V Exclusive! Bow Wow Talks Working With Meek Mill on ‘Underrated’

Movies & TV

Just by looking at the tracklist for his new album Underrated, fans can tell that Bow Wow’s upcoming project is anything but. With features from some of the best in hip-hop and R&B including Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Lil’ Wayne, Musiq Soulchild and Chris Brown, the Ohio native is looking to dominate the year. 

Bow Weezy also enlisted one of MTV’s hottest rap MCs, Meek Mill, for the track “The Cypher” and thinks there’s a possibility of getting Maybach Music leader Rick Ross in on it too.

“The song is at two minutes and thirty seconds right now of just me and him (Meek Mill) goin’ but I remember when he left the studio he was like, it’s up to you, whatever we can do that…or we can throw whoever else on the end,” Bow told VIBE. “So I thought it would be easy for Ross to get on it ‘cause MMG, YMCMB, we all fam anyway so to get Ross on that one plus his artist is on it anyway so I think that’ll be love so yeah that could happen.”

Bow also throws heavyweight producer No ID into the mix, who produced “If You Were Down,” his collaboration with Talib Kweli. “I didn’t know No ID did the beat until Talib told me after the fact. When he told me I was just like, “Damn for real? Oh my God, this just fits perfect. Underrated. No ID. Talib. Aw man, this just fits.”

The album, which is due out in April, gave the Cash Money signee the opportunity to strengthen his lyricism in the same way Tupac did.

“That was really important for me. I just wanted to make sure that they did listen…I mean some people get too lazy to listen, therefore they just wanna hear what words work…but it’s like you don’t wanna overdo it and that’s my thing. I wanna keep it simple but make it make sense,” Bow said. “I think that was the illest thing about ‘Pac. That ‘Pac never really used punch lines in none of his raps, but when he spoke, you listened and he said words that you can hear and take in. It was easy to digest. It was easy to break down and that’s how I really kinda took with this one.”

Since his musical debut as a 13-year-old then known as Lil’ Bow Wow, Bow says that Underrated will offer a deeper look into his life at present. He turned to the work of veteran rappers such as Eminem and DMX to help translate his personal experiences into music.

“With my mother, daughter being pregnant, dealing with the pressure, not wanting to tell people, I was going through so much just putting all of that on me, that was the mode I was in. That’s why I love when Kanye did 808s and Heartbreaks. Like that’s how music is supposed to be like, whatever moment you in, that’s what you write about,” Bow Wow told VIBE. “And it’s like this is where I’m at in my life right now, I’m a father, 25, facing 25, I’ve been doing this for 15 years, since I was a baby and I’m still a youngin’ in the game, so we just gon’ see what happens.”

–Adelle Platon