens the emotional impact of the standout statement, “Fame ain’t somethin’ that I need no more.”

Lyrics & Rhymes


Rhyme Schemes

Overview

“Paint The Town Red” features an abundance of expertly crafted rhymes and other lyrical connection accentuators that bolsters the song’s ability to connect and resonate. Among them are logically unfolding end-of-line rhyme schemes and a plethora of strategically placed internal rhymes, double and triple rhymes, alliterations, lyrical repetitions, cross-section commonalities and unique pronunciations to make rhymes happen where they otherwise wouldn’t.

At-A-Glance: End-Of-Line Rhymes Section-By-Section

Key

A, B & C: End-of-line Rhymes
Underline:
Repetitive lyrics
Colors and rhyme schemes are unique to each section

*For simplicity of analysis, note that only lyrics connected by both rhyme and another notable characteristic (i.e., proximity, placement, melodic connection, etc.) are shown in each table. Lyrics that rhyme but are otherwise unconnected are not noted.

Rhymes & Syllables: Section-By-Section 

Intro & Outro

The intro and outro feature the repetition of Dionne Warwick’s “walk on by” vocal, bookending the song on a catchy and memorable note.

Choruses

End-Of-Line Rhymes
The chorus features an all-A end-of-line rhyme scheme across its two lyrically repetitive stanzas. Each line is connected by the “EH”-sounding rhyme in the lyrics “said,” “in-STEAD,” “head,” and “red.”

Internal Rhymes, Alliteration & Other Connection Accentuators
Along with the end-of-line rhymes, the following lyrical connection accentuators bolster the chorus’ ability to connect and resonate with the listener:

  • Repetition of the “EYE”-sounding pronouns across lines (“I,” “I’d,” “my”).
  • Near rhymes in the third-to-last syllable of each line: “what,” “fa-MOUS,” “to” (creatively pronounced as “TUH” to make the connection), and “the.”
  • Internal rhymes in lines 3 and 7 in the lyrics “let” and “get.”

Vocal Breaks

End-Of-Line Rhymes

Like the chorus that precedes it, the vocal break post-chorus features an all-A end-of-line rhyme scheme across its two lyrically repetitive stanzas. However, the sound of the end-of-line rhyme is changed up between sections to help maintain interest as the song progresses (i.e., “EH” vs. “UH”).

Internal Rhymes, Alliteration & Other Connection Accentuators
Further bolstering the connection value of the vocal break post-chorus are the following:

  • Repetition of the “EH”-sounding rhyme in the second-to-last syllable across lines. This creates a double rhyme with the “UH”-sounding end-of-line rhyme.
  • The “EH”-sounding rhyme also creates cross-section familiarity and cohesion with the similar sounding end-of-line rhymes in the chorus (e.g., “said,” “red,” etc.).
  • Repetition of the “EE”-sounding rhyme across lines the lyrics “she” and “me.”

Verse 1

End-Of-Line Rhymes
Verse 1, which is twice as long as the chorus and vocal break post-chorus sections, features an AAAAAAAA/BBBBCCCC end-of-line rhyme scheme across its two stanzas. Stanza 1 features the “EE”-sounding rhyme in the last lyric/syllable of each line. Note that this creates familiarity and cohesion with the “EE”-sounding rhyme featured throughout the preceding vocal break post-chorus in the lyrics “she” and “me.”

Stanza 2 initially shifts to the B scheme across the first four lines with the “EYE”-sounding commonality in the lyrics “time,” “fore-SIGHT,” “court-SIDE,” and “times.” The last four lines then shift to the C scheme with the “AIR”-sounding commonality in the lyrics “no-WHERE,” “hair,” “here” (creatively pronounced as “hair” to make the connection), and “there.”

Internal Rhymes, Alliteration & Other Connection Accentuators
Verse 2 features an abundance of internal rhymes, repetitive lyrics and alliteration that bolsters its connection value. A few of the most notable include:

  • Double and triple rhymes that accentuate end-of-line connection. Examples in each stanza include “rem-e-dy” and “Hen-nes-sy” in stanza 1, “fore-sight and “court-side” in the first four lines of stanza 2, and “no-where” and “no hair” in the last four lines of stanza 2.
  • Repetition of the lyric “don’t come with no” across lines 3 and 4. This further bolsters the connection value of the line along with the triple rhymes that follow.
  • Repetition of the lyric “you gon’ see me” at the beginning of lines 11 and 12, along with the rhyming lyrics “sleep-in” and “eat-in” that follow, respectively.
  • Repetition of the standout lyric, “ugh,” at the beginning of lines 13-16.
  • Alliteration in lines 9, 11 and 12.

