Lil Bow Wow was born Shad Gregory Moss in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Teresa Rena Caldwell (née Jones) and Alfonso Preston Moss. At age three, he became interested in rap. Under the moniker “Kid Gangsta”, he began rapping recreationally at age six; he was also a fan of N.W.A at that age. In 1993, he performed at a concert in Los Angeles, and was noticed by rapper Snoop Dogg, who subsequently gave him a stage name, “Lil’ Bow Wow”.
In 1998, at the age of eleven, Bow Wow met record producer Jermaine Dupri, who helped shape his career. In 1999, the soundtrack to the movie Wild Wild West featured his song “The Stick Up” with his mentor Jermaine Dupri. At the age of 13, in 2000 he debuted with Beware of Dog under the stage name Lil’ Bow Wow. Its debut single was “Bounce with Me”, which featured R&B girl group Xscape. The album also included “Bow Wow (That’s My Name)” featuring Snoop Dogg, which topped the rap chart, “Puppy Love”, and “Ghetto Girls”. The Recording Industry Association of America certified Beware of Dog double platinum on March 5, 2001, signifying sales of two million copies.
In 2002, his second album Doggy Bag was released with singles “Take Ya Home” which peaked at #72 on the Hot 100 and #21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and “Thank You” with Jagged Edge, #1 on the R&B chart. Doggy Bag peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and was certified platinum. Lil’ Bow Wow performed the track “Basketball” for the soundtrack of his film Like Mike; that song peaked at #1 on the R&B and #25 on the rap chart. Bow Wow dropped the “Lil'” from his stage name in April 2002; he told MTV News: “I changed my name because I’m getting older now and it’s too many Lil’s. All these Lil’ rappers, I’m just kind of getting real irritated by it. I said, ‘You know what? Drop the Lil’. Forget it. I’m Bow Wow. Besides, I’m growing up, I’m not little anymore. [I just decided that] two weeks ago. I really got irritable. It’s all these Lil’ cats, forget it. I’m Bow Wow now. Everything is just ‘Bow Wow,’ no ‘Lil’ Bow Wow.'”
He went on to release 4 further albums under the name Bow Wow, in 2003 – Unleashed, in 2006 – The Price Of Fame, in 2007 – Face Off, in 2009 – New Jack City 2.
Bow Wow planned to release his new then-titled album Underrated on Cash Money Records, but the record underwent a number of delays and in mid-November 2011, Bow Wow announced on his blog that the record wouldn’t be out before 2012. On August 10, 2013 via his official YouTube page Bow Wow stated the reason that Underrated had been delayed is due to him raising his daughter & waiting until he was more mature;, he also stated he planned on working & releasing the album after he turned 28. On June 24, 2014, Bow Wow announced via Instagram that after 2014 BET Awards, he was going by his real name Shad Moss, claiming that he made a lot of history as Bow Wow, and that it was now time for “the next chapter and challenge”. He stated that “Bow Wow” no longer fit with his new personality as he was now a father, host and actor, and he had matured from what he had been early on in his life
On September 27, 2015, Bow Wow signed to Diddy’s record label Bad Boy Records. He then named the members of his new management team and finished the post by writing, “Making money won’t be the issue. Figuring out where to keep it all is another story!”
On August 7, 2016, Bow Wow officially announced that he is retiring from rapping and will release one more album titled NYLTH, which is tentatively scheduled for release in 2017.
On March 28, 2012 it was announced Bow Wow was ordered by court to pay $3,000 a month in child support.
On October 2, 2012, Bow Wow claimed he was broke and only making $4,000 dollars a month and only had $1,500 in his checking account. However the next day he signed on to be one of the four new co-hosts of BET’s 106 & Park. Later on he would address this by saying;
“One thing about me, I’m a smart guy. Very smart. Things that I do, are for reasons. Things that I don’t do are for reasons. So for myself, I’m comfortable, very comfortable. For me, it’s all about the work. But as far as rumours, those are people’s opinions — until you see me on a corner with a cardboard box saying I’ll tap dance for food for canned goods, then you can say that [I’m broke].”
Shad moss has had a number of acting roles, being involved in shows such as Brandy’s Moesha, and most recently starring in CSI: Cyber.
Let’s go back to when 13 year old Lil Bow Wow burst onto the scene with That’s My Name.