Born as Shad Gregory Moss on March 9, 1987; Bow Wow (formerly Lil’ Bow Wow), is an American singer, rapper, actor, broadcaster, and television presenter. His first album as a professional, titled Beware of Dog was released in the year 2000 when he was only 13 years old thereby pushing him to the limelight in the music phase.
Two more albums, Doggy bag and Unleashed followed in 2001 and 2003 respectively, making up a part of Bow Wow’s achievements as he attained success in the music industry at the early age of 16. As of September 2015, Bow Wow has signed a management deal with Bad Boy Records.
Bow Wow was born in Columbus, Ohio, United States on 9th March 1987, and raised in nearby Reynoldsburg. His biological father was Alfonso Preston Moss, who abandoned the family, and Bow Wow never saw him since his birth.
He was raised by his stepfather Rodney Caldwell and his mother, Teresa Rena Caldwell, along with his stepsisters, Jasarah and Erica. His father was a practicing lawyer while his mother is a hairstylist.
From an early age, Bow Wow’s mother has been very supportive of his passion for music and she started taking him to talent competitions when he was 5 years of age.
He picked up the stage name “Kid Gangsta” and started to perform as a rapper, before encountering the biggest change in his life when he attended the Chronic Tour in the year 1993 where big rappers like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre were performing.
Shad was called up on stage from among the audience to perform on stage and displayed his rapping skills enthusiastically. This made Snoop Dog call him backstage and offered him the opportunity to do the opening act for the remainder of the tour, and gave him the stage name “Lil Bow Wow”.
Shad, only 6 years old at that time gladly accepted the offer and began to perform around the US. With the help of Snoop, Shad met music producer Jermaine Dupri who signed him to his record label ‘So So Def Recordings. Assisted by his mentor, Dupri, Shad began working on his first album. In 1999, his song The Stick Up with Jermaine Dupri featured on the soundtrack of the film Wild Wild West.
Career & Rise to Stardom
Lil Bow Wow was only 13 when he released his debut album Beware of Dog in 2000 which became a big hit with record sales of over 3 million copies till 2009. His song Bow Wow in collaboration with Snoop Dogg found its way to Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned double Platinum certifications from the RIAA.
Following the commercial success of his first album, he released his next album Doggy Bag in 2002 which has sold more than 1 million copies in the United States to date and has received Platinum certifications from RIAA.
At 16 Bow Wow dropped his ‘Lil’ stage name and left So So Deff for Columbia Records where he released his third album Unleashed in 2003, which achieved Gold certification after reaching the top 3 on Billboard 200.
His single from the album, Let’s Get Down featuring Birdman was a hit and peaked at several positions on many charts. He released the fourth album with Sony Urban Music / Colombia label in 2005, titled Wanted, and received Platinum certification.
His songs Let Me Hold You featuring Omarion and Like You in collaboration with his then-girlfriend Ciara bagged top positions on Billboard 200 and Billboard Hot Rap Tracks proving his potential as a top-class rapper and selling almost 1 million copies in the United States.
A fifth album, The Prince of Fame was released in late 2006 and charted at 6th position on Billboard 200, received Gold certification, and sold more than 262,000 copies in the first week. In collaboration with singer Omarion, Bow Wow released the album Face Off in 2007 and it secured a gold certification as well as sold over 107,000 copies in the first week of its release.
His 2009 album New Jack City II featured collaborations with top artists in the music industry, including T-Pain, Nelly, Soulja Boy, Trey Songz, and T.I.
Between 2009 to 2016, Bow Wow established himself as a popular rap artist by releasing several mixtapes like I’m Better than You, Ignorant Shit, and Greenlight, accompanied by a compilation album The Very Best of Bow Wow.
In addition to his lucrative career as a singer and rapper, Bow Wow has also received contributions from several other ventures that also add to his means of livelihood. He has also had stints as an actor and television presenter.
Bow Wow has made guest appearances on a number of television shows including Brothers Garcia and The Steve Harvey Show after making his acting debut in the 2002 film Like Mike.
Since achieving success in his first movie, the rapper has starred in a number of Hollywood films, including Roll Bounce, Hurricane Season, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and even made guest appearances on Ugly Betty and Smallville. Alongside rapper Ice Cube, he starred in Lottery Ticket, a 2010 comedy film.
Bow Wow has been hosting the television show BET’s 106 & Park since October 1, 2013. He also started hosting the nighttime edition of Australian Hit Network’s Radioshow RnB Fridays.
Bow Wow’s Albums
The following albums make up most part of the rapper’s discography.
- Beware of Dog (2000)
- Doggy Bag (2001)
- Unleashed (2003)
- Wanted (2005)
- The Price of Fame (2006)
- Face Off (with Omarion ) (2007)
- New Jack City II (2009)
Personal Life & Legacy
Regarding his personal life, the charming rapper is known to have had several relationships in the past, and he has been linked to the likes of Ciara, Erica Mena, Keyshia Cole, Ayisha Diaz, and Kat Stacks. He has a daughter named Shai Moss, from his former girlfriend Joie Chavis, who had split up with him over domestic issues.
Bow Wow Net Worth
To date, this outstanding rapper’s wealth continues to assemble from various ventures. The records, income from album sales, and from salaries earned as a dedicated actor and television show host make up most of Bow Wow net worth.
This artist is famous for his hip-hop albums and mixtapes which won many platinum and gold certifications and have ranked on several charts around the world, including the Billboard Top 100 and Top 200 charts. His net worth grew the more he grew in fame and stardom, which was also assisted by his talents and acting skills.
Bow Wow’s net worth is estimated to be $2.5 million.