Posted in music

Revisiting Time: Bow Wow – A Living Legend.

Shad Gregory Moss born 9th March 1987 also known as Bow Wow and formerly Lil Bow Wow has been in the music scene for over 2 decades! He burst into the scene as a small and cute but feisty rapper with his signature hairstyles and confident personality. He then gradually moved into movies and made a name for himself in the acting world. As he grew up, he moved into producing movies and tv shows and even hosting TV shows. Along the way he has gained numerous awards for his music and acting abilities. He was once even featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being the youngest rapper to have a no1 hit. In addition, he holds the record for having the most retired videos on the popular BET Network show 106 & Park where he also eventually hosted. It has always been clear that Bow Wow was destined for success with all his talents.

However, the issue sometimes with child stars is that sometimes their domination is often forgotten about and overlooked. Hopefully this post can remind everyone of some of his accolades and prove the immense talent Bow Wow has. Revisiting these albums have been an absolute joy for me as a huge Bow Wow fan. I hope you can all feel the love throughout this post.

I’ve picked the top songs from seven of his albums as well as some features that he has been infamous for:

Album: Beware Of The Dog (2000)

Beware of The Dog

This was Lil Bow Wow’s debut studio Album and was executively produced with his mentor at the time Jermaine Dupri.

  • Bounce With Me Ft. Xscape – The leading song is one of Bow Wow’s most notable songs and features vocals from the girl group Xscape. The song was also featured in the movie ‘Big Momma’s House’. For me the song is incredible to think that the person rapping is a 13 year old boy! Lil Bow Wow demonstrated his talented flow on this song and it was clear from the jump that he was not to be ignored.
  • Puppy Love Ft. Jagged Edge – The fact that a 13 year old could even feature with a prestigious group like Jagged Edge on his debut album is evidence that he was the boy once upon a time. This is personally in my top 10 of Bow Wow songs. Lil Bow Wow at the time was rapping about his fame and the women that were falling for him. Jagged Edge provide such beautiful vocals on the chorus of this song. The video is just as great.
  • Bow Wow (That’s My Name) Ft. Snoop Dogg – How many rappers can say they have an anthem?!! No matter how old Bow Wow is, this song will follow him forever. When this song came out, it was played everywhere!!! The video was also the first of many of his videos to be retired on BET’s 106 & Park countdown.

Album: Doggy Bag (2001)

Doggy Bag

The second studio album from Lil Bow Wow

  • Thank You Ft. Jagged Edge & Fundisha – This was the first single from this second album. For me this song has such a beautiful sentiment. For someone so early on his career, the fact he made a song just to thank his fans at such a young age was beautiful. The whole song is an ode to all the fans that have supported him from the beginning and made his dreams come true. Not many young artists are that self aware at a young age and be able to show gratitude like he did. One of my favourite lines from the song:

I wanna thank you for the groups that came befo’ me (uhh). All of y’all in the office that promote me in the streets. All the mom and pop stores that don’t get a lot of credit”

  • Take Ya Home – If you aren’t singing back “Lil’ Bow Wow, you just don’t know, the way you move so fast across the floor” after this song then I really don’t know! Another one of his infamous songs. This song is extra special as it features as the theme song to his smash hit 2002 movie ‘Like Mike’.
  • All I Know – Another one of my favourites. The song samples Another Edition’s “Candy Girl”.
  • Basketball Ft. Jermaine Dupri, Fabolous & Fundisha – The song wasn’t featured on the album but was also released for the Like Mike Soundtrack. This is probably one of the most notable songs from the movie!

Album: Unleashed (2003)

Unleashed

After his film debut, Lil Bow Wow became Bow Wow by dropping the Lil. This was the first album where Bow Wow was known under a different name. It is also the album you can hear his growth with a change in his style and flow. His voice is notably deeper too which is proof thatthis album was reaally the birth of a new chapter of Bow.

