The Meaning Behind Who Let The Dogs Out - A Secretly Feminist Anthem Thursday July 13 2023, 9:15 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
The Meaning Behind Who Let The Dogs Out - A Secretly Feminist Anthem

The Meaning Behind Who Let The Dogs Out 

Who let the dogs out, is it really a concern, and why is the hook for his hit song so easy to cling to no matter what age you are?

"Who Let the Dogs Out" is a popular song originally recorded by the Trinidadian group Anslem Douglas in 1998. However, the song gained significant international success when it was covered by the Baha Men in 2000.

It quickly became a global hit and reached the top of the charts in several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and it is still super catchy among the biggest hits of today! 

The song became particularly popular in sporting events worldwide in stadiums and arenas. It is often played to energize crowds and is associated with team spirit and celebration, and this energy is also a big part of the song's origin. 

The Process Behind The Songwriting

The song's inspiration is said to come from a chant commonly heard at sports events in Trinidad and Tobago. The chant involved barking noises made by fans to taunt opposing teams.

Songwriter Anslem was very forward in interviews about the fact that he didn't really come up with the saying/ chant himself either, and never claimed it was wholly original.

In the late 1990s, producers Patrick Stephenson and Leroy Williams created a radio promo with the chorus "Who Let The Dogs Out."

Around the same time, 20 Fingers and Gillette released a similar song called "You're a Dog." Stephenson and Williams claim they hadn't heard it, and there have been no legal claims.

A person from Dowagiac, Michigan, mentioned their town as "the dog patch" and a chant at their football games in 1990 included "Oooh, let the dogs out!"

In terms of the meaning behind the chant-like lyrics, Douglas said the following in an interview:

"It's a man-bashing song. When I said the word 'party' I was being metaphorical. It really means things were going great. 'Until the men start the name-callin' / And then the girls respond to the call.'"

"So the men started calling the women 'skank' and 'skettel,' every dirty word you can think of. The men started the name-calling, and then the girls responded to the call. And then a woman shouts out, 'Who let the dogs out?'"

But besides the drama of the lyrics, the instrumentation and vocal melody are written in C major with a very simple chord progression of 1 to 5 for the most part, which makes it appeal to all ages. 

The upbeat and very danceable island percussion adds even more infectious energy to the track that makes you want to put it on repeat. 

The Story In The Verses

The first verse in "Who Let the Dogs Out" describes a party or event where various people are present. Everyone is having fun at first, and the vibes are great, but then something happens. 

I tell the fellas start the name callin'Yippie yi yoAnd the girls respond to the callI heard a woman shout out

The lyrics suggest that the women respond to this name-calling, and one woman exclaims, "Who let the dogs out?"

The term "dogs" is seen as a derogatory reference to men, thus reinforcing the perception of the song as a critique or backlash against male behavior.

From this perspective, "Who Let the Dogs Out" can be viewed as a song that criticizes or challenges men's disrespectful treatment of women.

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A later verse implies that someone tells the narrator in the lyrics that even though men are getting called out by these women who say they are being too aggressive, it's all just a part of the fun regarding male and female dynamics. 

Gonna tell myself, "Hey, man, no get angry"Heya, yippie yi yoTo any girls callin' them canineHey, yippie yi yo

But they tell me, "Hey, man, it's part of the party"Yippie yi yoYou put a woman in front and her man behindI heard a woman shout out

But who was the person or group of people making light of the situation? Is it women, or just a group of guys mansplaining and not understanding that these ladies at the party are truly uncomfortable? 

The later verses just go deeper into the excitement of party life, being very intoxicated and even touch on some overly macho vibes, so maybe the bashing is still ever-present, and just a bit of dark comedy is happening here.

And I can't see color, any color will doI'll stick on you, that's why they call me "Pit bull"'Cause I'm the man of the landWhen they see me they say, Who?

The Music Video Meaning 

The official music video for "Who Let the Dogs Out" by the Baha Men features various scenes and elements that complement the energetic and playful nature of the song.

It focuses more on actual dogs running around, and very adorable-looking ones at that, even though they are harassing people around town.

The scenario shows dogs escaping from a kennel, leading to a humorous chase sequence and adding to the overall lively atmosphere. Toward the end of the video, the dogs eventually return to the kennel, pleasing the security guard.

The fact that the men are representative of dogs is present in the video when the Bahama men appear to be the ones transforming into pets behind the scenes. 

It even features women dancing, putting the dog leashes around the men's necks in a playful way, signifying that maybe it is all just a part of the fun.

At least in this particular moment, but many moments where dogs are coming after you can be frightening and dangerous, so be careful, ladies! 

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Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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