Bow Wow officially announced his retirement and final album and it received mixed reviews. I understand those mixed reviews and I want to talk some fact and unspoken realities as we all prepare to close out possibly the greatest child rapper run of any era.
Bow Wow started his career as “the kid on Arsenio Hall” at 6 years old, then later was known as “Mr. 106 & Park.” That means he started his career on a number 1 urban entertainment platform and became the premier star of the next urban media platform that was created. We’ve honestly seen nothing like that from a “Child Star”
Think of the child rappers that either didn’t pan out or just never were as big as people expected musically.
Lil Romeo [Was supposed to be bigger than Bow Wow and they’re friends]
DJ Jus and Lil Nique
The rest of B2K
The kid on Backstage [I know that was reach, but they added that to the video]
I know it’s more, but these are some that came before and after Bow Wow yet still weren’t able to stick it out and give us 3 successful solo albums.
I think the jokes, memes and videos are hilarious, but for a lot of kids, Bow Wow was there “Michael Jackson” “New Edition” “Bobby Brown” or “LL Cool J.” Bow Wow appeared during the booming “Boy Band Era” and gave young black teens a superstar. The Scream Tour made a few other acts household names and maybe turned a few of those artists 15 minutes of fame into 2 hours. It’s also one of the most successful tours in music of this era. That can’t ever be changed even if we get a good laugh online.
Who are the Bow Wow fans now? This is tricky because I had this conversation with a group of people spanning the age of 25-30 and I’m not sure what to believe overall. The perception is Bow Wow lost all his rap fans to Drake, Kendrick, Cole, Big Sean and Wale. That can be deemed accurate because all of those guys range in age of 28-31, which should be the demo Bow Wow should be appealing to the most musically, but he doesn’t appear to be. In fact, it looks like that’s the demo clowning him the most for announcing his retirement. So a very valid question is, who is going to buy this final Bow Wow album? With Snoop Executive Producing the album, I honestly think we’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Part of the problem is Bow Wow was packaged as “something for the kids” for so long just off perception that his brand may have fell out of touch with his actual age bracket musically. Even in Lottery Ticket he played a kid in the hood. He was like 24 then. 7-8 years ago, Bow Wow was on tracks with the new face of young music at the time, Soulja Boy, but Soulja Boy was maybe 19 then and had his own wave and audience. At 21, Bow Wow didn’t get the “Im an adult now” push and the chance to adopt the obvious “older sound to shed the child image” that most young artist do; He kept appealing to the young teens and early 20 somethings and may have lost a big portion of his ideal core in the process. It made him very successful, but it also skews the perception of his body of work. Not saying he wasn’t talking about more mature things, it was just very easy for younger ears to digest. Bow Wow has monster hits, but I don’t remember hearing many of them in the club, on the block.
End of Day. Bow Wow had a career most artist dream of. He was put on by Snoop, Made hit Records with Jermaine Dupri and T.I, had one of the most successful tours and movements of his era, lost his virginity to vixen and dated a few of the most desirable women in his age group before they became household names. Oh, he also was technically on Young Money/Cash Money before Drake.
Is Bow Wow the Greatest Child Rapper of All Time? What we know for sure is we haven’t seen anything like him in 15 years.
No disrespect to Kriss Kross, but under longevity, they got to take this L. JD is a genius by the way.