The chaotic promotion of Doja Cat's highly anticipated fourth studio album has taken another odd turn this week after the Grammy winner posted its cover art, then quickly deleted it.
The album cover — showing a painting of a scarlet spider on a white canvas, facing a single drop of blood — arrived on her Instagram on Tuesday, according to screenshots of the deleted post. The post also confirmed that the album, "Scarlet," would drop Sept. 22.
However, later that evening, one fan pointed out the cover art's similarities to that of another musical artist, German metal band Chaver.
"Why does doja cat’s album cover almost exactly match a metal band’s album art they posted a exactly month before she posted today," @grandsextile wrote on X, formerly Twitter, alongside a side-by-side of the two nearly identical album covers. "And they both have the same release date but only doja’s instagram has the artist showing support in the comments."
By Thursday, the “Kiss Me More” performer had deleted that post and replaced it with an image of new, but similar, cover art: a pair of white and black spiders locking fangs. "Updated cover," she captioned the post, without further explanation.
The artist behind both paintings goes by Dusty Ray. He was tagged in both Doja Cat's original post Tuesday and Chaver's post in July, and commented below Doja's, gushing, "Yesss" (heart emojis).
Even so, the collaboration between Ray and Chaver seems to go deep. The metal band's Bandcamp page features singles cover art that bears similarities to Ray's other work. Since July, when Chaver first posted cover art for its own upcoming album, "Of Gloom," the band has been busy promoting and selling merchandise bearing the same scarlet spider. In the post, the band gave Ray a shout-out for the "masterfully crafted" art, sharing that they had been working together "since our first album."
While it was unclear what may have prompted the duplication between the art for Doja Cat and for Chaver, Ray's work is hardly exclusive to either musical act. Ray's website currently lists 4-by-5-inch prints of the same scarlet spider painting for $15. And a 2-by-3-inch print of the painting featured in Doja Cat's new album art has sold on Etsy for $275.
Ray did not immediately respond to The Times' requests for comment.
The roll-out for Doja Cat's forthcoming album has been helter-skelter, leaving fans and the media confused and unsure of whether to take her erratic posts on social media seriously. In a series of now-deleted tweets from March, she flipflopped among album names, first starting with "Hellmouth," then "First of All," before settling on the current "Scarlet." The next month, Doja declared she would abandon her pop sound for rap, then withdrew her statement, saying the album would be elusively rock. Then she said that was a joke and flipped back to rap, heralding her emcee era.
"I put my ADHD kind of on display — by accident, I guess," Doja Cat told Insider in May. "I thought that 'Hellmouth' was the name of the album, but then it wasn't. But I'm good at doing things last minute. So I've been firing off random stuff and reading comments and seeing how people receive it and then, you know, saying 'no' a lot. 'Just kidding.'"
Throughout the summer, Doja Cat has also taken to social media to express her discomfort with fame, often sparring with her fan base and losing 500,000 followers in the process, a happening that made her "feel free."
And with her music, Doja Cat has been making good on her rapping promise, dropping her rap-centric single “Attention” along with a music video in June and then "Paint the Town Red," both packed with unapologetic bars that seem to address her ongoing misgivings about her fans, fame and the media.
Even so, the "Woman" performer recently said she still appreciates positive interactions online with her fans, telling Harper's Bazaar, “I put myself out there on social media and TV — I love positive feedback. I appreciate when people speak up for someone who is getting bullied or attacked by internet trolls. … Some of the most moving moments for me have been when my fans have stood up for me or for other people.”
Starting on Halloween, Doja Cat is going on a 24-date tour to promote "Scarlet," including performances in Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena on Nov. 2, the Viejas Arena in San Diego on Nov. 5 and Anaheim’s Honda Center on Nov. 6 before heading east. The Scarlet tour — her first in North America as a headliner — will feature Ice Spice and Doechii on select dates.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.