  • Let’s Get Down Ft. Baby – Another classic song from Bow featuring the one and only Birdman. The song happened to be one of his highest charting singles.
  • Eighteen – This was definitely a growing of age single. For me, this was the single on the album that reminded us all that Bow Wow was now growing into a man. Gone were the songs where he was rapping about puppy love and his Mickey mouse chain, now he wanted to be respected and seen as a man. Every young rapper has a coming of age single when he starts the new adulthood process in his music and for me, this was the song.
  • My Baby Ft. Jagged Edge – Bow Wow is so good with the slow songs and this song is by far one of the best of them. The song is quite deep as he raps about a woman he meets who was in an abusive relationship. Throughout the song he tries to profess his love for her and convince her to leave the toxic situation she is in. Jagged Edge’s harmonies on this song are perfect. They always make such a good partnership with Bow.
  • To My Mama Ft. Amerie – Another deep song of gratitude from Bow Wow. Despite at this point wanting to be seen as a grown man on this coming of age album, Bow did not forget to show appreciation to his mother. Bow Wow grew up with his mother who was a single parent and she was his biggest supporter. She got him connected to Jermaine Dupri, she assisted and followed him on his tours and even took part in his album productions. It was such a nice touch that at this point even though he was now old enough to do more things for himself, he was still able to show thanks and appreciation for all his mum had done. The song is really beautiful.

Album: Wanted (2005)

Wanted

This was one of the most memorable albums for me as I can remember physically buying a copy. Living in England, it was harder to hear Bow Wow music without searching for it. We had to wait even longer for release dates in that time but I was so happy to have this album in my hand. This is probably the album where I know pretty much every song on it off by heart.

  • Big Dreams – I feel this song is one for everyone to hear Bow Wow’s storytelling ability. He is able to portray a whole storyline on this song which is quite deep, all with the same message. I will never forget the chorus of this song:

When you got big dreams, don’t listen to what nobody say & don’t let nobody turn you away. When you got big dreams, keep your eyes on the prize, don’t fall to the wayside…”

  • Let Me Hold You Ft. Omarion – Another absolute classic from Bow Wow and is probably one of the most favoured. This was the first collaboration of many between Bow Wow and Omarion. The song has been certified platinum and is still regarded as one of their best collaborations. The song uses Luther Vandross’ “If I only had One Night” as a sample. The song, the dance moves, the video, the hair beads, this song is ICONIC. By far, this is in my top 3 Bow Wow songs. I could recite it in my sleep!
  • Fresh Az Im Iz Ft. J-Kwon & Jermaine Dupri– This was gangster Bow Wow! It was nice to have a change in pace for Bow Wow after his two big hits from this album that were more slowed down. If you’ve ever seen clips of Bow Wow performing this song you can tell this is one of his favourites.
  • Like You Ft. Ciara– Wow. This song will go down as one of the best couple collaborations. Unfortunately Bow Wow and Ciara are no longer together but at the time, they were the hottest couple out. This song was huge and still is! If you can sing the whole chorus without falling out of breath then you are a real one! (I can of course)
  • Honorouble Mentions on this Album: Caviar & B.O.W.

Album: The Price Of Fame (2005)

The Price Of Fame

Now this was a monumental and pivotal album in Bow Wow’s career. Being the fifth studio album from Bow Wow, it was clear he had gone through a lot in his career. The intro of this album he addresses: “It’s like Shad Moss’ diary i’ve been dealing with the price of fame from the the beginning of this year until now even til this even til this day”. This album was a way for him to express and eject all the struggles and stress he had been through and portray it within his music.

  • Outta My System Ft. T-Pain & Johnta Austin – This song will most likely be in most peoples top 5 Bow Wow hits. It is clear that Bow Wow has such big talent when it comes to the slow and emotional type of rap songs and this song is a prime example. The song was in reference to his break up with Ciara but it is evident he pours his heart and soul on this track. The vulnerability and honesty on this track is refreshing.
  • Shortie Like Mine Ft. Chris Brown – It’s soooooo crazy to think that Chris Brown was just at the start of his career with this song. This was Chris Brown’s FIRST featured single. This song was huge and loved by so many young women at the time. I remember having the lyrics printed and stuck on my wall! Bow Wow and Chris Brown’s musical chemistry is so evident in this song and I’m so glad they continued their friendship. Bow Wow’s flow in his last verse is UNMATCHED!!!!!!
  • Honourable Mentions on this Album: I’m a Flirt, How You Move It & Tell Me

Album: Face Off With Omarion (2007)

This was Bow Wow and Omarion’s first collaborative album! Omarion always brings out the best in Bow Wow so this project was greatly appreciated.

