Baha Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out” Originally Inspired By Dowagiac Chant
Man, talk about waking up at 4 in the morning and going down a rabbit hole you never once in your life thought you'd enter. This morning I came across a podcast called 99% invisible by Roman Mars and in one particular episode, he dedicates it discovering the origins of the song "Who Let The Dogs Out" by Baha Men, one of the most recognizable and popular songs from the year 2000. The search was actually started by his guest Ben Sisto, who himself went down this strange journey that started by him wikipedia-ing the song.
The Wikipedia entry said that the Baha Men didn’t actually write the song, but that a British hairdresser named Keith had heard it on a trip to Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, and that he passed it along to music producers. What transpired was a search for the origins of this song that lasted 10 years. It turns out this song went from Florida in the early 90's to the Bahamas to eventually the version we all know, as Roman tried to make sense of it all:
So when it comes to ‘Who Let The Dogs Out,’ there’s Steve and the Baha Men who made the super popular version that most people know. There’s Anslem Douglas who made the version from the Bahamas called ‘Doggy’ that was directly covered and licensed by the Baha Men. And then there’s these DJs who had this brilliant innovation of bearing a rhetorical question with the dogs barking. And so that’s incredibly complicated set of people and versions and rights and rights holders and people fighting. It’s just kind of stunning.
Sisto then proceeds to tell Roman that there's a remix of a song called ‘You’re a Dog,’ which is by a group called 20 Fingers featuring the singer Gillette which was released, and then even before that another group called Miami Boom Productions of Jacksonville, Florida had a song ‘Who Let The Dogs Out,’ which was written and recorded in 1992, with floppy disc and software proof to back it up. Here's where it gets even more crazy...
The Dowagiac Origins
Michael Davis from Dowagiac, Michigan heard about the research this guy had been doing on the song and began to tell him the tale of the infamous rally cry the team made to eventually win the State Title that year:
So Jonathan tells me this, like Rudy-like tale of high school football where there’s a Hail Mary pass and he just starts chanting, “Ooh, Ooh, let the dogs out.” And then the whole stadium starts chanting it and then yeah, it just happens. I should preface and say that’s how he remembers it. Other people from this football team don’t remember it that way. Some people told me, a guy named Keith, the funky bus driver came up with it. It’s kind of a mystery, but what’s important is this team blew up. They won the state champion and this chant was their motto.
When he came to Dowagiac and was asking around about the origins of the song, people were giving him VHS tapes and old silkscreens and random items with ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ on it from 1990. If you ask anyone one from Dowagiac, they'll no doubt have way more information on this.
When Sisto looked at where the chant popped up in Michigan he found that it almost made a perfect circle around the town one of the guys from Miami Boom Productions lived. Although the evidence was presented, the singer wasn't over defensive about it, stating he can't to his memory recall ever hearing the chant.
I'm really looking forward to the comment section on this one because it's one thing to hear it from someone out of state, but I want to hear the story from the people. So, what do YOU know about this? You can listen to the whole story here?