Is it just us, or does Bow Wow make more headlines these days for what he does away from the studio than what he actually does in it? Over the course of the last few years, it feels like the Cash Money rapper has kept his name in the news frequently, despite the fact that he hasn’t released an album since 2009’s New Jack City II. So, what gives? Are people really that interested in his life away from music—or has he just mastered the art of the publicity stunt?
We’d argue that it’s a little bit of both. Most recently, Bow Wow shot to the top of the “Trending Topics” list on Twitter after his account was reportedly hacked and held for ransom for $10,000 by a rapper looking for some publicity of his own (maybe this is karma catching up with Bow Wow?). The hacker uploaded a picture of a man who looked an awful lot like Bow Wow laying in bed next to another man with the tweet, “Me & my dude resting like champs.” And, it immediately had thousands of people on Twitter questioning whether or not Bow Wow had staged the whole thing in order to get some extra attention.
In that situation, we’re willing to give Bow Wow the benefit of the doubt. All indications are that the man in the photo just looked like Bow Wow and that the “hacker” story was legit. But, you’ll have to excuse us for being a little bit skeptical about the whole thing, because Bow Wow has used publicity stunts in the past to drum up interest in himself. And, to prove it, we put together a list of The 10 Strangest Publicity Stunts of Bow Wow’s Career. These are just some of the things he’s done over the years to make headlines.
The Publicity Stunt: Dropping the “Lil” from his original rap moniker “Lil’ Bow Wow”
The Date: April 2002
Did It Work? Yes. At the time, there were a ton of different rappers attaching “Lil” to the front of their names. So, he got out just in time. He was also getting older, so the move made sense. The only unfortunate part was that, over time, the loss of “Lil” also meant the loss of Bow Wow’s younger fan base.
The Publicity Stunt: Announcing that he planned to retire after his fifth album, “The Price of Fame”
The Date: June 2006
Did It Work? Not really. At 19, Bow Wow started floating the idea of “retiring” after his fifth album. He said that he wanted to “go out with a bang.” But, of course, he’s working on album number seven now, so he didn’t actually stick with this idea.
The Publicity Stunt: Announcing that he planned to retire (again!) after poor sales of his sixth album, “New Jack City II”
The Date: April 2009
Did It Work? No. In order to try and give his last album a boost, Bow Wow announced that he was finished with music. “This is my last album,” he said, “because, for me, there’s no more that needs to be done on the music side. I’ve done everything.” Sooooooo, then why are you working on your seventh project, man?
The Publicity Stunt: Having his publicist send out a press release announcing that he had been hospitalized with appendicitis—just hours before he performed on BET’s “106 & Park”
The Date: December 2007
Did It Work? Yes. Bow Wow performed with Omarion on the show. And, the following week, their album, “Face Off,” sold more than 100,000 copies in stores. Bow Wow’s “appendicitis” wasn’t really the whole reason it happened. But, the extra press surrounding the project certainly didn’t hurt.
The Publicity Stunt: Beefing with Soulja Boy by making weird YouTube videos and diss tracks aimed at him
The Date: February 2009
Did It Work? Yes, but what a weird beef. Initially, we thought these two were kidding when they started talking trash about their Lamborghinis and who would beat who in a race. But, over time, it got a little more “serious.” It eventually fizzled. But, not before they both had the Internet going nuts.
The Publicity Stunt: Throwing shots at Chris Brown on Twitter
The Date: April 2010
Did It Work? Sort of. This was a weird time for Bow Wow. After “beefing” with Soulja Boy about, well, nothing, he also took to exchanging jokes with Breezy on Twitter one night. We’re pretty sure they were just kidding around. But, it got people talking about Bow Wow again. We just hope he sent Chris Brown a thank-you card. He definitely deserved one for stooping to this level.
The Publicity Stunt: Admitting that he fathered a daughter named Shai with his ex-girlfriend Joie Chavis by writing a letter to his fans
The Date: July 2011
Did It Work? For awhile. After denying that he’d fathered a baby, Bow Wow finally came around to the idea of letting the world know a little bit about his personal life by penning a letter that addressed both his daughter and the “baby mama BS” that came along with having her.
The Publicity Stunt: Sending a subliminal shot at his ex-girlfriend Ciara on Twitter after she called her new single, “Sweat”—the same title Bow Wow used for one of his 2011 singles
The Date: January 2012
Did It Work? No. These two dated, like, 10 years ago (at least, that’s what it feels like!) so why should we care about any “beef” between them now?
The Publicity Stunt: Alluding to a relationship he may or may not have had with Kim Kardashian a few years ago during an interview on Power 105’s “The Breakfast Club” in New York City
The Date: January 2012
Did It Work? Yes…for about an hour. If you want to get some great free publicity—at least temporarily—just name-drop Kim K and suggest that a sex tape may have been made. It’s guaranteed to get at least a few headlines. And, that’s exactly what Bow Wow’s interview got—a few headlines that didn’t last very long.
The Publicity Stunt: Ripping his label Cash Money on Twitter for failing to support his new project, “Underrated,” by giving it a release date
The Date: August 2012
Did It Work? This is still TBD. Just days before the “hacker” incident, Bow Wow took a subliminal shot at Cash Money by tweeting, “Sh** is so f****d up maaan…I swear. Im tryna stay focused but its like at this point ‘F*** that album’ & F*** a release date. Im doin shows….” Will that make Cash Money start supporting him? Not likely. But, for at least a few days, he had people talking about him again. At least, until he got hacked and started up a whole new conversation about his career. So, Bow Wow: what’s next?!