  • Girlfriend – Another fan favourite! This song was the first single from the album. The video was iconic and it was clear that Bow Wow, over 10 years in the game was still on top form!
  • Hey Baby (Jump Off) – If you watch the video to ‘Girlfriend”, you hear how it leads to this song. The song was also featured on the ht tv show ‘Ugly Betty’.
  • He Ain’t Gotta Know – This was one of the slow songs on the album but worked so well. Omarion’s harmonies and Bow Wow’s slowed down pace was a recipe for success. Definitely one of my favourites on the album!
  • Listen – The way Bow Wow and Omarion use this song to narrate a conversation is incredible. The back and back between them in this song is so good! I remember watching a studio video of this song with them acting it out and it added even more to the song. The song was never released as an official single but I wish it was.
  • Honorobale Mentions: ‘Bachelor Pad’, ‘Can’t Get Tired of Me’ & ‘Take off Your Clothes’.

Album: New Jack City II (2009)

New Jack City II

Bow Wow’s SEVENTH studio album!!!

  • What They Call Me Ft. Nelly & Ron Browz – I loved this song! Nelly killed his verse too!
  • You Can Get It All Ft. Johnta Austin – When I hear this song, I can instantly see Bow Wow on a beach with Johnta in the background singing! Loved the video! It’s also a clear indication that Bow Wow definitely appreciates quality when it comes to features. Johnta is a prominent feature in his albums and it is evidently a match made in heaven.
  • Like This Ft. Johnta Austin & Dondria – I absolutely loved this song when i first listened to the album. The chorus is beautiful and yet again Bow Wow takes a slowed down pace to compliment the theme of the song.
  • Honorobale Mentions: ‘She’s My’, ‘I Ain’t Playing’ Ft. Trey Songz & ‘Pole In my Basement’.

Singles & Notable Features:

  • Destiny’s Child – Jumpin, Jumpin’ (So So Def Remix) Ft. Lil Bow Wow, Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri (2000) – This remix was legendary and seeing a small boy like Bow Wow hold his own to so many grown women was wonderful!
  • JoJo Ft. Bow Wow – Baby It’s You (2004) – Another great feature from Bow Wow!
  • Dem Franchize Boyz – ft. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow WowI Think They Like Me (2005) – Every rapper has a memorable featured song and I believe this is the one for Bow Wow. He completely owned the whole song and it is not surprising that he still performs this verse today.
  • Bone Thugs N Harmony Ft. Mariah Carey & Bow Wow – Lil’ L.O.V.E. (2007) – So many legends on one song! Mariah owned this song with her incredible vocals! Bow Wow’s fast pace on this song is great!
  • For My Hood Ft. Sean Kingston (2010) – This was the soundtrack song for Bow Wow’s movie “Lottery Ticket”. I love the message behind the song and even all these years later, it is still a hit!
  • Ain’t Thinkin’ Bout You Ft. Chris Brown (2010) – Now this song was originally on Chris Brown’s joint mixtape with Tyga without a Bow Wow verse. Bow Wow remixed the song and kept Chris on the chorus and it became a nationwide hit! It would have been nice to have heard a joint project with Bow and Chris because they really make good music together!
  • Better Ft. T-Pain (2012) – Another song showcasing Bow Wow’s talent at storytelling.

Greenlight Mixtape Series:

Bow Wow should also be known and remembered for his infamous Greenlight mixtapes. There are currently 6 mixtapes in the series but Greeenlight 4 was my favourite. Here are some of my favourites from all of them:

  • Regret (Greenlight 1) – A deep track where he addresses his failures, drug addiction and rumours.
  • You Know I’m Nasty (G1) – One of my favourite Bow Wow songs in general. Warning: the song is very raunchy.
  • All My Life Ft. Jermaine Dupri (G1)
  • Why They Hating (Greenlight 3)
  • What I Do (G3)
  • Cumming (G3)
  • I Got Em Let Em Know (Greenlight 4)
  • Why They Hate Ft. Gunplay (G4)
  • Everywhere I Go (G4)
  • Let’s Get Closer (G4)
  • Boy or Girl (G4) – This was the song that Bow released after finding out he was due to be a father.
  • We In Da Club (G5)
  • Suge Freestyle (G6)
  • Death Row Freestyle (G6)

Here is a playlist I have compiled with some of the hits mentioned in this post:

Posted in Album Reviews, music, UK Music

Mixtape Review: Unknown T – ‘Rise Above Hate’. – Collab with ‘Shahna Says’

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey everyone! Another week, another EP review! Today’s post is extra special as I collab with the hottest journalist on the scene ‘Shahna Says’! We were both excited for the launch of this tape so figured it would be the perfect time to collaborate together.

