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Remember When Bow Wow Was Lil’?


Bow Wow (aka Shad Moss) has officially announced his retirement via social media, but not before also announcing his final album release. Though the 29-year-old Prince of Hip Hop is throwing in the towel on his rap career, Bow Wow does fulfill the promise he made to himself to retire before he turned 30.

When you think of Bow Wow today, you may think Lottery Ticket, 106 & Park or lost potential…but, remember when he was lil? Back when Snoop Dogg was his idol, Jermaine Dupri took him under his wing and he basically trademarked the original Harlem Shake? Well, we sure do, and in light of Bow Wow’s pending retirement, we thought we’d remind you of him too.


In 1993, Bow Wow attracted the attention of Snoop D.O double G, who gave the rapper his stage name, Lil’ Bow Wow. A few years later, Lil’ Bow Wow released his first album, Beware of Dog, in 2000 under the guidance of hip hop recording artist and producer Jermaine Dupri.

Reaching double platinum status in 2001, Beware of Dog featured the prominent singles, “Bounce with Me,” “Bow Wow (That’s My Name),” “Puppy Love” and “Ghetto Girls.”

“Bounce With Me” was the 13-year-old’s first single off of his debut album. Featuring the R&B quartet Xscape, the song was also on the soundtrack of Big Momma’s House and managed to reach No.1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B.

Forever the ladies man, “Puppy Love” had the popular R&B group Jagged Edge. Acting as the third single off of Beware of Dog, the music video for “Puppy Love” featured the familiar face of Solange, who later acted with the rapper in the movie Johnson Family Vacation.

Lil’ Bow Wow’s second album, Doggy Bag, included one of the young rapper’s catchiest singles, “Take Ya Home.” Back in 2002, no Lil’ Bow Wow fan could stop themselves from busting out in sync to the rapper’s version of the Harlem Shake.

“Take Ya Home” also served as the theme song for Like Mike, Lil’ Bow Wow’s first starring role.

like mike

Like Mike followed the story of a bullied 14-year-old orphan with a dream of playing professional basketball. Lil’ Bow Wow played the protagonist, Calvin Cambridge, whose dream came true after trying on a pair of sneakers that happened to have Michael Jordan’s faded initials on the inside.

In addition to “Take Ya Home,” Lil’ Bow Wow also performed the single “Basketball” for the movie’s soundtrack, which featured Dupri, Fabolous and Fundisha. The track was Lil’ Bow Wow’s rendition of Kurtis Blow’s 1984 single of the same name.

Reaching platinum certification, Doggy Bag peaked at No. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. Though Bow Wow’s discography continued with the releases of six subsequent albums, Doggy Bag marked the last album that Bow Wow performed with his accessory “Lil’.”

Unfortunately for Bow Wow, for a long time, whether it was a Rap City freestyle or new movie roles (“BYRONNNN!”), his fans could never really drop the Lil’ from his name.

We miss the old Bow Wow. The Lil’ Bow Wow.