In 2008, the Christian novelty rap Pull Your Pants Up by Dooney Da Priest, one of Malaco Records’ first Christian hip-hop signees, was ubiquitous. It could be heard on gospel radio as well as mainstream radio stations nationwide.
The song’s genesis came from a South Dallas barbershop, where Duwayne Brown, a.k.a. hip-hop artist Dooney Da Priest, watched the ten o’clock news as Dallas Deputy Mayor Dwaine Caraway proposed an ordinance against saggin’, a growing public practice of wearing one’s pants well below the waistline.
Caraway’s proposition was perfect timing, as Dooney had been thinking about doing a rap about saggin’. “They don’t know why their pants are low,” Dooney explained later. “They think it’s a fad, or it’s something to do or it’s cool. And I say, ‘Well, no . . . it comes from behind the bars.’” Others shared Dooney’s belief that saggin’ came from the pernicious practice of prisons issuing African American inmates clothes that did not fit.
After the news program, Dooney entered the recording studio located in the back of his barbershop and got to work. By 3 a.m., Pull Your Pants Up was complete.
To Dooney, an ordained minister born in Vernon, Texas, on March 23, 1988, it was more than a song—it was the anthem of a national movement to stop the practice of saggin’. In July 2018, Malaco Records released a complete album by Dooney, with Pull Your Pants Up serving as the title track.
The popularity of the song propelled Dooney into the national spotlight. He became a sought-after guest on television and radio talk shows and toured with national gospel artists. The Malaco album and song received Dove Award nominations in 2009.
But Pull Your Pants Up was not without its controversy. Some radio announcers received negative comments from the gay community that the song, and especially a corresponding billboard campaign designed by Dooney, had homophobic overtones. While defending his own opinion on homosexuality, Dooney apologized to the gay community, saying that it was not his intention to offend anyone.
Pull Your Pants Up was not Dooney’s first release. Prior to the 2008 phenomenon, Dooney recorded Priest of the Streets on Peculiar Records in 2003 and Da’ Street Priest on Groove Sound Records / Peculiar Records in 2005. He also appeared on Peculiar’s various artist compilations and was a
featured artist on tracks by other artists on the label. He continues to operate Dooney’s Hair Design in South Dallas.