Words by Ime Ekpo


The once upon a time teen sensation’s hip-hop lineage is vicious.

Known all over the world as once Hip-Hop’s little teen wonder of the millennium as Lil Bow Wow, Shad Moss never holds back the history on his rise to stardom. On Monday afternoon, the Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta star sent social media on a roasting tour when he tweeted a photo of the legendary Death Row Records roster which happened to have a young Shad photoshopped into the iconic photograph. According to Moss, a fan sent him the photo and memories starting to fly back into his system. “…Fan sent me the pic its not the original from VIBE im like damn it just took me back i was apart of some legendary shit. Blessed” tweeted Moss.

Many so-called Hip-Hop heads who are followers of Moss, found the photo to be amusing and the rapper to be delusional for trying to “force” himself into the ranks of such a legendary collective. Here is the reality. Yes, Lil Bow Wow was well affiliated with Death Row.

In 1993, Death Row notables Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were on tour, The Chronic Tour, and had a show in Moss’ hometown, Columbus, Ohio. A five-year old Shad Moss attended the show with his hip mother and her boyfriend. AJ Johnson, The Chronic Tour manager, asked the crowd if anyone was willing to come up on stage. Despite being a performer who went by “Kid Gangsta,” Moss was a nervous wreck. His mother and her boyfriend lifted him into the air encouraging Johnson to “pick the kid.” Young Moss gets up on stage and spits a crowd rocking freestyle that left rising star Snoop Dogg in awe. Kid Gangsta’s performance was so impressive, that Snoop Dogg called him backstage to express his astonishment and ended up giving Moss his now famous moniker, Lil Bow Wow.

At the age of five, Lil Bow Wow went on The Chronic Tour with Snoop, opening up for the West Coast rapper thus becoming recognized as his certified protege. Bow Wow is heard on skits from Snoop’s 1993 solo debut Doggystyle, with use of explicit vulgar language which was iconically, unbelievable. Death Row legend, Kurupt wrote Bow Wow’s first rap record, “After 3”, which was supposed to be on the Murder Was the Case soundtrack.

Bow Wow was supposed to record an album with Death Row, but internal label disputes killed the opportunity. Snoop Dogg did not feel like Death Row Records was an appropriate environment for the pending young rap sensation. In 1998, Snoop left the label and passed Bow Wow off to an individual who was the most liable to take him to the top, Jermaine Dupri.