Ask Bow Wow what life is like now that he's 18 and the music, film and television powerhouse pulls no punches. "I'm maturing," he says. "I'm becoming a man, but staying humble. I'm staying myself and most importantly, I'm trying to make good movies and music for my fans. Every one in hip-hop talks about staying real and what that means to me is styaing down to earth, not getting cocky. When I say 'do you,' that means 'be yourself.' That's what this album is all about."
The name of Bow Wow's fourth Sony album is Wanted and whether he's letting fans know about his life, giving the ladies something, partying with the fellas or lacing you with a laid back vibe, Wanted is Bow Wow at his most focused, playful and in control. Featuring guest appearances from some of the hottest names in music -- like Ciara and Snoop Dogg -- Wanted truly reflects the way Bow Wow is, right now.
As fans of the multi-platinum entertainer know, any time Bow Wow makes a record, it's an event, but even by Bow Wow's standards, Wanted is cause for celebration. Credit the re-teaming of Bow Wow with superstar producer and mogul Jermaine Dupri. While 2003's Unleashed, executive produced by Bow Wow, ushered in the artist's mature new vibe, this time around Bow Wow knew he wanted to get back together with Dupri.
"I've got no regrets about Unleashed and was really glad I had the chance to work with other producers," Bow Wow admits, "but Jermaine is like family. He's like my big brother and working with him is like being home. I just put my foot down and said, 'I'm not getting back into the studio unless Jermaine is there and he does my entire record.' You just can't mess with our chemistry."
Want proof of that chemistry? Just check out tracks like the hard-hitting "Do You." "That's just me reclaiming my throne!," exclaims Bow Wow. "It's my way of letting everybody know that even if I'm gone for a decade, this is still my house and I'm putting my paw print on things and making sure that everybody knows what's going on."
Something that's definitely going on is "Caviar," a slinky southern-fried jam that features Bow Wow and Snoop Dogg (who appeared on Bow's debut) having mad fun. "That's a real feel good party record with me and Snoop, doing what we doin'," says Bow Wow.
Another high profile collaboration is "Like You," featuring Ciara. "That's a special record," Bow Wow explains. "It's a girl's song and I always make sure that I do something for the ladies because they've always been so supportive and 'Like You' is something that they can relate to because everything that Ciara and I are singing about is real."
Equally real and totally hyped up is "Go," which Bow Wow declares "is for the kids. It's an upbeat, way up-tempo crunk record. It's got this great chorus and totally makes a statement. That record is just an adrenalin rush!"
A major reason for that rush is that Bow Wow has taken a major hand in the song and music writing, making Wanted an extremely personal experience. "Everything I write about happens in my life," Bow Wow offers. "I talk about everything, from going to the mall, to being on '106th and Park' to shopping, my career, my movies, TV shows, my family. Everything. My style of rapping is bringing my world to ya'll. Letting ya'll know what's really going on inside the world of Bow Wow. I think that's why going into the studio and coming up with rhymes is such a natural thing for me to do because I'm just expressing what my life is all about."
Bow Wow has been letting his fans inside his world from a young age. Born in Ohio (he now lives in Atlanta), Bow Wow was a naturally gifted hip-hop child prodigy. When he was just six and still answering to the name Shad Moss, he appeared on the popular "The Arsenio Hall Show," where he met legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. Snoop was so taken with Shad's charisma and skills that he dubbed him "Lil Bow Wow" and invited the then pint-sized microphone fiend to join the "Chronic Tour." Soon, word began to filter throughout the hip-hop and pop communities about the cute little kid with the vicious flow.
In 2000, Bow Wow brought that flow and his undeniable mass appeal to the top of the charts courtesy of his debut album, Beware of Dog. Thanks to infectious singles like "Bounce With Me," which topped both the rap and R&B charts, and high profile gigs like opening up for *NYSYNC and appearing with Madonna to open the 2001 Grammy Awards ceremony, Beware of Dog would sell more than 2 million copies with Bow Wow emerging as the most talked about young rapper in the game. He kept the buzz growing with 2001's follow-up Doggy Bag (which went gold and platinum) and the sold-out "Scream" arena tours.
Along with his own albums, Bow Wow popped up on the soundtracks for the films "Wild Wild West" and "Big Momma's House." In 2002, Bow Wow made his movie from the recording studio to the big screen with the starring role in "Like Mike" (one of the 50 top-grossing films of 2002) which led to a role in the smash comedy "Johnson Family Vacation" in 2003. "Acting is something that I feel like is really gonna be crazy for me," Bow Wow says, and his hunch is paying off. Watch for Bow Wow in a new movie, "Roll Bounce," a teenage skater-dramedy set in the late 1970s, slated for an autumn release; and the headline slot on this summer's hotly-anticipated "Scream IV Tour."
One listen to Wanted and you can tell that four albums into his career, Bow Wow is just getting started. Whether kicking it with the guys or whispering to the females, Bow Wow is continuing to deliver edgy but tender rhymes that are both true to himself and universal in their appeal. Asked what drives him and Bow Wow grins. "I know what I gotta do," he says. "I'm still that same threat that I was when I was 13. No matter what people say I'm still gonna be at it. I'm gonna keep being me and having fun with it."
--- from the official Bow Wow website