AKA Shad Gregory Moss
Birthplace: Reynoldsburg, OH
Religion: Born-Again Christian
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Rapper, Actor
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Beware of Dog
Born in Reynoldsburg and raised in Columbus by his mother and stepfather, Shad Gregory Moss demonstrated a talent for rapping almost as soon as he had learned to talk, making his future in the music business apparent within the first few years of his life. At the age of 5 he began performing publically under the moniker Kid Gangsta, and by his 6th year he had already set his music career in motion by taking the stage between acts on Snoop Dogg's Chronic Tour. Snoop was impressed enough with the underage MC to hire him as an opening act, and changed his stage name to the far more intimidating Lil' Bow Wow; the elder rapper also brought Moss to the attention of producer Jermaine Dupri, resulting in a record deal with Dupri's So So Def label soon afterwards.
Bow Wow's earliest appearances on record were two Dupri-penned contributions to film soundtracks: the first being the song Stick Up for the Wild Wild West soundtrack in 1999, followed by Bounce With Me, which was given a more prominent place in the Martin Lawrence comedy Big Momma's House (2000). The latter track subsequently became the young rapper's first sucessful single, and was included on his 2000 debut Beware of Dog. Bow Wow (That's My Name), a second single issued later in year, was given a similar reception (no doubt benefitting from the involvement of his mentor Snoop Dogg), while the tracks Ghetto Girls and Puppy Love maintained his presence on the charts into 2001.
In addition to releasing his second album Doggy Bag, in 2001 Lil' Bow Wow significantly increased his public exposure through guest performances on remix singles by Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson. The inevitable acting career was also launched that year, beginning with an appearance in an episode of Brandy's television series Moesha in February, and continuing with a role as a jailed hoodlum in the made-for-cable hip-hop version of Bizet's Carmen. Aside from his inclusion on the Destiny's Child's This Is The Remix collection (contributing to the track Jumpin', Jumpin'), Lil' Bow Wow's 2002 output remained centered around his acting, and it was during this time that he received his first starring role, portraying a juvenile NBA star with magic shoes in the kid's film Like Mike. A minor role in the Ice Cube comedy All About the Benjamins was also added to his list of credits that year.
In 2003 the young rapper dropped the "Lil'" and released his third effort Unleashed simply as Bow Wow -- the name change and the album's content (for first time lacking the involvement producer Dupri) both attempting to portray a transition from teen star into a more mature performer. Another year was spent maintaining his acting career -- Johnson Family Vacation (2004), Roll Bounce (2005) -- before Dupri was once again enlisted to create the 2005 Bow Wow album Wanted and the top 10 singles Let Me Hold You and Like You.
Father: (has never met biological father)
Mother: Teresa Caldwell (manager)
Father: Rodney Caldwell (step-father)
Sister: Erica (step-sister)
Girlfriend: Ciara (R&B singer, dated 2005-06)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Scary MoVie (11-Apr-2013)
The Family Tree (26-Aug-2011) · T-Boy
Madea's Big Happy Family (22-Apr-2011)
Lottery Ticket (20-Aug-2010) · Kevin Carson
Hurricane Season (8-Dec-2009)
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (15-Jun-2006)
Roll Bounce (23-Sep-2005)
Johnson Family Vacation (31-Mar-2004) · D. J. Johnson
Like Mike (3-Jul-2002) · Calvin
All About the Benjamins (8-Mar-2002) · Kelly
Carmen: A Hip Hopera (8-May-2001)
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