The Dogs were essentially a second-rate version of the 2 Live Crew -- an X-rated, bass-heavy rap group based in Miami. There wasn't anything novel about the group's raps or their beats; however, the group attained notoriety at the time as part of the Joey Boy roster -- one of the definitive Miami bass labels of the early '90s -- and, subsequently, because group member Labrant Dennis was charged with the 1996 murder of a University of Miami football player, an incident which garnered substantial publicity, particularly in the Miami area. In addition to Dennis, the Dogs also featured Keith Bell, Dennis' longtime friend.
The duo's recording career began with "Take It Off," a sleazy song about stripping that became a local hit in late 1989. The following year, Joey Boy released the group's debut album, which featured the group's breakthrough hit. A follow-up album, Beware of the Dogs, came in 1991 and featured two singles, "Do the Nasty Dance" and "Your Mama's on Crack Rock," the latter featuring Disco Rick. These two albums sold well for the independent Joey Boy label, which churned out primarily bass music rather than rap. The group's success was aided by the censorship controversy surrounding the 2 Live Crew at the time, along with the group's freaky live show, which was notorious for featuring semi-nude, if not completely nude, dancers.
Though more releases followed, few consumers took notice as the hype surrounding the 2 Live Crew and Miami bass music -- not to mention the novelty of the Dogs' X-rated raps -- began to wane. Then, in 1996, after the group had dissolved, the Dogs were suddenly thrust into the media spotlight when word spread of Dennis' murder charge. On April 13, 1996, he had beat to death UM reserve linebacker Marlin Barnes and Timwanika Lumpkins with the head of a shotgun. Lumpkins had mothered Dennis' child, and the former rapper apparently murdered her and Barnes out of jealousy. Dennis was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to die, according to Miami Dade County Circuit Court records. ~ Jason Birchmeier