Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The End Of the Dogs: Learn Along With Werner, part 5

I've explained the history of The Dogs on this blog before; but it's really pertinent for this post, so let me give a quick refresher. In the beginning, The Dogs were just Disco Rick's dancers.  He released a trio of albums on JR Records, one as Disco Rick and The Dogs, one as The Dogs featuring Disco Rick and one as simply The Dogs. All three, however, were essentially solo albums, where he did all the beats and rhymes. But then, when he left the label over financial issues, the label decided to make his dancers rappers and continue the group without him. While Disco Rick moved on to make Back From Hell for Luke Records, The dancers, Ant D and Peanut, released the album K-9 Bass. Ant D then recorded a solo album in 1993, featuring the Miami bass child act, The Puppies, and then their career ended pretty definitively when Ant D was sentenced to death row for a brutal double homicide.

At least, as someone with a pretty strong interest in the crew (reading this blog, you may've noticed heh), I thought that was the end. But recently I stumbled upon an online listing for a Dogs title I'd never heard of before. It's not on discogs or anything, and it was new to me, but it was sitting right there on Amazon: "Do da Dogs." Just one third party seller copy. Now, The Dogs is a pretty generic name for a crew, so my first instinct was that this was just another group, probably a midwest punk band or something, that had the same name. Except, while the listing was bereft of comments or info, it did specify a label: JR Records.

Well, obviously, I had to order that shit, and now I've got it. I thought it might be a cheap, cash-in "greatest hits" kinda tape; but no, it's new material. From 1994, making it the last recording The Dogs ever released. It's a single, presumably from a scrapped follow-up to K-9 Bass. Oh, and Amazon got it wrong. It's not "Do da Dogs," it's "Doo da Dog."

Like most everything on JR Records (especially after Disco Rick left), it's produced by the duo of Calvin Mills II and Carlton Mills. And... I'm actually not sure any of The Dogs are actually featured on here?  The liner notes credit two writers: Terrence Edwards Sr and Calvin Mills II. Now, it wouldn't exactly be shocking that Ant and Peanut didn't write their own song... or get writers credit even if they did; but they were repeatedly and plainly credited on their past outings with JR Records  as having written all their previous stuff. And not only do Labrant Dennis and Keith Bell (the Dogs' real names) not appear here, but there's a "featuring" credit, which names Terrance Edwards Sr (who I will assume is the same guy who got the writing credit, despite the alternate spelling of his name) and Kevin Williams. Are they perhaps the real performers on this song? It's tough to call, since they never had the most distinctive voices... at least one of them definitely sounds different. I think. There are two rappers here, that much is certain. And one guy refers to himself as KD (or "KayDee," whatever), and despite the suggestive cover and title, they don't actually curse at all on this song, which isn't the real Dogs' m.o. So, despite the fact that they gleefully, repeatedly refer to themselves as The Dogs... I'm pretty sure it's not actually them.

But it's not actually a bad song. The Mills brothers are reliable producers, and this is a catchy dance song, that doesn't devolve into verseless shout & calls, or all that other junk that plagued Miami bass hip-hop. If you liked K-9 Bass, you'll like this, imposters or no. It's a simple song about a dance (see the cover; that's the whole idea), but while the lyrics aren't saying anything of note, the MCs flow well over the track and manage not to say anything awkward or embarrassing, which is more than a LOT of rappers can say. And, production-wise, this would be even one of the stronger, moving songs on that album.

You've got four versions on here: Radio, Club, The Mutt Mix and The Bone Mix. The Radio version is naturally just a shorter version of the Club version. The Mutt version is a slightly funkier mix, which uses mostly the same track and vocals, but adds a few samples and makes minor improvements. And the Bone Mix is just an instrumental. So the Mutt Mix is the one; but really, the song works well enough that I wind myself just listening to the whole tape through every time. A song's gotta be working pretty well for that to be the case. I just wonder who made it.

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