Verse 2

End-Of-Line Rhymes
Verse 2, features an AAAAAAAA/BBBBBBBB end-of-line rhyme scheme across its two stanzas. Stanza 1 features the “IH”-sounding rhyme (“b***h,” “sis,” “it,” etc.), then stanza 2 shifts to the B scheme with the “AR”/ “OR”-sounding rhyme. Note that while some lyrics lean more towards the “AR” sound (e.g., “car” and “ar”) and others lean more towards the “OR” sound (e.g., “for” and “be-FORE”), Doja Cat subtly adjusts her pronunciations to maintain cohesion across lines.  

Internal Rhymes, Alliteration & Other Connection Accentuators
Like verse 1, verse 2 features a plethora of internal rhymes, alliteration and repetitive lyrics that bolster its connection value. A few of the most notable include:

  • The inclusion of the “OOH” and “EYE”-sounding rhymes in the second and third-to-last syllables of each line across stanza 1, creating a more a much more impactful triple end-of-line rhyme (i.e., “you try “b***h,” “new vibe sis,” etc.).
  • Use of alliteration in lines 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 15, and 16. Note that this is significantly more than verse 1, which only features alliteration in three lines.
  • Commonalities with verse 1, including the “EE” rhyme (end-of-line rhyme in the first stanza of verse 1, internal rhyme across most lines in the second stanza of verse 2) and the “OR” rhyme (second-to-last syllable internal rhyme in lines 9-12 in stanza 2 of verse 1, end-of-line rhyme in stanza 2 of verse 2), among others.
  • Repetition of “I don’t need” across lines 3, 4, 5, and 9, along with the “UH” sounding rhyme that directly follows each.

Narrative

Overview

“Paint The Town Red” is a lifestyle, inspiration/empowerment and boasting-themed song about Doja Cat’s defiance and perseverance against her haters. Supporting this are depictions of Doja Cat’s confidence, rebellious spirit, and determination to succeed on her own terms, while addressing topics of fame, personal qualities, and career aspirations.

The narrative unfolds in a logical and easy-to-follow manner, utilizing an effective balance of clever and common lyricism that is both intriguing and easy-to-grasp. While the interpretive storyline pertains to Doja Cat specifically, the universal subject matter of perseverance and living life your own way primes “Paint The Town Red” to connect with the listener on a profound personal level as well.

Lyrical Theme Trends

“Paint The Town Red” features boasting, inspiration/empowerment and lifestyle lyrical themes. Despite the drop-off in the first half of 2023, lifestyle has been the predominant theme in hip hop hits for years, followed by boasting. However, inspiration/empowerment has been far less so, though it did see a notable jump in the first half of 2023 thanks to the arrival of Lil Durk and J. Cole’s “All My Life” and Coi Leray’s “Players.”

Lyrical Themes In Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q2 2023

Narrative Flow: At-A-Glance

Key

Focus: Details each line’s main character focus. In “Paint The Town Red,” it pertains to Doja Cat, Doja Cat’s fans, and her haters
Tone:
The tone of the line, either positive (P) or negative (N)
Parentheses:
The tone is implied and/or relates to the preceding line

Intro & All Subsequent Sections

The first lyric heard in “Paint The Town Red” is the sampled “walk on by” hook. While it’s performed by Dionne Warwick, in the context of “Paint The Town Red” it cleverly reflects Doja Cat’s dismissal of her haters as opposed to its literal, action-based meaning.

However, note that its connotation does not become apparent until taken in context with the ensuing sections, where it functions as a summative looped background vocal underneath Doja Cat’s lead. Here in the intro, its main purpose is to lyrically pique the listener’s curiosity to find out more while hooking them into the song on a catchy, soulful, retro note.

Chorus

Following the intro, “Paint The Town Red” heads into the chorus as opposed to a verse, which is far more common in hip hop than it is in genres outside of hip hop. In conjunction with the continuation of the summative “walk on by” background vocal hook from the intro, the chorus further summarizes the narrative, which is Doja Cat’s perseverance in the face of her haters to live life her way and to the fullest.

