Bow Wow has been in the music industry for years and started his career as a child. Today he is a father, musician and businessman. While he will always remain Bow Wow for many people, the rapper now goes by a different name. Here’s why Bow Wow dropped his stage name in favor of his real name, Shad Moss.
Moss was born in Columbus, Ohio to Alfonso Preston Moss and Rena Caldwell. He developed an interest in rap music at an early age. When he was six, Moss began performing recreationally under the name Kid Gangster.
His life would take a turn for the better in 1993 when rapper Snoop Dogg realized he was performing at a Los Angeles concert. Snoop Dogg, who became his mentor, gave him the nickname Lil Bow Wow as a callback to his own name.
Moss met Jermaine Dupris, the producer and record label exec, at the age of 11, and Dupri helped the rising star shape his career. The young rapper released his debut album titled in 2000 at the age of 13 Beware of dog. One of the singles from the album Bow Wow (that’s my name) featured Moss’ mentor Snoop Dogg.
The song was a hit, topping the charts and earning double platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America after selling two million copies. Moss continued to perform under the Lil Bow Wow moniker, releasing hits and chart-topping hits like “Take Ya Home” and “Thank You” until 2002, when he dropped the lil from his stage name and settled on Bow Wow.
When asked why he changed his name, Moss said at the time: “I’m getting older now and there are too many lils. All those lil rappers. I’m just kind of really irritated by it.”
Moss, calling himself Bow Wow, continued to make music under the stage name, with his first album being under the new name Unleashed. The album’s lead single “Let’s Get Down” peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
However, in 2014, the rapper announced that he would change his name again. Moss announced via Instagram that he will only respond to his legal name, Shad Moss, going forward. According to the rapper, the name change was necessary despite having found fame and fortune under his previous stage names.
“We made a lot of history as Bow Wow. Now it’s time for the next chapter and the next challenge,” he said. Moss explained that the nickname no longer fits his brand and no longer represents him: “I’m a father, a businessman, a TV host, an actor and a rapper! It’s time Mr. Moss took over,” he said.
He also made a similar announcement on Twitter on June 22, 2014, writing, “After BET AWARDS… I’m going to Shad Moss. Bow Wow does not represent who I am today. It’s only right! The change is here!”
Moss has continued to make a name for himself despite the name change. After dominating the charts in the early 2000s, the rising star decided to try his hand at acting and made his film debut in 2002 Like Mike.
Moss has starred in other projects including The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Roll Bounce, and hurricane season. He joined the cast of entourage and also played along lottery ticket alongside rapper Ice Cube. In 2016, Moss announced that he would be retiring from music with his final album. NYLTHplanned for a release in 2017.
The album is still not out. Earlier this year, Moss announced on Twitter that he would be releasing a final album with the title before 30, Mentor named as inspiration for the last piece. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Moss is worth $1.5 million.
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