Thirteen-year-old Snoop protégé's debut
He’s diminutive, sure, but there’s nothing lil about the Bow Wow enterprise. He’s got it all worked out: “Imagine what life like when I get big/I’m gonna be rich, surrounded by chicks…” But then, Lil Bow Wow is the first son of a new generation of rap stars who’ve elevated hip-hop into the boardroom. Now even pre-pubescents like him can
be utterly confident of the rewards they’ll reap. He’s so savvy it makes you fear for his soul, but his lyrical flow is so articulate that thoughts
of childcatcher-esque record execs out to exploit the tots never enter your mind. It’s as far way from Jermaine Dupri’s former kiddie rap protégés, Kriss Kross, as you could get. Really, when he claims to be[I] “vicious”[/I] on ‘The Dog In Me’, you better believe it.
Snoop’s here, of course, playing Scooby Doo to Bow Wow’s Scrappy, and it’s the only time when those tell-tale gaps in the rap appear, Snoop being unable to stop swearing even in the vicinity of a minor. The rest of this album is clean, perhaps the only missing element that would see Bow Wow wholly accepted as a new hip-hop rookie. But even the lack of expletives doesn’t jar, because in terms of production this is almost R&B. Dupri, the man behind TLC’s ‘CrazySexyCool’, brings typically hectic beats to ‘Bounce With Me’ and b, and a twisted, gothic soul vibe to ‘The Future’. Everything here – befitting an album made by a scion of Sega culture – is short, sharp and efficient; it barely reaches 35 minutes.
Rarely has a kid in pop produced something they’ll still be proud of when they’re aged 40. This lucky pup just about pulls it off. And boy, does he know it.