Note that directly following the intro with the chorus has two key benefits:

  • It further piques the listener’s curiosity to find out what led up to the impactful summation, further ensuring that they remain tuned in until they do in the ensuing sections.
  • It follows the hook-based intro with another hook-centric section, further hooking the listener into the song in a profound manner. 

The chorus consists of two lyrically repetitive four-line stanzas, is communicated entirely from Doja Cat’s point-of-view in both the past and present tenses and unfolds in an engaging manner with an alternating problem/solution flow across lines.

The lyricism is largely common and clean, save for the expletive “b***h” in line 1 and the clever, metaphorical “paint the town red” song title hook at the end of each stanza. This creates a chorus that is intriguing, powerful, and easy-to-grasp. Furthermore, while the lyrics pertain specifically to Doja Cat, which enables her to deliver them in a compelling and believable manner, their underlying empowerment and perseverance themes are universal, which allows the listener to connect on a deeper and more personal level.

Opening Line
While Dionne Warwick’s sampled “walk on by” hook is technically “Paint The Town Red’s” opening line, it’s Doja Cat’s standout statement hook, “yeah, b***h, I said what I said,” that serves as the definitive opener. Delivered in a direct and compelling manner, it achieves the following:

  • Introduces Doja Cat into the song on a powerful, impactful note.
  • Establishes the song’s direct, defiant tone.
  • Conveys Doja’s heated response to a not-yet-revealed adversity, which piques the listener’s curiosity to find out more. Note that in the context of the song, “b***h” refers to other artists, extremist fans, and others that Doja Cat clashes with.


Subsequent Lines
Lines 2 and 3 provide additional detail that leads to the summative song title hook at the end of the first stanza, before lyrically repeating in the second stanza:

  • Line 2: “I’d rather be famous instead” expresses Doja Cat’s desire for fame. Note that the concluding lyric, “instead,” initially piques the listener’s curiosity to find out more in the ensuing sections while subsequently contributing to the summation in choruses 2 and 3 after the supporting detail comes to light.
  • Line 3: “I let all that get to my head” expresses Doja letting something get to her head. Like line 2, line 3 initially piques curiosity while contributing to the summation in subsequent choruses. In the context of the full narrative, this open-ended statement can be construed as pertaining to the negative things Doja Cat’s haters say about her, or the intense adulation from extreme fans, as intimated in line 12 of verse 2.
  • Line 4: “I don’t care, I paint the town red” is the metaphorical song title hook that cleverly and impactfully sums the narrative up by conveying Doja Cat’s acceptance of the way things are and her ultimate desire to live life to the fullest. In addition, the recklessness, debauchery, and extravagance that the lyric invokes serves as a prelude for the lyrical developments to come in the verses, while subsequently summing them up in subsequent iterations. However, note that while this is a likely interpretation of the lyric, it can also be construed in a more negative light, due to its action and imagery-based qualities, which is Doja Cat spilling the blood of her haters, tying in with the “devil” and “demon” references in the vocal break post-chorus and verse 2, respectively. 

Vocal Break

Following the chorus, “Paint The Town Red” heads into yet another summative hook-based section, the vocal break post-chorus. Note that while following the intro with a rapped chorus is far more common in hip hop, following the chorus with a sung vocal break post-chorus is far more common in pop. Here, the vocal break post-chorus serves to lyrically expound on the chorus’ “paint the town red” summation, detailing Doja Cat’s rebellious spirit, drive, and determination to succeed her way.

Like the chorus, the post-chorus consists of two, four-line stanzas that repeat. However, they differ in the following key areas:

  • The post-chorus is entirely positive as opposed to featuring a combination of positive and negative toned lines. Note that this direction was warranted following the positive chorus summation, “I don’t care, I paint the town red.”
  • It is communicated entirely in the present as opposed to a combination of past and present tenses. This jibes with the positive, self-actualizing focus of the section.
  • Most notably, the first three lines of each stanza find Doja Cat referring to herself in the third person before switching back to the first person P.O.V. at the end. This provides the post-chorus with a unique, engaging quality in the scope of the song, and contributes to “Paint The Town Red’s” standout qualities among its mainstream contemporaries (most hit songs do not feature artists referring to themselves in the third person). 

In terms of the section’s lyricism, the use of slang, descriptive adjectives, and idiom delivers the narrative in an impactful, compelling, and engaging manner, while the common language enables the listener to easily connect with the message.