UK Drill rapper Unknown T blew onto the scene with his smash hit ‘Homerton B’ back in 2018. Instantly, his infamous deep voice and unique flow became a household name. It can definitely be argued that he was one of the most important figures that contributed to the recent success of the drill genre. There was a setback with a recent jail stint but luckily, he was able to overcome and has finally got the time to shine. Straight in at the deep end, Unknown T releases his debut mixtape ‘Rise Above Hate’ and it’s clear from this tape that he is here to stay. One thing you can be guaranteed with an Unknown T project is that you will get unlimited hits. Having released many freestyles in between it was clear that Unknown T was more than just a ‘Drill” rapper. (One of my favourite live lounges from him has to be the Busta Rhymes cover).  He has proven himself to be an artist and more importantly a versatile one. For me, this was one of the reasons I highly anticipated this mixtape launch.

The tape starts off quite calmly as if Unknown T is preparing us for a big journey to come. Throughout the tape however, we are taken on a fun ride with all kinds of surprises along the way. Here are some of the tracks that we loved:

Deh Deh

For me the intro track was just a preparation for what was to come. ‘Deh, Deh’ is really where it all begins. Unknown T’s signature emphasis on the pronunciation of words is so evident on this track too! In this song Unknown T reminds us that he raps about his personal experiences. The accompanying video is great too as we are able to witness Unknown T executing his signature dance moves!

Addicts

M&L: I like the switch up from this song. The song starts off melodic with the voice of M Huncho along a trap type beat. The breakup allows us to have a bit of a break from the known greaze of Unknown T. It takes a talented artist to have songs with different sounds and still make it work. Unknown T is the king of this. When his verse comes in, it works so well without having to change the tone of the song. There are a few real messages I picked up in this song such as “It’s kinda sad that kids are killing kids” as M Huncho and Unknown T both touch on how the environment some kids are brought up is a key factor on how they turn out.

Shahna Says: Addicts’ with M Huncho has got to be one of my favourites and not because I’m an M Huncho super fan but because of the vibe they have together. We see Unknown T slow down his flow and sound a bit to compliment Huncho allowing him to take the first verse and chorus before we hear Unknown T. ‘I’m trapped in the ends with skengs, drug addicts and drillers, ballies and dingers’ lyrics like this give a nod to the artwork of the block of flats he grew up in and the whole projects theme. Other songs such as ‘Prison’ and ‘Fresh Home’ deal with the same openness with listeners appreciating the fact that he is out and all that he has been through.

Main Squeeze Ft. Young T & Bugsey

M&L: This song features the UK duo who have owned this quarantine period after the success of their song ‘Don’t Rush’. They provide their signature sound on this song and provide us with a memorable chorus and hook. This is not to take away the way Unknown T did his thing on his verse. His delivery and entrance on the song was just a prime example of how effortlessly talented he is. This song is also a great indication of how the UK scene is on top right now with both artists showcasing their individual talents in one track. It will be extremely hard to convince me that there is a genre Unknown T cannot make his own. I can see this being a commercial single.

Shahna Says: Main Squeeze’ has already hit the radio playlists, easily becoming the UK’s fave alongside his promo single ‘Deh Deh’. Main Squeeze is a girl song you could say and we hear Unknown T singing to a potential love interest and the placement of the song allows the listener to move away from the drill lyrics to a vibe that can be played while driving or in the club. Balance. Young T and Bugsey always bring their own vibe giving the song that afro swing feel. I look forward to a video for this one.

