Doja Cat has been releasing music for about five years now, but perhaps her most mainstream claim to fame is a throwaway song about playacting as a cow. (Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming either.) Last week, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter-rapper posted a short clip on Twitter and Instagram in which she dances in a cow costume and quite literally moos over some swelling harmonies and jazz guitar. The clip went viral, and days later Doja posted the full video for the song, “Mooo,” to her fans’ udder delight.
(The video is a tad NSFW, thanks to a close-up on a pair of anime breasts that repeats in the background.)
The premise of the song may rightfully strike some as a little silly, but the soothing Wes Montgomery sample and crooning moos settle easily on the ears, while the bovine puns and odes to the romance of rural life are earnest and hilarious. The repeated line “Bitch I’m a cow” is, of course, the centerpiece, a statement of pleasure or empowerment, depending on how you wish to interpret it. Near the end, past hits and nursery rhymes are repurposed for the farm, with Doja mashing up lyrics from “Slob On My Knob” with “Old MacDonald” and delivering cow-themed renditions of “Milkshake” and “Move Bitch.”
The song drew praise from the likes of Missy Elliott and Chance the Rapper and inspired a slew of Twitter memes, as listeners realized they couldn’t get the song’s lulling chant of “Bitch I’m a cow” out of their heads. Many also pitted Doja against Nicki Minaj, noting that the popularity of “Mooo” threatened to overshadow that of the release of Minaj’s latest album, Queen. But the most fun part of the whole affair is the homemade video, featuring green-screen pastures, cows and spot patterns, and burgers, both real and GIF’d. According to the creator herself, the song and video were made on a whim, inspired by one of her tour costumes and thrown together in her room in less than 12 hours.
The video’s virality inspired Doja Cat to get a #MOOchallenge going, designed for fans to show off their—you guessed it—mooooooves, following in the tradition of rap-song memes of recent years, from the mannequin challenge to Drake’s prominent “In My Feelings” challenge. (No celebrities have done it yet, but it’s a matter of time.) It’s a wholesome success story for the type of home-video creativity most internet babies have been guilty of at some point or another.
As improbable-seeming as the song’s success and quality are, they shouldn’t surprise anyone, since Doja Cat is an extremely talented artist who also released an album earlier this year. It’s not her first song made for humor’s sake either—as she told the Fader, she figured the GameCube theme-sampling “Nintendhoe” would become the actual hit. Undoubtedly, many are digging through Doja Cat’s discography for the first time as “Mooo,” already a phenomenon, seems poised for further recognition. For those just now discovering her, a viral introduction is better than none at all.