Research 44/021
Nothing Like That Dog Love

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Embodying unconditional loyalty, dogs genuinely represent an integral value of Hip-Hop Culture by being reliable companions to their owners. However, this is not the only connection that is observable between the two parties. Especially the American Pit Bull Terrier, a strongly built dog breed known for being highly resourceful, driven, and determined, has been an indispensable part of street life since the 1980s in the United States. Due to their extraordinary physical abilities, as well as the breed's remarkable commitment, Pit Bulls, among other dog breeds like Dobermans and Rottweilers, have been converted to ruthless killers by gangsters, drug dealers, and gang affiliates. From encouraging dogs into attacking one another to teaching them to hang from tree branches to strengthen jaws and tenacity, the dog is supposed to become a severe danger to enemies and a source of money through vicious dogfights in the streets. The direct link to violence and brutality in America's urban cities made the dog breed a symbol of street crime and hence Hardcore Rap. Sadly, this association led to a profound misunderstanding of the Pit Bull's true character, as many don't realize that the dog is not aggressive naturally but trained to be by humans.

D.M.X., the legendary Yonkers MC, renowned for embedding canines not only in visuals but also through the use of dog barking-like adlibs in his music, was largely responsible for strengthening this link between hood life and Pit Bulls. Having a large tattoo of the dog breed on his back, D.M.X. was known for looking out for lonely, ownerless dogs in the streets of his hometown. He once rapped on the track "Dog Intro" of his 2003 Album "Grand Champ" that also had a Pit Bull on its cover:

"I don't really trust humans that much these days
Shit, fact of the matter is, I trust dogs more than I trust humans
Shit, nothing like that dog love I tell ya
Not just any dog, gotta be a pitbull
Yup, that's the only dog for me
You don't wanna get caught in a pit with one of them
They make good companions, but even worse enemies"

-DMX

While the Pit Bull and the various other dog breeds associated with dogfights remain indisputable symbols of Street Culture, Hip-Hop's introduction to the mainstream made the genre partly give up its delinquent reputation and hence embrace other dog races. From Amine's goldendoodle, appearing in the rapper's latest music video of the song "Charmander" to D.R.A.M., showcasing his beloved poodle "Idnit" on his debut album cover "Big Baby D.R.A.M.," contemporary rappers create a new narrative of dogs and rap music.

Scroll down through our Visual Essay to find out more contents about dogs' influence on Hip-Hop Culture.

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