Narrative Flow

  • Lines 1 & 2: While at face value line 1’s “she the devil” has a negative connotation, here it cleverly frames Doja Cat’s rebellious spirit in a positive light in conjunction with line 2’s “She a bad lil’ b***h she a rebel.” This is also the case with the lyric “bad lil’b***h,” which reflects Doja Cat’s positive attributes through its slang connotation as opposed to its negative usage at the beginning of the chorus. Furthermore, note the connection between the lyric “devil” and “paint the town red.” The devil is often associated with red, and further reflects Doja Cat’s look on her single.
  • Line 3: While “she put her foot to the pedal” is ambiguous within the context of the post-chorus, when viewed in the context of the full song, it can be construed as pertaining to Doja Cat’s drive and ambition.
  • Line 4: Shifting back to the first-person perspective, “It’ll take a whole lot for me to settle” essentially summarizes the entire section through its “I’m gonna do things my way and not give up so easily” connotation.

Verse 1

Following three summative, hook-based sections, the first verse provides the narrative with detailed insight that supports and puts them into context. The verse is comprised of the following qualities:

  • It consists of two lyrically differentiated eight-line stanzas, which contrasts the chorus and post-chorus’ two lyrically similar four-line stanzas.
  • It’s comprised mainly of positive, self-actualized, boastful statements delivered by Doja Cat in the first-person singular. However, the strategic shift to Doja Cat’s haters at the beginning and end of stanza 1 provides the narrative with additional dimension and was necessary to further set up the summative sections that follow. In addition, Doja Cat’s fans are mentioned in line 6, and line 13 briefly shifts back to Doja Cat referring to herself in the third person (see below for details).
  • It features a greater degree of intriguing, impactful and specific lyricism compared to both the chorus and post-chorus sections, which notably heightens the listener’s interest and engagement. However, it’s effectively balanced by more straight-forward, common-leaning lyricism, which ensures that they are still able to grasp what the narrative is about and provide an effective lead-in to the chorus that follows. 

Stanza 1

Lines 1-6: Doja Cat’s Personal Qualities
The first six lines of the verse provide insight into Doja Cat’s personal qualities that her haters either disapprove of or are jealous of:

  • Line 1: “Said my happiness is all of your misery” sets the section in motion with a generalized statement pertaining to Doja Cat’s haters’ disapproval and/or jealousy towards her professional and personal success and happiness, which is laid out in the following lines.
  • Line 2: “I put good d**k all in my kidneys” is a clever and impactful way to refer to her hookups.
  • Line 3: “This Margiel’ don’t come with no jealousy” pertains to the way she dresses and accessorizes (Maison Margiela is a unique, edgy and expensive boutique of wearables, accessories, jewelry, etc.). Note that this ties in with her non-conformist, rebellious, extravagant approach to life as depicted in the chorus and post-chorus sections.
  • Line 4: “My illness don’t come with no remedy” can be construed in one of two ways based on the listener’s interpretation of the lyric “illness” - it can pertain people’s negative perceptions about Doja Cat’s mental state due to her rebellious qualities and her contentment with the way she is; or her boasting about her “illness” (slang for prowess), which ties in with the empowering lyrical summations. Both are relevant within the context of the story.
  • Lines 5: “I am so much fun without Hennessy” is a clever way of depicting her rebelliousness in terms partying (i.e., she doesn’t need to drink to have fun). In addition, the use of the specific lyric, “Hennessy” makes an end-of-line rhyme connection with the other lines in the stanza.
  • Line 6: “They just want my love and my energy” lyrically develops out of line 5, shifting the focus to her fans/friends for the first time while depicting her naturally positive qualities. 

Lines 7-8: Doja Cat’s Haters
Following the string of positively toned lines that precede them, lines 7 and 8 abruptly shift back to Doja Cat’s haters, bookending the stanza on a familiar note. Both lines depict Doja Cat standing up in the face of her haters and her willingness to meet them head on.

In addition to providing the stanza with heightened lyrical dimension and concluding it on an impactful note, this shift to a negative tone was important to help set up and heighten the impact of the positive-toned self-actualizing lyrics that follow in stanza 2.

Stanza 2

Lines 9-12: Doja Cat’s Career
The first four lines of stanza 2 return to positive territory by depicting Doja Cat boasting about her confidence in her continued career success while simultaneously reinforcing her rebellious spirit. This provides the narrative with additional dimension while remaining in line with the overall theme and message.

