In the year 2000, it was impossible to avoid “Who Let The Dogs Out.” The track by Baha Men, which was actually a cover of a calypso song that was already popular in the Caribbean, only hit number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, but you couldn’t escape it. “Who Let The Dogs Out” was the roach of top 40 radio — as soon as you thought it was finally dead and out of your brain, it’d pop back up over the sound system at some mall and be stuck in your head for another eternity. But seriously…who actually did let the dogs out? Did Baha Men ever find out?
Apparently, “the dogs” aren’t exactly who we thought they were. Obviously Baha Men aren’t talking about actual dogs. We’ve known this since we were little children bopping to the jam on family road trips, but in our adulthood, we thought that the track was possibly about a club filled with ugly girls (which is very rude, by the way). Apparently, the track isn’t about dogs or girls — it’s actually a man-bashing song.
In a recent interview with Anslem Douglas, who wrote the song originally titled “Doggie” in 1996, the dogs are badly behaved men.
“It’s a man-bashing song, it is,” Douglas told The Huffington Post. “[My brother-in-law] used to come in and say, ‘Who let the dogs out?!’ And one time he asked me, ‘Why don’t you turn this into a song?’”
Our minds are seriously blown. Here we thought it was a song written by badly-behaved, misogynistic men talking about how the girls at a club aren’t pretty enough, and it’s actually written about those kinds of men! Wow. Seriously, never judge a book by its cover (or a Baha Men track by its deliciously tacky music video).
If you don’t believe us, just check out these lyrics:
“When the party was nice, the party was bumpin’ (Hey, Yippie, Yi, Yo)
And everybody havin’ a ball (Hah, Ho, Yippie, Yi, Yo)
I tell the fellas, “Start the name callin’” (Yippie, Yi, Yo)
And the girls respond to the call ― the poor dog show up!”
The scene is set at a party, which Douglas says is a metephor. Everyone is having fun, until these guys show up and start calling the girls rude names. Douglas revealed that it’s the women who are calling the men dogs in the refrain.
This song is actually about female empowerment. Its about shutting down cat-callers. What. The. Heck.
As for who actually let the dogs out, Douglas remains completely mum. “I can’t answer that! If I answer that, people will stop asking,” he said. “100 years from now, I will still not answer that.”
Of course, we can all assume that the dogs were likely let out by their male sense of entitlement and a patriarchal system that allows dudes to behave badly without having many consequences. Or whoever raised them to believe they could talk to women with such dirty mouths (always blame the parents, am I right?). Either one, really.
Seriously, how on Earth was this song so massive? Checkout the original song below. It has a sort of lower-fi, undone charm the Baha Men version is lacking.