Whatever Happened To The Baha Men?

At the dawn of the new millennium, the entire world came together as one to avoid the potentially disastrous Y2K crisis, and we thought we were out of the woods, until an unforeseen viral menace captured all of us in its grips. We're talking, of course, about the 2000 smash hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?

Performed by the Bahamas-based group the Baha Men, the insanely catchy ear-worm launched forth from every minor league baseball stadium and major league hockey arena in the beginning of the 21st century, propelling the song into the top 10 and making its titular, oft-repeated line into the "Where's the beef?" of the 2000s. 

The song had every hint of "one hit wonder" all over it, and it was, but while you still might wonder who let the dogs out, have you also ever wondered what became of the people who asked the question in the first place? Let's find out what happened to the Baha Men.

They've been letting the dogs out for years

The Baha Men came into the collective consciousness in the year 2000, which gave "Who Let the Dogs Out?" a very cheesy '90s pop vibe and a cool, future-forward feel. The tune also prompted us to wonder if Bahamian music was going to become a major mainstream phenomenon in the years to come. The latter didn't exactly prove true, but "Who Let the Dogs Out?" certainly became a worldwide fixture long after the band itself faded from view.

The Baha Men began as a group called High Voltage but was renamed when it landed an American record deal in 1994 — and an appearance in the Caribbean-set Katherine Heigl movie My Father the Hero. The group reportedly built a following in the Caribbean and Japan, and hopped around multiple labels both before and after "Who Let the Dogs Out?" 

As of 2018, the group has released about a dozen albums. It's just that only its hardcore fan base has paid much attention.

Sue let the dogs out?

Whether a musician has one hit or 100 hits, there's one great equalizer that makes all artists part of the same elite fraternity: getting creatively cheated out of money that's rightfully theirs and having to sue to get some of it back.

According to TMZ, the Baha Men filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against a company called Activate Entertainment. The band alleges the company didn't pay out the money it promised to cover recording costs for an album, forcing the Baha Men to pay for it out of pocket. Unfortunately, the Baha Men didn't have that kind of scratch, and, so says the lawsuit, "this led to overdrawn accounts" and the band issuing bad checks, which is terrible for one's reputation and credit rating. The Baha Men spent so much money that the bank took lead singer Isaiah Taylor's home because he reportedly spent his money on the music instead of making his mortgage payments.

Moby dogged them

In addition to the Baha Men, another unlikely party graced Top 40 radio and became a brief pop culture phenomenon in that bizarre year of 2000: Moby, an ultra-serious, politically-active electronic musician whose album Play combined old blues recordings with futuristic beats. Moby was decidedly not a fan of the Baha Men. 

It wasn't necessarily because the Baha Men's album Who Let the Dogs Out sold 3.5 million to Play's 2.7 million, but rather that they beat him at the Grammy Awards. (If you thought a cool artiste like Moby doesn't care about industry awards, you're wrong!) After the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" defeated Moby's "Natural Blues" for best dance recording in February 2001, he quipped "I think it's quite a catchy little pop song, and my feeling is, if I'm going to lose an award, I'd rather lose to a novelty act than a serious act. It feels like less of a slight." 

The song might have been a novelty, but the band wasn't. The Baha Men had been around for 20 years at that point, and it wasn't cool for Moby to equate them to, say, those guys that wanted to know what a fox says.

They're sick of wondering who let the dogs out

These days, it seems like certain members of the Baha Men feel about "Who Let the Dogs Out?" the way you felt about "Who Let the Dogs Out?" in, say, 2001 — absolutely sick to death of that darn song that used to bring you so much joy and fun but still gets played relentlessly at sporting events. 

Baha Men singer Dyson Knight told Vice in 2015 that he was quite over having to run through "Who Let the Dogs Out?" in band practice. "I'm very tired of playing that song in rehearsal," he said. "I mean, we've been playing it for almost as long as I've been alive." 

However, the singer says it's a different story when the group plays its claim to fame for an audience because the fans just love it so much. "But on stage, it's different," he said. "The fans really give life to that song."

And now it's time for a breakdown

Wait, so that means the Baha Men still rehearse and actively work to perfect "Who Let the Dogs Out?" even after all this time? That commitment to art is admirable, but it stands to reason: Do the Baha Men really have to rehearse that hit? One might assume the band members have got it down pat by now and don't need to practice. 

Guess again. Member Dyson Knight told Vice that while bandmate Leroy Butler took over the tongue-twisting rap breakdown of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" in recent years, he knows it only a little better than the other Baha Men, which apparently isn't saying much. 

"No matter how much I hear him sing that part, I can't sing it," Knight admits. He adds that only former Baha Man and rap-part writer Marvin Prosper "knows what the words are. Leroy sings what he thinks it is, but I know that what he's singing doesn't make sense.

You can't keep a good Baha Man down

Attention, dogs that have been let out and have been fearlessly running around all willy-nilly: The Baha Men are coming back, and they will warn people of your goings-on. In February 2018, the group unleashed its first single since 2011 (which is basically an eternity in pop culture,) a banger called "Bumpa" with an exclusive performance on Live with Kelly and Ryan. 

It was a fitting venue for the group to launch its comeback effort, as it was on that same show that the group made its American TV debut (although it was called Live with Regis and Kathie Lee at the time.) The program also made the band feel at home, literally — the episode was shot on location in the Bahamas and appropriately employed a tropical island theme. The Baha Men served as the house band for the outdoor installment of the long-running talk show.

We now know who let the dogs out, for real

And now, let us reveal the truth behind the greatest mystery in music history this side of that one thing that Meat Loaf won't do for love: What does "Baha Men" mean, anyway? 

The "Baha" is short for "Bahamas," where the band originated, and the "Men" part is because the group consists of dudes. Mystery solved! Okay, just kidding — one of the original lyricists of the song has gone on record to answer the question that's really on your mind: Who, exactly, let the dogs out, and why they would do such a thing? 

In 2016, the song's lyricist, Trinidadian musician Anslem Douglas, told Time to Break (via Digital Spy) that his uncle inspired the song. His older relative would witness guys catcalling women on the street, and he'd say to Douglas, appalled, "Who let the dogs out?" He was using "dogs" in the sense that "men are dogs." 

Paying close attention to the lyrics shows that the truth was hiding in plain sight all along. The lyrics of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" are delivered extremely quickly, meaning listeners probably didn't hear this part: "the party was nice, the party was bumping ... until the fellas start the name calling."