  • Lines 9 and 10: “I’m going to glow up one more time / Trust me, I have magical foresight” cleverly and impactfully convey her confidence in her continued success.
  • Line 11: “You gon’ see me sleepin’ in courtside” can be construed as pertaining to her success, allowing her to able to score courtside seats while at the same time highlighting her rebellious qualities (i.e., sleeping courtside), which ties in with the main summation.
  • Line 12: “You gon’ see me eatin’ ten more times” is a clever way of further predicting her continued success (“eating” is slang for having success at doing something).

Lines 13-16: Doja Cat’s Looks and Behaviors
The last four lines of stanza 2 shift from Doja Cat’s career to her looks and behaviors, again providing the narrative with heightened depth while remaining in line with the main theme and message.

  • Line 13: “Ugh, you can’t take that b***h nowhere,” may be negative at face value, this line also has an implied positive connotation as it depicts Doja Cat referring to herself in a playfully self-deprecating manner that sets in motion her rebellious qualities that follow. Likewise, it can also be construed as pertaining to people’s negative views of her.
  • Line 14: “Ugh, I look better with no hair” focuses on her going against the grain with her looks.
  • Line 15: “Ugh, ain’t no sign I can’t smoke here” focuses on her going against the grain in terms of her actions.
  • Line 16: “Ugh, gimme the chance and I’ll go there” summarizes the stanza by stating she is going to continue to push the boundaries and do things her way, which ties in with the post-chorus statement, “it’ll take a whole lot for me to settle.”

In addition, the “ugh” commonality at the beginning of each line serves a few key purposes:

  • It bolsters the emotional impact in conjunction with the way that Doja Cat vocally communicates it.
  • It provides the lengthy verse with a unique and memorable quality, which is bolstered by its common placement across lines.

Verse 2

Following the second vocal break post-chorus, verse 2 provides the narrative with additional detail that supports the summations while remaining in line with the main theme and message. While the lyrical developments help to keep things interesting as the song progresses, verse 2 also possesses certain commonalities with verse 1 to maintain familiarity in the scope of the song:

Commonalities

  • It consists of two lyrically differentiated eight-line stanzas.
  • It’s comprised mainly of positive-toned lines communicated by Doja Cat from the first-person perspective along with additional focus on her fans and haters. Furthermore, the first stanza in both verses are structurally similar, focusing on the haters both at the beginning and end. This heightens structural familiarity in the scope of the song while the new lyrics keep things interesting and engaging.
  • It features a high degree of intriguing, impactful lyricism and use of specifics that relate to Doja Cat. However, it is once again balanced by more common-leaning lyricism with universal appeal that enables the narrative to easily connect and resonate.

Stanza 1
In the first stanza of verse 2, Doja Cat once again turns her attention to her career. However, as opposed to boasting about her prediction of continued success as depicted in lines 9-12 of verse 1, here she takes on her fellow artist and fan haters as it pertains to her artistic direction, collaborators, fanbase and looks.

  • Line 1: “Said pop make money, now you try, bitch”: Doja defends her pop-leaning style as it contributes to her fame and success as illustrated throughout the song. Furthermore, she calls out her fellow artists to try and do the same (i.e., it’s not as easy as one might think).
  • Line 2: “You could use a revamp with a new vibe, sis” disses fellow artists who become stale and predictable; ties in with her renegade style of changing things up.
  • Line 3: “I don't need a big feature or a new sidekick”: Doja Cat’s boastful statement inferring that she alone can bring success to her songs and doesn’t need a star co-primary or featured artist to help her do it.
  • Line 4: “I don't need a new fan 'cause my boo like it” focuses on the people she loves as opposed to more fame and adulation.
  • Line 5: “I don't need to wear a wig to make you like it” further elaborates on Doja Cat’s non-conformist approach to her looks (ties in with the verse 1, line 14 lyric, “Ugh, I look better with no hair”).
  • Line 6: “I'm a two-time bitch, you ain't knew I'd win?”: Doja Cat further boasts about her success.
  • Line 7: “Throw a shot like you tryna have a food fight then” is a clever statement where Doja Cat calls out those hate on her as weak and not influencing her.
  • Line 8: “All my opps waitin' for me to be you, I bet” sums up the stanza with a focus on her haters and those that are waiting for her to conform, which goes against the entire premise of the “Paint The Town Red” narrative.

Stanza 2
The second stanza finds Doja Cat reiterating her confidence in her career aspirations along with further calling out her haters.

