Bow Wow (Shad Gregory Moss) is a popular rap artist, record producer, TV host and actor. He was initially known in mainstream by his pseudonym Lil’ Bow Wow till 2003 after which he started to use the name Bow Wow in his albums. He developed a strong liking to melodic tunes especially the rap genre of music from a tender age of three years. Bow revealed that he always loved rapping and would perform at every chance he got. He is famous for his released hip-hop albums and mix tapes which have won many gold and platinum certifications and have ranked on Billboards Top 200 and Top 100 charts. Bow has achieved a lot of fame and stardom through his acting skills as well. He was cast as Twinkie in ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ (2006), as Gary for ‘Hurricane Season’ (2009), T- Boy in ‘The Family Tree’ (2011), as Brody ‘Baby Face’ Nelson in ‘CSI: Cyber’ (2015). He has also acted in an MTV production of ‘Carmen: A Hip Hop era’ (2001) with Beyonce Knowles, Wyclef Jean and Mos Def. He is a successful entertainer who has achieved worldwide recognition through his multifaceted talents.
Childhood & Early Life
Bow Wow was born Shad Gregory Moss on 9th March 1987 in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A, and raised in nearby Reynoldsburg. His biological father, Alfonso Preston Moss, abandoned the family and Shad never saw him since his birth.
Bow Wow was raised by his mother, Teresa Rena Caldwell (ne’e Jones), and stepfather, Rodney Caldwell, along with his step sisters, Erica and Jasarah. His mother is a hair stylist and step father is a practicing lawyer in Houston, Texas.
His mother was very supportive of his passion in music and she started to take him to talent competitions around his hometown when he was 5 years of age. He thus, started to perform as a rapper by the name ‘Kid Gangsta’.
The biggest change in his life came when he attended the Chronic Tour in 1993 where eminent rappers like Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre were performing. Shad was called to perform on stage from among the audience and he very enthusiastically displayed his rapping skills.
Snoop Dog called him backstage and stated that he wanted Shad to do the opening act for the rest of the tour and he gave him the stage name ‘Lil Bow Wow’. Shad gladly accepted the offer and started to perform around the US.
Snoop also helped Shad to meet music producer Jeramine Dupri who immediately signed him to his company ‘So So Def Recordings’. Facilitated by his mentor, Dupri, Shad started to work on his first album. Meanwhile in 1999, his song ‘The Stick Up’ with Jeramine featured on the soundtrack of the movie Wild Wild West.
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Lil Bow Wow (aged 13) released his debut album titled ‘Beware of Dog’ in 2000 which became a massive hit with record sales of more than 3 million copies till 2009. The album included hit songs like ‘Bounce With Me’ featuring R&B group Xscape, ‘Ghetto Girls’ and ‘Puppy Love’ with Jagged Edge. The song in collaboration with Snoop Dogg titled ‘Bow Wow (That’s My Name)’ entered Billboard Hot 100 chart and received double Platinum certifications from the RIAA. The album reached top 10th position on Billboards 200 charts.
Following his first album’s commercial success, he released his second album titled ‘Doggy Bag’ in 2002 with So So Deff label. This album has sold 1.1 million copies in the US till date and also received Platinum certifications from RIAA while reaching 11th position on Billboard 200 and 2ndposition in Top R&B/ Hip Hop Albums charts. It included hit songs like ‘Thank You’ and ‘Take Ya Home’ includinghis ‘Basketball’ song that featured in the soundtrack of his film ‘Like Mike’.
Shad at 16 years dropped his ‘Lil’ stage name, joined Columbia Records leaving So So Deff, and released his next album entitled ‘Unleashed’ in 2003 and it reached to top 3 in Billboard 200 and achieved Gold certification. The single of the album ‘Let’s Get Down’ featuring Birdman peaked at 14th position on Billboard Hot 100 and 6th on Hot Rap Tracks. In the making process of this album, Shad composed and played the role of executive producer and used more contemporary sounds.
The rapper’s fourth album ‘Wanted’ released in 2005 with Sony Urban Music/Columbia label and received Platinum certification. The songs titled ‘Let Me Hold You’ in collaboration with Omarion and ‘Like You’ featuring his then girlfriend Ciara secured top positions on Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and Billboard 200 proving his potential as a rapper and sold nearly 1 million copies in US .
Bow next released his fifth album titled ‘The Prince of Fame’ in late 2006 which included songs like ‘Shortie Like Mine’, ‘Outta My System’ and ‘I’m a Flirt’. This album received Gold certification, charted at 6th position on US Billboard 200 and sold over 262 thousand copies in the first week.
Bow Wow in collaboration with singer Omarion next released an album titled ‘Face Off’ in 2007 and it received gold certification and sold over 107 thousand copies in the first week.
His recent album ‘New Jack City II’ was released in 2009 and it secured 16th position in the US Billboard 200. It featured stars like Nelly, Soulja Boy, T.I, T-Pain, Trey Songz and was given a parental advisory label for its adult content.
Between 2009 to 2016, Bow released several mixtapes like ‘Greenlight’3, 4 and 5, ‘I’m Better Than You’ and latest ‘Ignorant Shit’. He also released a compilation album titled ‘The Very Best of Bow Wow’ in 2010. All of them faired pretty well and made him a popular rap artist.
Shad Moss aka ‘Bow Wow’ confirmed on social media that NYLTH will be his last album as he intends to retire from rap-music by the age of 30. This album is being executively produced by himself and Snoop Dogg and will be followed by a movie. At present, he is focussing on his acting skills and performance as TV host. Bow has plans to produce two TV shows.
Awards & Achievements
Bow Wow won the BET viewer’s choice award in 2001 and Billboard Music Award for Rap Single of the Year for his ‘Bow Wow (That’s My Name)’.
As Lil Bow he won the favourite male singer prize given by Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards in 2001.
Personal Life & Legacy
Bow Wow has had several steaming relationships over the past years and he was linked to Ciara, Ayisha Diaz, Kat Stacks and Erica Mena. He was also rumoured to be having affairs with Melody Thorton and Teairra Mari.
Bow has a daughter, Shai Moss, from his ex girlfriend, Joie Chavis, who had left him over domestic issues, but they are being seen back together. Shai was born on 27th April, 2011 and is being raised by her mother. He even stated that fatherhood has changed him a lot and absolutely adores playing and cuddling with his daughter.
Bow Wow’s estimated net worth is $ 1.5 million as of 2017.
Lil Bow became the youngest rapper to have a number 1 hit confirmed by Guiness Book of World Records.