Bow Wow
Mama I’m So Sorry

bowwow1.jpg

On August 5, 2006, Bow Wow became a man. There were plenty of witnesses. Paris Hilton led the sordid cast of characters on hand. Washed-up ’80s TV star David Hasselhoff was there. So was Mini-Me. Shoot, it was a Who’s Who of night-crawling A-, B-, and C-list celebrities. Bill Maher. Jose Canseco. Even Urkel and “that dude from Entourage” made the scene. It was a night to remember for the rapper born Shad Gregory Moss. For it was his first visit to the Playboy Mansion. It will not be his last.

“The grotto was popping,” he says nonchalantly. Then, more animated, “Do you know how many 19-year-olds would die to go to that place? Damn, there are cats in school right now, and I’m at the Playboy Mansion with half-naked girls in swimming pools and walking around topless.”

Just half-naked?
“They’re half-naked. But when a certain time hits, they get naked. You ever been before?”

Bow Wow attended the Midsummer Night’s Dream party at the request of Kendra
Wilkinson, a member of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s very blonde harem. He performed six songs, took some pics with Hef, wrestled with former WWE star Chyna and then, finally, mingled. “I’ve never been to a place where I’ve seen that many fine women,” he says. “I got so frustrated, because if you try to talk to a girl, by the time you leave her, there’s one right there even badder than her. It just keeps going, and I was like, ‘Damn, I have to get up out of here.’”

So did Bow Wow leave solo?
“Oh, you know. Oh, you know. Oh, when I left, I left. But I ain’t, you know. I’m a grown man, you know.”

If that anecdote makes you feel a little uncomfortable, you might not be ready to hear certain songs from Bow Wow’s fifth album, The Price of Fame. There’s an unabashed player’s anthem (“Give It to You”), a posse cut (“4 Corners”) where Bow raps alongside an ex-con (Pimp C), and an R. Kelly collaboration (“I’m a Flirt”) that, on principle alone, tests the boundaries of taste. It’s more grown-up than his last album, Wanted. The rhymes are more sophisticated; the beats, a little more threatening. It’s not a full-scale metamorphosis, though. He’s not rushing into anything. The first single, “Shortie Like Mine,” sounds like it might have been approved by a focus group of preteen girls. The change is gradual. Baby steps, one might say. And Bow Wow feels a little conflicted about that.

“I was definitely confused,” he says, sitting at a glass table in an austere Midtown Manhattan hotel room. “I’m grown-up and able to go to clubs and be at places where it go down at. So those are the things I’m going to talk about now. But it’s kind of hard for people to hear that coming from my mouth.” Therein lies the problem. Bow Wow is an adult in “real life,” but in the rap world, he’s still considered a teen MC. It’s almost like he’s hip-hop’s Peter Pan—not allowed to grow up.

bowwow2.jpg“Mentally, Bow Wow is 25 years old,” says So So Def Records founder Jermaine Dupri, who has mentored Bow Wow for nearly a decade. “That’s always a fight when you go into the studio with him. He wants to make way-older-sounding records. I told him, ‘Bow, this still ain’t the time.’”

Dupri is wary of letting his young charge grow up too fast. He’s seen hardcore kiddie groups like Da Youngstaz come and go and regrets granting his first hit pubescent act, Kris Kross, such artistic freedom. “I fucked up on their second album,” Dupri says. The duo was 14 and 15 years old on 1993’s Da Bomb, the darker follow-up to the previous year’s quadruple-platinum Totally Krossed Out. “I took them where they wanted to go, and that fucked the whole plan up.”

Bow Wow was 13 years old when he released his first album, the double-platinum Beware of Dog. He’s 19 now. Still young, but consider this: Ice Cube wrote “Straight Outta Compton” at that same age. Bow couldn’t say “Fuck the police” even if he wanted—all cuss words on The Price of Fame are censored. “Every album is a straight-clean version,” he says with a frown. “When Sony [heard the album], they were like, ‘Oh my God, we got to clean it up.’ Now you are going to hear pauses [in place of the cuss words]. It pissed me off because
I really wanted the music to be done right.”

It was, of course, a business decision. And, ultimately, one with which Bow agrees. None of his albums has ever been affixed with a parental advisory sticker, and in light of some five million sold, he understands not messing with success. “You got to sell them records,” he says. “The little kids still look up to Bow Wow, and the parents are going to buy them records come Christmas time. A sale is a sale.”

Bow Wow achieved legal adulthood last year, though, and he did his darnedest to live it up while making The Price of Fame. There were trips to strip clubs (“Me and my crew, we make it rain, too”), to the car dealership (“I bought a [Rolls-Royce] Phantom—a week and a half later, I bought a Lamborghini Murcielago”), and to his movie premieres (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift). But when he was six songs into recording, Bow’s mood darkened. “I ain’t gonna front,” he says. “I broke down. I didn’t even want to rap no more. I didn’t want to work no more. I just wanted to move somewhere away from all this. I’ve been on my grind rapping since I was five years old—that’s 14 years of this nonstop. It really got to me.”