  • Line 9: “Said I got drive, I don't need a car” cleverly ties in Doja Cat’s drive with her success.
  • Line 10: “Money really all that we fiendin' for” further qualifies the line 1 lyric, “Said pop make money, now you try, bitch.”
  • Line 11: "I'm doin' things they ain't seen before” reiterates her non-conformist artistic style.
  • Line 12: “Fans ain't dumb, but extremists are” conveys Doja’s known dislike of her extreme fans (she has called them out on social media on numerous occasions).
  • Line 13: “I'm a demon lord” illustrates Doja’s lighthearted, joking view of herself as others have perceived her. The lightheartedness of this seemingly negative statement is further bolstered by her delivery style. In addition, the line’s function is similar to the self-deprecating verse 1 lyric, “Ugh, you can’t take that b***h nowhere.”
  • Line 14: “Fall off what? I ain't seen the horse” is a clever, boastful statement illustrating that she hasn’t even come close to faltering in her career.
  • Line 15: “Called your bluff, better cite the source” calls out her haters that make up stories about her.
  • Line 16: “Fame ain't somethin' that I need no more” is the last lyrical development in the song, conveying Doja Cat’s contentment with what she has achieved and doesn’t need that to be the focus of her ambitions any longer. 

Song Title

Clever/Powerful or Universal/Generic

Song titles fall on a spectrum ranging from unique, clever, attention-grabbing and/or powerful (e.g., “3D,” “Slime You Out,” and “’Slut!’”) to those that possess more of a basic/universal quality (e.g., “greedy,” “Hold Me Closer,” and “Lose Control”).

“Paint The Town Red” falls on the attention grabbing/powerful end of the spectrum, due in part to its effective use of A.I.D.E. principle components including action (“paint”), imagery (full hook), detail device (metaphor), and emotion. Together, along with the metaphor’s connotation, piques listener interest to see what it relates to in the context of the story.

Song Title Word Count

Consisting of four words, “Paint The Town Red” is in the minority among its hip hop contemporaries. Since 2018, only 13% or less featured four words in their title, with none in the first half of 2023. Not surprisingly, the trend in hip hop is in line with the overall Hot 100 top 10 – the more words there are in a title, the less common it is.

Song Title Word Count: Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits (2018 – Q2 2023)

Song Title Appearances and Placement

The title “paint the town red” appears six times in the song, exclusively in the chorus. The 6-10 song title appearance range has generally been the third most common among hip hop hits since 2018, accounting for under one-fifth of songs. However, there was no representation in the first half of 2023.
The title is primely placed at the end of each chorus stanza, where it provides the hook-based lyrical summation in conjunction with the “I don’t care I” statement that precedes it.

Song Title Appearances: Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits (2018 – Q2 2023)

Song Title Placement: Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits (2018 – Q2 2023)

Word Cloud

Benchmark


This section spotlights “Paint The Town Red’s” familiarity and standout factors relative to the Hot 100 top 10, both as a whole and in the hip hop genre specifically, in the quarter before the song entered the chart (Q2 2023). The familiarity factors enable “Paint The Town Red” to more easily connect with a wide, mainstream audience, while the more atypical factors help it to stand out from the pack.

Of the categories benchmarked in the table below, “Paint The Town Red” is in line with 58% of the top characteristics in the overall Hot 100 top 10 and 74% in hip hop hits specifically.  

“D” Section: A section that provides a pronounced vocal, lyrical, instrumental and/or energy level departure around two-thirds of the way into a song. “D” sections can include bridges, bridge surrogates, and diversified recycled sections.
*Indicates a particular song characteristic falling within a 5% margin of error of the most popular compositional characteristic in a given category

Additional Familiarity & Standout Factors

In addition to the commonalities shown in the chart above, other factors that contributed to “Paint The Town Red’s” ability to easily connect with both hip hop and pop fans alike are its easy-to-lock into rapped deliveries; K.I.S.S. ME melodies (Keep It Simple, Singable and Memorable); catchy vocal hooks; strong, effective rhymes; intriguing, yet easy-to-follow narrative; and logical structure, to name a few.

Conversely, its effective balance of hip hop and pop qualities also helped set the song apart from many of its mainstream contemporaries, as many lean more towards one end of the spectrum or the other. In addition, the heavy use of the “Walk On By” sample provided “Paint The Town Red” with a unique quality, as did the unique lyrical spin on common lyrical themes.  

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