Doechii Dominates Donaroo

Doechii’s most popular song “What It Is” just reached platinum status as of February 2024, according to the Recording Industry Association of America,
making it her first platinum hit. Photo by Kaleb Martinez/SF Foghorn

Mini skirts, knee-high lace up boots, glittered eyelids and smiling faces decorated the stairs outside the War Memorial gym entrance last Friday, Apr. 19, as students waited for the doors to open to USF’s Campus Activities Board (CAB)’s 2024 annual Donaroo, featuring DJ Jacki, VarCity SF and headliner Doechii

Hailing from Tampa, Florida, Doechii is a self proclaimed “swamp princess” that has amassed nearly 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and has performed alongside stars like SZA and Beyonce. 

“Finding out in the kitchen, through my friend, that Doechii was performing, was genuinely the highlight of my year,” said Sloane Downing, junior art history major and Doechii superfan. Downing has been listening to Doechii since 2018, when the name was just another entry on the music platform, Soundcloud. 

“I really hope she plays ‘Girls’,” said Downing, to which her friends Lherylle Bunnao, junior engineering major, and Megan Ponce, junior design major, agreed. The three of them arrived two and a half hours early to snag a front row view of the show. 

Ponce added, “I literally brought my digital camera just to take pictures of [Downing] fangirling over Doechii.” 

The group of early-birds busted through the doors once they opened at 6:30 p.m., and ran towards the stage’s barricade as “Deli” by Ice Spice blared through the speakers. Neon pink lights and a pulsing green hue illuminated the crowd as it continued to grow, and people started to dance to the music, waiting for DJ Jacki to take the stage and get the night going. 

“I was ecstatic, and feeling all the support from everyone there was insane. I’ve never felt that much love [from a crowd] before,” said Jacaleen Kizo, sophomore international business major known as DJ Jacki, on winning CAB’s DJ competition back in March, which landed her the glory of opening for Donaroo. This is the largest event Kizo has ever DJed for, which made her feel nervous and excited to get the “crowd jumping, dancing and to have a good time.” 

DJ Jacki’s set came out swinging with “Jump Around” by House of Pain, which was layered with a drum and bass track that you could feel in your chest. During her 50-minute long set, DJ Jacki’s stage presence was amplified by the graphic of a dragon flying in and out the letters of her name on the screen behind her, and her ability to seamlessly mix between opposing genres, like mixing Tyla’s R&B hit “Water” with Charli XCX’s hyperpop bop, “Club Classics.” 

USF’s hip hop dance team, VarCity SF, followed suit with their performance. “Seeing all the work that we’ve all been doing this past semester has been super crazy… I’m really excited,” said Lamiya Cotton, junior communications major and vice president of VarCity SF. The team danced to Travis Scott’s “FEIN,” followed by “Idgaf (Remix)” by EliezerDaTruth. Laura Stevenson, junior media studies major and member of VarCity SF, let the Foghorn in on the secret that some of the team was going to join Doechii on stage later in the night. 

“It’s really nerve-wracking but really exciting,” said Leah Laford, first-year marketing major and VarCity SF dancer. “My mom loves [Doechii] so much, so I was telling her like, ‘Yo mom I’m going to perform with Doechii,’ she was like freaking out. So I’m excited to be in the presence of a wonderful artist,” she said. 

While waiting for Doechii’s performance, students snapped photos with posters from past Donaroos that were lined at the back of the War Memorial gym — the days of Ross Lynch’s abs gracing our campus at Donaroo 2023 seem so far behind. 

Doechii hit the stage and the room exploded in a roar of excitement. “Y’all are so f–ing pretty!,” she screamed in the faces of students in the front row, as her song “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” started to play in the background. 

The last time Doechii hit the Bay Area was on Halloween 2023 at the Chase Center, when she opened for Doja Cat as a guest opener on “The Scarlett Tour.” 

After cycling through her discography and taking the crowd along for the ride, Doechii finally arrived to play her latest single “Alter Ego ft. JT,” when she invited VarCity SF members on stage. The group performed the song together, and busted moves that definitely wouldn’t fly at your middle school dance. 

“It was amazing,” Doechii said to the Foghorn after the performance. “It was really good. I feel like this school is a vibe… and the crowd was just amazing.”

After the concert, Doechii mega-fan Downing stood still and starstruck at the stage’s barricade. On what it was like seeing her favorite artist perform, she said “Indescribable, amazing. She is so good.” She added jokingly, “I feel like I’m going to throw up.” 

On how USF students could tap into their own “swamp princess” identity, Doechii said, “Start with a trucker hat.” 

Editor-in-Chief: Megan Robertson, Chief Copy Editor: Sophia Siegel, Managing Editor: Jordan Premmer, Scene Editor: Inés Ventura 

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