Strangely, when Bow Wow will next speak with XXL—over the phone, a month later—he’ll deny ever suffering from burnout. His mother, Teresa Caldwell, claims her son is “a workaholic who gets depressed when he’s not working.” But the breakdown was serious enough that Bow didn’t work for several weeks. “He wasn’t himself,” Caldwell says. “He just didn’t want to do anything anymore. He didn’t want to live anymore. He felt like his life was over, like he had done everything.” Caldwell sent her son inspirational quotes from the Bible and enlisted his godfather, New York Jets running back Curtis Martin, to aid him. Finally, a pep talk from Dupri got Bow Wow back into the studio.

—-

Read the rest of our interview with Bow Wow in XXL’s March 2007 issue (#89)

  • Atl’s own

    19 r u sure?

    dis nicca still a teenager, i though 4sho he was in his early 20 by now!

  • http://yahoo.com jasiya1:9

    ATL’S OWN U FAGGOT U REALLY READ THAT SHIT….NIGGA U AINT 1ST IM FIRST…

  • ny till da end

    fuk bow wow

  • JASIYA 1:9

    I’M FIRST AS ALWAYS, THE KID BOW WOW IS DOING HIS THING, HE BETTER THAN MOST THE RAPPERS OUT NOW. THE BOY NAS, THAT DUDE CAN’T DO SHIT NOW, BOW WOW SURPASSED THIS DUDE AFTER HE DROPPED IT WAS WRITTEN (WACKEST ALBUM). AND THE WU-TANG CLAN, THEY BEEN WACK SINCE WACK BEEN WACK. BOW WOW COULD EAT MOST MC’S OUT THERE, BUT HE FRIENDS WITH JD ‘N THAT BECAUSE HE KNOW THEY THE BIG DOGS THAT RUN THIS RAP SHIT. DON’T FRONT ON THE KID

  • KRITIQ

    fuck this dude he’s a puppet besides T.I wrights he’s ryhmes he got no talent only teeny kids look up to this guy anyway, so why would he want curse?

  • J.Golden

    I’m kinda speechless on this one,well I do have something that sums it up. Let that nigga’s nuts go,BEEEYCH!!

  • big daddy chopps

    bow wow cant do shit t.i, snoop, and jd wrote damn near all his lyrics. And now weezy f baby is ghost writting for his punk ass. and whoever thinks that bow wows weak ass could get nas or anyone from wu tang needs to kill themselves immediatley or just stop listening to rap all together because it is obvious that you cant comprehend the words of real niggas. that is a peerfect example why hip hop is dead when dumb mutha fuckas could sa a 19 year old pussy could rap better than a legend.

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  • jacquez
  • mole

    zee ma niggga u hot man, damn those some hot beats dude those beats> lost ones and damn hell boy u da new dre

  • antoine

    damn i remember when we
    was in math class together
    at renoldsburg jr.high..damn..those
    was the days..

  • antoine

    and i would fuck
    the shit out of
    ciaria

  • Jigga

    cant hate on him,he does what he does,and gets money,he cant cuss tho?!?! i mean u dont need to in songs,but ha wow

  • birdsflysouth

    i respect the lil brother for getting his paper. however, all that money cant buy you respect. no homo (weezy).

  • http://xxl.com Young Gutta Aka paper boy(Long live da king) MW

    Why da fuc ya writ’n bout dis dude..He fuckig sucks major dick…see u wen i see u bow bitch..muhahaha

  • Bianca

    ok…this muafuka “bow weezy”,”bow wow”…is a wanna be gangsta…this bitch has been rich practically all his life…(remember his early albums)….so he gonna all the sudden try to be gangsta wit it….wats he doin…hustlin..pfft…naw other pple are hustlin for him writing his mucic cuz he dont have shit to say

  • biggz

    this dude will b washed up soon there is no way he will last he doesnt make timeless music he appeals to the youngsta but hes gettin old and he will start to be looked @ differently when he is 25 26 and 12 and 13 year olds still comming to his concerts lol he better invest lol and besides he’s already about 2b 21 in march lol and they still hiding his age lol more power to him hes proly broke tho cuz of all them writes he’s album is titled right lol ” the price of fame” lmfao

  • EReal

    I fucked bow wow’s mom in the ass.

  • DOUBLE

    HATERZ LUV 2 TLK CRAP, NOW T.I. N WAYNE WRITES 4 BOW, 1ST IT WOZ JD NOW DEM, ALLOW HATIN ON SUM1 GETIN PAPER, JST ACCEPT DA FACT DAT HE RICH N GROWIN UP, N DA BARZ R GETIN TIGHTER…I CNT UNDASTAND PPL HU WONT LET SUM1 GROW UP…FIX UP

  • http://xxlmagazine.com citybo1

    hip hop is dead because nas used that old instramental for the main track on his new cd dont murder the dj make some shit he can bump in the club and get thnat scrill cityboi-(KEEP IT REAL)COMING SOON.