My thoughts on some other tracks I loved:

  • SS Interlude – This was a pleasant surprise on the tape. It’s clear that Unknown T enjoys switching up within his music. This may be a short track, but I feel he uses this interlude as a diary and a way to be vulnerable. He sings “Sometimes I struggle mentally”, a juxtapose from all the rough and tumble he is used to rapping about. It also seems like he is directing this at a love interest. I liked the change in pace at this point on the tape.
  • LV Ft. Young Adz –  I really enjoyed this collaboration. Since the release, this is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat. I love the production on this song, it reminds me of the type of sound you would hear on a game.
  • Leave Dat Ft. AJ Tracey – I don’t know where I was when this song was originally released a year ago but wow! I’m not usually a fan of AJ Tracey’s style but I feel this is the sound for him. We are all used to hearing Grime AJ but maybe he should consider more drill. His rapping style compliments the fast pace of the drill beats so well. These two could easily make a joint tape! What a track! A year later or not!

Ambition

M&L: The final track on this tape and wow what an outro! The stripped back production and slow pace prepares us for what feels like a heartfelt response from Unknown T. He uses the track to look back on how far he has come and how much of it has paid off. He also lets us know that he is not done yet; “I’m coming for the game, that’s my main ambition”; hinting that he is only beginning. This is exciting to hear as I truly believe Unknown T is one of the most talented artists in the UK right now. It’s clear that there are no limits to where his talent can go, and it is promising to hear that he is just getting started.

Shahna Says: The final song ‘Ambition’ feels very heartfelt and reminds me of other rappers such as Skrapz, Blade Brown, Asco and Nines when it comes to rapping about your previous life and what you’ve been through. The pain and drive is felt and heard in Unknown T’s voice as he explains he’s coming for the game that’s his main ambition. Touching on now being able to have designer clothes, dealing with relationships and his dream and vision overall. A perfect way to end the project.

Overall, this tape for me has been everything I expected and more. Unknown T constantly proves his talent and it is such a pleasure to hear his constant growth. I really hope there is more to hear from him in the future and it will be such a joy to see and hear how he expands his already growing fanbase.

Don’t forget to pop over to Shahna Says’ page to read more of her views on the project. The great thing about music is that it hits everyone differently! Hopefully this is the first of many more collabs with her!

Link for her page is also: https://shahnasayss.wordpress.com/

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Ghetts – Mad About Bars Freestyle

This week’s video pick is the new freestyle from UK rapper Ghetts! It’s crazy to think this is only his first ‘Mad About Bars’ freestyle. Ghetts is one of the best in the grime scene and his witty punchlines and wordplay was evident throughout this whole freestyle. For me, Ghetts, Kano, Chip and Wretch 32 are some of the best when it comes to wordplay in the UK rap scene.

There are so many quotables in this but my favourite lines have to be;

“How can I talk about killing my ops and in the same breath say black lives matter”

“Fill up the lorry with G’s Units…you know what the payola says, the mandem got yayo for days. & I got alot of money in Lloyds Bank, I’m real cakey I’m way overweight. That’s 50 in the rucksack”

“Bar after bar after bar after bar…right now I’m in a drunken state”

“I know Rona’s lurking somewhere, all I can do is pray she don’t come this way”

Posted in music

Playlist Picks: New Music & What I’ve been listening to…

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re all doing well?! Today’s post is on all the new music I’ve been having on repeat for the past week! It’s a strange coincidence that all these releases are from men! That was not the aim haha!

I’m trying to provide you all with more content from now on for you all to enjoy! Please feel free to contact me if there’s some things you want to see more of!

My Top Playlist Picks are:

Pop Smoke:

There was no way I wasn’t going to mention the man of the hour. The late Pop Smoke’s posthumous album ‘Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon’ was released on July the 3rd. The album boosts features from Roddy Ricch, Quavo, Future, King Combs, 50 Cent and many more. If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t a huge Pop Smoke fan while he was alive however I always appreciated how talented he was. He made the drill sound a mainstream success in the US and it was clear he was only just beginning his journey. I recently read a really great review from ‘Shahna Says’ of this album release that summed up most of the songs. Have a read here:

Having listened to this album however, it was clear that Pop Smoke was a lot more versatile that most people including myself expected. A few of the songs on the album stood out for me.

