It was clear from an early age that Bow Wow was destined for the spotlight. At age five, Shad Moss was discovered by Snoop Dogg and featured on the icon’s groundbreaking Doggystyle album. For his solo debut, Bow Wow teamed up with Jermaine Dupri to release Beware of Dog in 2000, the kickoff to a string of platinum and gold albums that spawned six No. 1 singles and such platinum songs as “Let Me Hold You,” “Like You,” Shortie Like Mine” and“Outta My System.” He is the “Youngest Solo Rapper To Ever Hit No. 1,” as recognized by the Guinness Book Of World Records. Bow Wow has sold more than 10 million albums to date and 14 million digital assets. With his multi-platinum pedigree, he has found a new home with Cash Money/Universal Republic Records and is scheduled to drop his eighth studio album in October.
“Music is a reflection of life. It deals with what we’re going through,” he says. “When I write music now, it’s going to be more mature and manly. I like to take the LL Cool J approach and make more mature, thought-out records for the girls. It’s a more intellectual process.”
Bow Wow has already put down two hot singles for the album. “For My Hood” featuring Sean Kingston and DJ Khaled, and “Cuff Your Chick” featuring Drake and Fabolous is pure all-star heat. “My goal is to get to four or five, guaranteed top-ten hits,” he says. Bow Wow teams with longtime mentor Jermaine Dupri as well as producers Cool & Dre. “JD has played a big part in my life and music career,” he explains. ‘I’ve got to go back home where I started. Cash Money allows me to do that…”
Bow Wow has history with Cash Money. Birdman was featured on the first single off of his third album and Bow Wowcollaborated with Lil Wayne on the Hardball soundtrack in 2001. “Bow Wow is a superstar in both movies and music and I had wanted him to become a member of the Cash Money records family ever since we did the single “Let’s Get Down” together,” says Cash Money Co-CEO Bryan “Baby” Williams. “My brother and I have big plans for our company with Lil Wayne, Drake, Jay Sean, and now with Bow Wow and the album he is working on. Right now there is really no stopping us.”
“I’ve been close to these guys since I was 14,” Bow Wow says of Baby and Cash Money Co-CEO Ronald “Slim” Williams. In addition to close ties, the powerhouse label’s business acumen impressed Bow Wow. “I wanted to be involved with the business, because we think the same way. What I want is strictly to be the best and win. Cash Money is raw, young talent. They are built to win.”
Cash Money Records has mastered the art of adding the business to the music, and Bow Wow’s breadth of experience casts him perfectly within the labels ranks. He helped brand and headline the groundbreaking Scream Tour (which sold out Madison Square Garden an astonishing three times) and collaborated in 2007 with R&B star Omarionfor the gold-certified Face Off album. His success came from his ability to tap into the mammoth teen market. “There was a big sea of people that hadn’t been touched yet,” Bow Wow says. “I just happened to be the first one sinceKriss Kross to touch them.”
Bow Wow was the first rap artist of his generation to become a legitimate entertainer, excelling as rapper, stage performer and actor. He plays a starring roll in the new motion picture “The Lottery Ticket,” alongside Ice Cube in theaters in August. He returns for his recurring role in the HBO hit “Entourage,” which is in its sixth season. He has matured as an acting talent with an impressive list of credits including: “Hurricane Season” , “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” , “Roll Bounce” , “Johnson Family Vacation” , “Like Mike” [2002; his first movie, it grossed $35 million its first week in theaters], as well as television series “Smallville” .
Bow Wow has extended his reach into fashion, first appearing in spring/fall 2009 campaign for Ocean Pacific (OP) alongside Solange, AnnaLynn McCord and Brody Jenner. He was hand-selected by Boston Celtic and NBA legendStephon Marbury to be the first entertainer to join Starbury, the athletic apparel and footwear company. Bow Wowtook on the roll of launching his clothing and sneaker lines this year, in which a portion of the profits is donated to charities. “It’s global,” he says, “When you purchase anything from my line you’re being a part of the movement because, I’m going to donate 10% of my profits to charities and organizations around the world.”
Despite his long list of accomplishments, Bow Wow is just getting started. “I want to be the next Will Smith. There’s nobody else doing what I’m doing at my age. I’m only 23 and I have a long life ahead of me. I got a goal—I want to become the biggest black actor in Hollywood and then I want to be able to drop an amazing album.”
And indeed he will. Bow Wow will no doubt be ranked one of the great ones.