  • atltrap

    the only difference between lil’ bow wow and bow wow is now he’s not just a lil’ terrible, he’s extremely terrible

  • atltrap

    the only difference between lil’ bow wow and bow wow is now he’s doesnt just suck a lil’…. he sucks a shiiiitt load

  • http://shizomyspace.com shizo215

    Yo he a clown how you gonna mess up with Ciera..lol.i know he sick about that that lil dude need to sleep on the floor for a couple months it might toughen him up..

  • RotterdamSoldier.

    Why all of a sudden he wants to act gangsta?Stay in your lane and be happy with who you are…and now you want to curse? I say let him to it…lol…let’s see how many units he will sell then…But JD still owns him and he won’t let bow wizzle fuck up his paper….lol….

  • thecoolguy

    man i wish this dude stayd deppressed so we aint have to hear his music, but the label is smart in not letting him cuss cause if he did he wouldnt sell n e thing, all his songs that r hits are love songs and i aint hatin on that but dont expect peolple to take u seriusly after all ur songs are love songs

  • LiL YaY ChiTown 773

    Say mayne If yall kno Webbie from Trill ent he 19 bow wow 19 Webbie will fuck bow wow up anyday…Webbie he a G Bow Wow he anotha Chingy a garbage ass pretty boi wanna be G…..So fuck JD and BOW WOW…..Trill ent. Bitch Yung Savage

  • http://myspace.com/laceylacy14 Lacey

    i think bow wow mother need 2 mind her busy and let that nigga do he thing

  • Dat nigga triple c boy

    Bow wows a bitch jus cuz he a lil older dnt mean he gangsta he aint shit and he wont be shit he gone b spittin otha niggas lyrics 4 da rest of his rap career, until he realize he need 2 give it up. o yea n im frum n live n ohio im tired a him sayn he da prince a da Otown, da way i c it he was born here n prolly lived here 4 bout a couple years as a baby. he dont kno shit bout da oh. he need 2 stop reppin oh and atl and make up his fukin mind

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  • Clammy Claude

    man u cnt hate on bow wow..that nigga can really rap…ive seen him freestyle his fuckin ass off..i dnt give a shit what hes rappin about or the fact hes not allowed to curse….fuck that the dude cn rap…and he deserves respect for that…another thing…why do we spend so much time focusing on MCs weaknesses? those weaknesses arent adding anythign to the game so why focus on them….ppl take so much away from artists by focusing on what they do wrong….im sick of it myself..its just pointless…if u like rap..dnt criticize a nigga for what hes doin wrong..but praise him for what hes giving to rap, becaus eutimately rap is fo rth epeople ..not the rapper..anybody feel me???

  • Destin

    JASIYA i cant believe you said hes better then nas, youre a fucking bitch. just like bow wow, hes still a lil fuck from reynoldsburg ohio, which is a SUBURB of columbus. his musics wack, and he isnt hard.

  • http://www.myspace.com/southcrak nt1

    can u haters hear dat?dats bow wow stacking his paper while u haters r still drinkin haterade!!!!!!!

  • Spit That 2X

    First off T.I. writes his rhymes, he messed up by losing Ciara and to top things off he tried to get at Will Smith. Not that I’m a Will Smith fan musically but this dude makes 20 mill a picture and he went platinum when he was doing the show Fresh Prince. Bow Wow, you are getting beside yourself. You’z a CLOWN

  • Renae

    Fellaz it aint that us chicks is on bow’s nuts,its that you fellas having trouble geting off his nuts ya dig hahahaha stop hating cause bow wow does lil effort and yet he’s still famous attractive and rich and yall mofo’s are ugly broke ass niggaz still living in ya parents houses hahaha

  • http://xxl.com Young Gutta Aka paper boy(Long live da king) MW

    SPIT DAT 2X Is Mu-fucking nigga..bow wow listen to me…YOU ARE FUCKING LAME…HOPEFULLY YOU DON”T MESS WIT ANY BODY ELSES CAREER BY HAVING THEM SIT AND WRITE RAPS FOR YO ASS CAUSE YOU CAN”T RAP…GO BACK TO DOING DA HARLEM SHAKE WIT J.D OR JUMPING ON SNOOP DOGG’S COUCH..”Opps my bad” dat shit bitch…

  • Bow Wow is WACK!!

    JASIYA YOU A FUCKIN FOOL FOR SAYIN SHIT LIKE THAT! YOU NEED SOME SALIVA IN YOUR EYES!!

  • http://6072090 fahad

    ilive fuk sexy women ok my email fahad_ws@yahoo.com

  • Z0NE6BOI

    mayne diz boi iz a lil kid..make luh songz nd shyt few jus like lil romeo…i thank bow wow shuld make a nickelodean show nd c how much money he get den lol