Bow Wow Details His Days With Death Row & Says He Was An Original Dogg Pound Member (Video)
UPDATE: Following Thursday’s Bow Wow interview with The Breakfast Club and Ambrosia For Heads’ report, rapper CPO Boss Hogg contacted AFH to clarify a point. In yesterday’s interview, Bow Wow appeared to reference a belatedly-released Death Row Records song called “After 3.” Describing his time with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight’s storied record label, Shad Moss noted, “What’s crazy is that a couple of records had leaked, which are actually [now] on YouTube, records that Kurupt actually had wrote for me that was ‘posed to be on the Murder Was The Case soundtrack that never made it.”
“[‘After 3’] wasn’t even written for Bow Wow. I had put together a little kids group like Another Bad Creation, only mine were from the hood. I found random kids from Compton and put the group together. I called them The 3 O’Clock Mob and wrote that song for them originally,” says the artist who released 1990’s To Hell And Black at Capitol Records, under a production deal through N.W.A.’s MC Ren. “My business partner that was supposed to help finance it [but] kept flaking, so I had to let it go. Soon after that time, Suge [Knight] called me into his office with Bow Wow and [and a member of Bow Wow’s family]. Suge asked if I would write a song for Bow Wow, so I said sure. He said he would pay me, but I told him, ‘Don’t trip. I work for the Row, anyway.’ Suge didn’t know [that] I already had a song that I thought might fit Bow Wow. So I just took all the other kids names out of the song and put in Bow Wow’s name. Then me and my manager Michelle Hunt took [Bow Wow] in the studio, showed him how to deliver it and recorded him.”
He iterates that point, and explains Kurupt and Jewell’s addition. “My manager Michelle and I took him into the studio, showed him how to flow it, and recorded him. Jewell and anybody else got on the song later.”
Notably, that song was formally released (contrary to the April 12 report), on 2012’s 20 To Life: Volume 1 vault collection from Death Row’s current ownership. That album features an additional CPO song, as well as tracks from K-Solo, The Lady Of Rage, and O.F.T.B.
ORIGINAL APRIL 12 STORY: Bow Wow is currently celebrating his 25th anniversary as a professional rapper. The Columbus, Ohio native also known as Shad Moss made a memorable appearance on Snoop Dogg’s multi-platinum 1993 Doggystyle debut. The slick-talking rapper/actor/host cut his teeth on the “Class Room Intro” skit to “Gz And Hustlas” when he was just six years old.
Moss’ introduction to Snoop and his camp after freestyling at a Columbus stop on Dr. Dre’s Chronic Tour. There is a memorable Arsenio Hall Show performance, when a very “lil'” Bow Wow took the stage with Snoop. At the time, Death Row’s studio sessions were filled with hopeful artists. Acts around Snoop including cousin RBX, another minor, Illegal’s Mr. Malik, as well as Bow Wow sought opportunities to be heard. While Bow Wow’s songs never made anymore albums from the label, he toured with Snoop and company.
In the last year Bow Wow has endured several incidents of social media scrutiny, and he caused them. Notably, the entertainer tweeted an image of himself added to the famed 1996 Death Row Records roster portrait. The work included stars from the roster. Bow Wow was not included in the Death Row Greatest Hits double-album insert, but tweeted an amended version with his inclusion, acknowledging his tenure.
Appearing on The Breakfast Club this morning (April 12), Bow Wow spent one hour confronted by direct questions from Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy. The former 106 & Park host vows that it marks his final “radio interview,” as he discusses the rather embarrassing origins of the #BowWowChallenge (Bow Wow tweeting a file photo of limousines parked next to a chartered jet, only to be real-time outed on a commercial flight). That viral sensation is now the basis of Moss’ latest TV venture with producer Mona Scott.
For fans of those so-called “Death Row days,” that segment opens the interview (the first four minutes). The man also known as Shad Moss confirms reports published by Billboard, VIBE, and others, that he was a Death Row artist by contract. “When I got with [Snoop] Dogg…once [Dr.] Dre and everybody decided to part ways, and Snoop was last to really leave. He just felt that me being at Death Row wasn’t really the right situation for a seven-year-old kid at the time. When they had discovered me, I had moved out to L.A. I just sat on the label. What’s crazy is that a couple of records had leaked, which are actually [now] on YouTube, records that Kurupt actually had wrote for me that was ‘posed to be on the Murder Was The Case soundtrack that never made it.” The double-platinum 1994 compilation was a key showcase for emerging label acts like Nate Dogg, Sam Sneed, and Danny Boy.
One of the songs that Bow Wow is referring to is “After 3,” which also features two Death Row artists of the time, (MC Ren protege) CPO Boss Hogg and singer Jewell.
By 1996, the label suffered the death of Tupac, the incarceration of Suge Knight, and a mass exodus of its stars. “From there, Snoop just had it in his mind that if ‘I can’t be [helping] him the way that I need to be [helping] him [during a hard time], the first person that he thought about was Jermaine [Dupri].” Previously, Tha Dogg Pound had dissed So So Def’s founder and artist Da Brat on the Murder Was The Case video single “What Would U Do?” By now, that beef had squashed and the Atlanta songwriter had a knack for producing child rappers like Kris Kross. “He figured, ‘the best situation that I can put [Lil Bow Wow] in, ’cause I care about him so much, is to give him to JD.’ I wasn’t feelin’ that sh*t; I really didn’t understand that. I wanted to ride out with Dogg. He found me, he discovered me. I moved to L.A., spent hella time out there. Then, once he dipped, it was over. He just told me, ‘We’ll meet up again.'”
Charlamagne asks Bow Wow if posting the edited pic was a case of “flexin’.” “No, that’s Death Row,” responds the 31-year-old. “One of the most memorable stories I have is when Suge [Knight] called my moms and was like, ‘Bring him by the office right now,’…we pulled up and the first thing Suge did was give me my Dogg Pound chain, which meant a lot. Me, Daz [Dillinger] and Kurupt, we [all] had Dogg Pound chains.” Bow Wow also credits Daz as being the specific person who discovered him back in 1993 at that fateful tour stop.
Charlamagne then asks, “So the original Dogg Pound was you, Daz, and Kurupt?” Bow Wow responds, “Yeah.” C.T.G. replies, “Get the f*ck outta here, man…” The guest doubles down. “Look it up. You can look it up on YouTube. Me and Kurupt; I got a song with Kurupt.” Shad Moss denies a rumor that he ghost-wrote for Snoop, but insists that when Charlamagne “fact checks” the interview, that the claim is real. He adds that he remains cool with Daz and Kurupt today.
The one-hour interview also has its more serious moments. Bow Wow speaks about another tweet that alluded to suicidal thoughts, revealed to be the title of his next LP. He discusses his strained family relationships, and challenging periods with Chris Brown and Jermaine Dupri. Of his famed plane-tweet, the multi-platinum rapper shrugs, “Players f*ck up.”
If this is one of Bow Wow’s final interviews, it’s an entertaining one with difficult questions and thoughtful answers.
#BonusBeat: Another song believed to be from Bow Wow’s Death Row-era recordings, “Dave”:
These songs have not been included in the label’s recent vault compilations.