Bow Wow, born Shad Gregory Moss, is an American rapper, actor, and television host who rose to fame in the late 90s and early 2000s after being discovered by Snoop Dogg and signed to So So Def Recordings. I still remember listening to his music on repeat as a kid and being amazed that someone so young could have so much talent. Now 36, he has transitioned into acting and hosting while continuing to make music that entertains his loyal fans. With multiple platinum-selling albums, hit singles, and acting credits under his belt, Bow Wow has had an inspirational career spanning over two decades.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Bow Wow was born on March 9, 1987 in Columbus, Ohio to Teresa Caldwell and Alfonso Moss. His parents split when he was an infant and he was primarily raised by his mother. Displaying a raw talent for rap at a young age, he first met Snoop Dogg at a concert in 1993 when he was just six years old. Snoop was blown away by the skills of the young kid and immediately offered him a spot to tour with him. Soon after, Bow Wow was officially signed to Snoop‘s label Death Row Records which later became So So Def Recordings.
With the stage name "Lil Bow Wow", he began featuring on popular rap tracks and making guest appearances. I remember hearing him on songs like "Gin and Juice" and thinking how amazing it was that a little kid could keep up with the big dogs in rap. His debut album Beware of Dog released in 2000 when he was just 13 years old. It sold over 3 million copies and was certified double platinum. Songs like "Bounce With Me" and "Bow Wow (That‘s My Name)" had me memorizing every lyric. That album launched Bow Wow into stardom immediately.
A Promising Music Career
Bow Wow‘s follow up albums Doggy Bag (2001) and Unleashed (2003) also sold over 3 million copies each, making Bow Wow one of the most successful child rappers of all time. His smash hit singles like "Take Ya Home" and "Let‘s Get Down" dominated radio airplay and music video stations like BET and MTV. I loved watching his creative music videos and seeing him showcase his talents at such a young age.
As he entered adulthood, Bow Wow dropped the "Lil" from his name and released albums Wanted (2005) and The Price of Fame (2006). His single "Like You" featuring Ciara reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of his biggest hits. I still bump that song to this day whenever I need some throwback jams! Bow Wow collaborated frequently with artists like Omarion, Chris Brown, and Soulja Boy during this time.
In 2009, his album New Jack City II peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200. His singles "You Can Get It All" and "For My Hood" featured his signature rapid fire flow. Subsequent albums Underrated (2011) and Greenlight 5 (2016) marked his transition into a more mature style of rap. In 2018, he released his final album Ignorant Sh*t and announced his retirement from rap. While I was sad to see him retire, I respected him wanting to leave the game on top.
Acting and Hosting
Parallel to his rap career, Bow Wow explored acting extensively. He made his acting debut in 2002‘s Like Mike which was a commercial success. I remember watching that movie repeatedly as a child and being so hyped to see Bow Wow on the big screen. He also starred in other box office hits such as Roll Bounce, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Hurricane Season and Lottery Ticket. On television, he had recurring roles on shows like Entourage, CSI: Cyber and more.
From 2006 to 2014, Bow Wow co-hosted the popular BET show 106 & Park alongside Julissa Bermudez. I loved tuning in after school to watch Bow Wow on my TV screen cracking jokes and interviewing celebrities. He received praise for keeping the show entertaining and holding his own against his co-host despite his young age. It was clear his skills went beyond just music.
In 2016, Bow Wow announced his retirement from rap to focus on his acting and hosting career. However he continues to appear as a featured artist on other rappers‘ tracks from time to time. Outside of music and acting, he participated in various reality shows, launched a fashion line, invested in tech startups and cryptocurrency. He even had a brief professional wrestling career for a period! Bow Wow proved he was more than just a child star.
Bow Wow has a daughter named Shai Moss born in 2011 with his ex-girlfriend Joie Chavis. He keeps his personal life private for the most part. He faced some legal issues in 2019 when he was arrested on charges of battery after a fight with a woman. The charges were eventually dropped. Bow Wow continues to live in Atlanta and has expressed interest in starting a career in sports broadcasting going forward.
As of 2022, Celebrity Net Worth estimates Bow Wow‘s net worth to be around $1.5 million. During his peak, Bow Wow earned millions from record sales, sold-out tours and endorsements with brands like HBO, Disney and Sony Ericsson. He also earned tidy sums from all his acting roles and hosting gigs. Bow Wow invested his money wisely over the years.
Bow Wow‘s Career Timeline
- 1993 – 6 year old Bow Wow meets Snoop Dogg at a concert and is offered a spot on tour
- 2000 – 13 year old Bow Wow releases his debut album Beware of Dog under So So Def
- 2002 – Stars in his first movie Like Mike
- 2005 – "Like You" feat. Ciara becomes his biggest hit single
- 2006 – Starts co-hosting BET‘s 106 & Park TV show
- 2009 – Stars in the movie Lottery Ticket
- 2011 – His daughter Shai Moss is born
- 2014 – End of 106 & Park
- 2016 – Announces retirement from rap music
- 2018 – Releases his final album Ignorant Sh*t
10 Fascinating Facts About Bow Wow
- By age 10, Bow Wow became the youngest rapper to release a platinum-selling studio album.
- In 2002, his single "Basketball" was featured in NBA Live 2003 making him the youngest rapper to be included in the game.
- Bow Wow received a proclamation in his hometown declaring March 9 "Bow Wow Day" in Columbus, Ohio.
- He was featured in an exhibit at Madame Tussauds wax museum in Las Vegas in 2002.
- Bow Wow attended the same high school as Chris Brown, where they became friends and frequent collaborators.
- Snoop Dogg nicknamed him "Bow Wow" after the sound a dog makes, and it stuck as his stage name.
- His first acting role was in the film "All About the Benjamins" in 2002.
- Bow Wow learned to rap from Will Smith who took him under his wing early in his career.
- He starred in a reality show with his daughter Shai Moss called "Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta."
- Bow Wow was a fan of wrestling growing up and lived out his dream by participating in WWE matches in 2016.
Why Bow Wow Stands Out
In the landscape of hip hop, Bow Wow‘s career stands out for several reasons:
- He achieved immense success at an extremely young age with his debut album going double platinum.
- Managed to sustain a long career spanning over 20 years by reinventing himself.
- Became equally popular as a actor with roles in box office hits.
- His hosting gig on 106 & Park cemented him as a double threat.
- Rare in the rap game to step away at your peak and retire on your own terms.
Bow Wow has provided the soundtrack to my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. His music has evolved with me over the years. For an entire generation, Bow Wow was the first rapper we fell in love with. His longevity and continued relevance as an artist is nothing short of amazing. He will always be that talented kid who wowed us again and again.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is Bow Wow‘s birthday?
Bow Wow‘s birthday is on March 9, 1987. He was born in Columbus, Ohio and is currently 36 years old.
What is Bow Wow‘s real name?
His real name is Shad Gregory Moss. He was known as Lil Bow Wow earlier in his career before dropping the "Lil."
Where is Bow Wow from?
Bow Wow is originally from Columbus, Ohio. He later moved to Atlanta as his rap career took off. But Columbus will always be his hometown!
Who discovered Bow Wow?
Bow Wow was first discovered at a Snoop Dogg concert when he was 6 years old. Snoop was amazed by his rapping skills and immediately took him under his wing. The rest is history!
What was Bow Wow‘s first album?
Bow Wow‘s first album was Beware of Dog released in 2000 when he was just 13 years old. It sold 3 million copies and launched him into stardom.
How much is Bow Wow worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Bow Wow has accumulated a net worth of $1.5 million as of 2022 through his multifaceted entertainment career.