I once saw Lloyd Banks, a former member of 50 Cent’s G-Unit rap crew, kick a small Pit Bull puppy outside of his tour bus. He laughed. Banks’s behavior might be reprehensible, but rappers and dogs are more often a snug and loving combination. I’d garner that dogs are the most popular pets in the rap world, and there are something like a trillion references to the canine form in the annals of rap lyrics. Although let’s gloss over that time when Jay-Z rapped “I’m like a dog, I don’t speak but I understand.” Doesn’t Hov know that barking is totally talking?
Anyway, here’s a roundup of the most vital dog-rapper relationships in hip-hop — including one case of a very rowdy man cuddling a very cute puppy.
Big Boi might be the lesser-heralded member of the Outkast duo, but he trumps Andre 3000 when it comes to the dog game by virtue of running Pitfall Kennels in Atlanta. The explanatory blurb on the venture’s website states, “Here at Pitfall Kennels we have always made our main goal in breeding to produce the most sound-minded loyal friend, companion and new addition to the family. This comes from all our dogs being treated as pets first and getting all the socialization needed. These dogs require a lot of attention and affection.”
The latest on the website is litter of pups from Hannibal (who we’re told “has a lot of size and girth but he is still able to be active and move around”) and Teardrop, a “pocket female.” As you’d expect, the pups are guaranteed to be “short, compact with a lot of bone and girth.” Fittingly, Big Boi’s most famous customer is the rotund rapper Rick Ross, who stopped by last year to buy a puppy.
*Editor’s Note: A quick look at the kennel website shows us nothing about testing or titling, so we’re going to go ahead and say this doesn’t qualify as a responsible breeder. Also, we don’t know any reputable breeders who refer to a dog as a “pocket” anything. Dogster is anti-backyard breeder, and state as much in our list of Dogster Values. Also see this excellent piece from community member Lucy Ohannesian on how to tell the difference between a reputable breeder and a poser.
DMX is a very shouty rapper from New York who makes very loud and testosterone-powered rap songs, which often include him breaking out into a barking noise. His dog love runs deep and personal, too, with most of his back taken up with a giant tattoo paying tribute to his first canine companion, Boomer, who was unfortunately run over by a motorist.
Sadly, DMX’s dog sheet also includes a dark side, and in 2007 he was arrested after the discovery of 12 malnourished Pit Bulls at his homestead. Not cool.
Waka Flocka is a very shouty rapper from Atlanta who makes very loud and testosterone-powered rap songs, which are often about peddling illicit drugs. He also happened to show his lovably compassionate side when he starred in a series of advertisements for PETA. [Editor’s Note: Not that we’re huge fans of PETA by any means … but that’s another tale for another time.] Alongside Waka in the short flick was a pup named Daphna, who prompted Waka to declare, “An animal isn’t going to curse you out, an animal ain’t gon’ fight you. It’s going to show you nothing but love.” Words from the heart.
Rapper-turned-movie-star Will Smith is something of a Rottweiler fanatic. In tandem with his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, he owns four rotties named Indo, Zhaki, Grace and Tyson. (Smith also once made a song titled “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson.”)
After being given two of his dogs by talk show host Jay Leno, Smith hired celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan to help them acclimatize to their new palatial home. “The dogs were a mess,” wrote Millan in his book Cesar’s Way, before adding that the duo were “ideal” dog owners. Happiness ensued.
The lanky and languid rapper prefers you to formally address him as Snoop Lion these days, but Snoop’s past is littered with canine connections. Rap lore claims he was nicknamed Snoopy after his mom thought he looked like the Peanuts comic-strip’s beagle, while his break-through video “Who Am I (What’s My Name?)” featured him morphing into a Doberman. Showing his fluffier side, Snoop also added voiceovers to a spoof song about the Shiba Inu puppies that became live-web-cam phenomenons back in 2008. Shockingly though, despite his dog-besotted image, Snoop might actually be a cat owner. Gasp!
Read more about dogs in music: