Happy or Sad news on the weekend of Aug 5th depending on who you are. Shad Moss aka Bow Wow has announced he is bowing (See what I did there? Did you?) out of the rap game. He announced he will release one final album executive produced by Uncle Snoop Dogg and ride off into the sunset in his green car with the hulk hands from Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift.
I've never been a Bow Wow fan. Whether it be music, acting, whatever. When he was at the height of his career it was uncool for dudes to listen to him. In 2000 when he debuted his first solo album I surely did not have him in my walkman cd player. In 2000 I was listening to Shyne Po talk about retaliating on niggas over the murder of his homie "Fat Pete" on the song "The Hit." Going from listening to that to "Beware Of Dog" just doesn't make sense. Only girls listened to him or kids younger than him. I never hated him, his music just wasn't for me.
Despite all that. I have one question. Is Bow Wow a legend? Exclude all the extra shit like TV, Movies, etc. I'm talking just music. Is Bow Wow a legend?
I actually thought about this very briefly and in my opinion. Yes he is.
One can say "Lil Bow Wow" is legendary and "Bow Wow" is not. Picky or not. He did some legendary shit.
The first kid act I ever was a fan of was Kris Kross. I had "Totally Krossed Out" they were the shit to me. My mom beat my ass for trying to go to school with all my clothes backwards. Those guys were icons to me. I thought they were one of the first kid acts whose music transitioned nicely as they continued to grow up. Their last album "Young, Rich, And Dangerous" is one of my favorite hip-hop albums of all time. The album had heat on it and the gimmicks were gone. Once the gimmicks are gone people can really see if you got it or not. Kris Kross had it. Long Live Mac Daddy.
Bow Wow took what Kris Kross did and just added longevity to it and that's very fucking impressive. Do I think Bow Wow has an album in his discography better than "Totally Krossed Out" or "Young, Rich, and Dangerous" in my opinion No he does not. I just listened to 6 Bow Wow albums back to back (Not counting the collab album with Omarion). None of them are better than Kris Kross albums. Mainly because The Chris's were just better rappers than Bow. The best album I felt out of Bow's whole discography was "Unleashed" it was his most consistent and I liked the production the most on that album. Bow Wow's strength wasn't complete albums. There's not one album Bow Wow has made that made me go "Damn I remember where I was when I first heard that." His strength were the hits. Pure and simple. Bow and Jermaine could get you at least 1 hit.
I told you. I'm not a fan but Bow Wow did have songs that I thought were dope enough to burn onto a mix cd. I'll name 5.
My Baby feat Jagged Edge
Outta My System feat T-Pain
The Don, The Dutch (One of my favorite Neptunes beats ever. Thanks Dad and Uncle Chad.)
She's My feat T.Pain
Let Me Hold You feat Omarion
When it came to the songs about women Bow Wow usually knocked it out the park. The Greenlight 3 mixtape he did had some nice lil women joints too. It was just the other shit I couldn't get into.
Some may wonder how can I consider Bow Wow a legend if he doesn't have that 1 great album? Well some of my favorite artists don't have that one great album but they're still legends to me. Jadakiss is a good example of this. Jada is one of the most deadly lyricists I've ever heard. I'd be here for days going over my favorite Jadakiss bars but in my opinion Jadakiss has not had that one great album. He didn't have a "Only Built For Cuban Linx" or a "It Was Written" moment. I think Styles P "A Gangster & A Gentlemen" is the best solo effort from the members of The LOX. Jada's solo albums were all just okay to me. I just don't like Jada's beat selection but he's still a legend despite all that.
Hip-Hop is the trendiest genre in music. Once it's not cool to like something anymore it's OVER. That's why you can see rock legends still pack stadiums in the U.S. but legendary rappers cant. Our culture is ran on trends and KRS One and Rakim aren't considered cool today. They get all love overseas but in the U.S we treat our rap legends like shit. Bow Wow is a victim of that. If you pull up listening to Bow Wow niggas is flaming you unless you play one of those hits about women. It's basically cool to NOT like Bow Wow and that's a hard hole to climb out of. He's always the butt of jokes.
He started when he was 13 and when he became an adult in that 22 and up range the question is now "What is he going to do?" The fans he had when he was 13 may not be his fans anymore they may have moved on to another artist because people grow and change. How can he appeal to adults? I think he should just focus on women. They think he's cute so he has that going for him. Find his own sound. Not say stupid shit like he's been saying lately like not being black. He also needs to stop chasing trends so tough in terms of his music and image. Once the trend dies then so does whatever you attached to it. Listening to his discography I realized that all his shit is outdated to the point it's not even listenable EXCEPT for the songs about love and women. I wish I could help him. I swear I could make Shad Moss (Bow Wow) a superstar and pop again musically. Key features. Key producers. Key subject matter. Aye Shad if you see this, holla at a nigga. I can make your last album a great one. Real spill.
I remember watching a vlog he did years ago about his album he was working on and he was shooting dice with Birdman and a bunch of Cash Money people because he was signed to Cash Money (Once you sign to Cash Money it's over. That's another subject though). As I'm watching this vlog I'm just seeing a former child superstar trying his hardest to fit in. Stop trying to fit in. If you don't fit in that means you're doing something right. He's commentating what's going on in the vlog and it's like he's trying his hardest to convince us why he is still "cool." He still do that bullshit today on social media. He became all about perception and being considered "cool" instead of producing hits. It became about who his famous friends are and how much money he spends on this and that. It wasn't about results anymore.
Do I think Shad is a weird and corny guy? Yes. From the vlogs to the Soulja Boy beef video with the sound effects to trying to scare people by saying he's gang affiliated, to the dancing outside the car video to the Vlad TV interview he's just a corny guy but that doesn't mean I dislike him and that doesn't mean I wont give him his credit. He's not Orlando Brown from "That's So Raven" bad. At least his corny levels isn't that high nor is he on drugs like majority of former child stars. When people thought kid rappers/singers were done he and Jermaine Dupri brought that back and had success for years. I respect it.
If there was a list of Top 100 rappers of all time you would have to place him in there. Where? Well that's up to you but he has to be in there just on his impact and what he's done in the game. Remember when he crip walked in his performance at the BET awards with the Eddie Jones Miami Heat jersey? He even took the harlem shake to a higher level. Crossed up Iverson in "Like Mike." Snapped on the Snap anthem "Think They Like Me." He a legend off that shit alone.
Give the man his credit. Love him or hate him he left his stamp on the game.