First issue date: August 1993
On the cover: Young "D" Boyz
Cover line: Uncut Vallejo Game "This Aint No Hip Hop We Players Out Here"
Editor: Black Dog Bone
Art directorBlack Dog Bone
Photographer: Black Dog Bone

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Murder Dog was founded by Black Dog Bone, a Sri Lankan photographer who moved to California's Bay Area with a burning desire to shoot rappers. "I thought, if I were a magazine I could take photographs of any rappers I wanted," he says. "We moved to the south side of Vallejo, on a street called Porter, right by the railroad tracks by the water. It looked like a Third World country, like Sri Lanka or Africa. No sidewalks, nothing—and I got this house. It was really a hardcore neighborhood. I’m telling you everything in the world was going on there. But I wanted to do a magazine and there were a lot of rappers there. 

Skipping out on school, he used his student loan money to purchase all the equipment he needed and got to work on the first issue. "We wanted to be totally independent, so I bought a printing press, and I set it up in the garage," he recalls with a laugh. "I’m like very primitive. I didn’t know anything about computers or nothing. I come from Sri Lanka, and we’re just like tribal people. I didn’t even know how to type. We would type the whole magazine and go to the copy place and blow it up. The first four issues I was in my garage pasting it hand-pasted. And we had the biggest names in there. We had Fugees and Wu-Tang Clan and Onyx. We had all the big names inside, but outside we had Young D Boyz." By focusing on underground talent, Murder Dog became the first publication to put future stars like Master P and Three Six Mafia on the cover, securing their place in hip-hop history.

Black Dog Bone says: "There was this rap group that I really liked. The manager called and had heard about us through Mac Mall and them, you know, Young Black Brotha Records. He said, 'Do this story with Young 'D' Boyz.' So I went and did the story. We did the shoot right there in Vallejo. Then I came back home, and I saw the same guys in the neighborhood, and they were from my street—the Young 'D' Boyz. There were about 20 people outside, and they were all excited talking about how they did this story with Murder Dog. It was funny.

I was so amazingly impressed. They were real, raw Young D-Boyz. That was the very first Murder Dog cover. At Murder Dog we always do covers with unknown artists. That’s our whole thing: we take risks. And that was our first cover of Young D Boyz from our neighborhood. The two key people were Matty Wack and Khadaffi. We had Matty Wack on the front and Khadaffi on the back. They are gangster kids, they are street kids. Their wholecrew was going to prison and getting in fights. 80 percent of them are in prison or dead."