It's the infectiously annoying song that dominated music charts in the year 2000, but what do the lyrics of Baha Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out?" actually mean? Alongside Smash Mouth's "All Star" and Lou Bega's "Mambo No.5," Baha Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out?" seemed to be in constant rotation in 2000. "All Star" was aided greatly by the song appearing in movies like Mystery Men or Shrek, and it still crops up from time to time.
"Who Let The Dogs Out?" was also helped by its appearance in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie and Men In Black II and the Baha Men themselves performed a version of it on The Simpsons. The song was originally penned by songwriter Anslem Douglas, with a record producer later enlisting Bahamian group Baha Men to sing it. The band originally turned it down, though they were later convinced to record "Who Let The Dogs Out?" and the song eventually became a global hit. It also won a Grammy Award and Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favourite Song. It's now considered one of the most annoying songs ever recorded and in 2019 a documentary charting the creation of the single and it's tangled ownership history was released.
"Who Let The Dogs Out?" comes from the song's main hook, but while many who have heard the song think the question is supposed to be a mystery, the answer is a little more complicated. The song's writer Anslem Douglas revealed in a HuffPost interview the song is a feminist anthem, with the lyrics referring to women having a good time dancing at a club that's ruined when men turn up and start "barking" insults at them.
Apparently, Douglas' own brother-in-law would use the phrase to refer to badly behaving men, which inspired its use in the song. The party referred to in the lyrics "Well the party was nice, the party was pumpin'" is a metaphor for things going fine, but once men start name-calling or being rude, the women respond with "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
Looking over the lyrics with this in mind, it all makes sense, though it's still intended to be a relatively lighthearted song. "Who Let The Dogs Out?" evokes a certain nostalgia for those who heard it at a young age, even if it's not considered the greatest song ever written. It just refuses to go away, however, and has reappeared in the likes of The Hangover, The Good Place and The Bachelorette years after its first appearance.