  • The Woo Ft. 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch – This was the first song on the album that instantly got me. I never really realised the similarities between Pop Smoke & 50 Cent before this album but it’s clear why 50 Cent decided to take control of this project. Roddy of course provides great vocals but for me 50 was the star of this song and it was nice to hear him rapping again.
  • Got it On Me– This was one of the most anticipated singles to come from this album. Pop Smoke’s version of 50 Cent’s classic “Many Men”. The song definitely did not disappoint! It’s unreal how similar they sound! it could easily be a part 2 version of the original.

Burna Boy – Wonderful

Oluwa Burna does. not. miss!!!! This song is such a vibe honestly. Burna said that the song is about the impact his music has on the world and this song is a perfect example of that. Regardless of whether you can understand some of his Yoruba dialect, you will, using his words “feel it in your soul“. The song has a stripped back feel to it and has a lot of emphasis on the instruments. For me this is reflective of Nigerian music in general. The song makes me happy and feels like I’m back home. Have a listen below:

Just Rome Ft. ShoSho – Cheque In

I recently stumbled onto this song and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. This is my first time hearing from any of these artists but I’m impressed. I like the fusion of the melodic chorus from ShoSho combined with the raw rap on the verses from Just Rome. The last verse is my favourite as I love when artists have back to backs within their songs. For me, this makes me feel like both artists are in touch with one another. Have a listen below:

Ramz – Scratch Cards

I don’t know what spirit has entered Ramz but I’m grateful for it. He has completely taken a new route in music and it suits him. Coming off the release of his previous single ‘Brixton to Oxford Circus‘ he releases this new banger. Drill really suits his rapping style as he is able to keep the pace and keep his clarity which is a rare talent. In the song Ramz reflects on his upbringing but also his success now. I hope this new sound continues with Ramz and I feel there’s much more talent for him to show. Have a listen below:

Jacob Latimore Ft. Trevor Jackson & Rotimi – Real Love, Pt.2

With so many wonderful females taking over R&B at the moment it’s nice to hear men doing their thing too. This remix features 3 talented men in their own rights and the video is just as creative being shot during quarantine. I wasn’t even aware Trevor Jackson could sing as I knew him as an actor but was pleasantly surprised. Trevor and Jacob’s harmonising was my favourite part of the song. Have a listen below:

Rayven Justice Ft. Case, Eric Bellinger – Missing You (DJ Carisma Remix)

More men doing it for R&B in this song. I like the original song from Rayven which was released earlier in the year but this remix is even better. Any song that features an R&B legend like Case is always going to catch my attention I like how even though Case is old school R&B and Rayven & Eric are new school, they all blend well together.

Russ – Give Up

I have not heard one bad single from Russ before. This song continues with that tradition. Russ is so good at releasing stand alone singles that genuinely are good songs and not just throw away singles. This song touches on Russ’ love interest giving up despite Russ’ reluctancy to do the same. Have a listen below:

Franglish Ft. Tory Lanez – My Salsa

French rapper Franglish treats us to a nice anthem from his 2020 mixtape “MOOD” featuring quarantine king Tory. I hadn’t heard of Franglish before but after this song I will be checking out his other songs. Tory Lanez is perfect on this song. The tone of his voice is made for this kind of music. Have a listen below:

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Unknown T – Daily Duppy

As a BIG rap fan, UK music outlet GRM Daily’s ‘Daily Duppy’s’ are something I always look forward to. It’s even more exciting when I hear a rapper I genuinely like is going to be featured. This was the case for UK drill rapper Unknown T. He definitely did not disappoint either!

Fresh home and on a roll with his releases, this Daily Duppy was long overdue. Filled with the usual wordplay format, his signature adlibs and signature dance moves, this is easily one of my top Daily Duppy’s.

Unknown T has also announced his new mixtape will be dropping on the 17th of July 2020 and I for one, cannot wait!

Check out his Daily Duppy below:

I loved his previous BBC Live Lounge performance last year which for me demonstrated his versatility. As a drill artist you expect them to stay in one lane especially with a distinctive voice like Unknown T has. However, this live lounge really solidified him as an all round artist in general. It’s a wonderful rare talent for an artist to be given any genre of song and any sound and still be able to make it their own. For me, Unknown T is one of the best in the UK right now.

Check out his previous live lounge below;