2) He's never relied solely on another artist's cosign to help fuel his career.
Did Snoop Dogg give Bow Wow his first big break? Yeah. And is Jermaine Dupri the reason Bow Wow's got platinum plaques hanging on his wall? Yup. But, has Bow Wow abused the cosigns he's received in order to sell records? No. Actually, it's been the opposite. Bow's actually tried to stand on his own two feet as often as possible. As a result, he's actually hurt his career at times (we still think he parted ways with JD too soon back when he was a teen) but at least he's tried to be his own man. That's more than we can say for a lot of other MCs who've come into the game on the strength of a cosign—and left just as quickly once that cosign wore off.
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3) He has more hits than (most of) your favorite rappers do.
Men lie, women lie, numbers don't. Since releasing his debut in 2000, Bow Wow has three platinum albums, three gold albums, six songs that have gone to the top of the rap charts and 15 songs that have landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Unless your favorite rapper is Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne or Nelly, you're gonna have a hard time finding another rapper who's put up numbers like that.
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4) He knows how to act his age.
Transitioning from kiddie rapper to teen rapper to grown-ass man rapper is a difficult task. We'd even go as far as to say that it's damn-near impossible to keep your integrity and your credibility intact when you're gotta go through that many different steps over the course of your career. Yet, Bow Wow has succeeded at almost every level. Granted, his last album, New Jack City II, was his first as a 20-something rapper—and it was his least successful yet. But we've got a feeling that now that he's rolling with Lil Wayne and Cash Money, his next project, Who Is Shad Moss?, will finally help him put that final stamp on his career.
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5) He didn't burn himself out like so many other child stars.
It's hard enough to find a rapper who's able to last more than a decade in the rap game. When you throw in the fact that Bow Wow's kept himself relevant for more than a decade and done it throughout his formidable teen years, it's even more amazing. He's really the first and only rapper who's ever managed to do it. Plus, he paved the way for a lot of teen rappers (what up, Diggy, Soulja and Romeo?) by doing what he did.
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6) He still wants to improve his skills on the mic.
Bow Wow accomplished more before his 21st birthday than most people do in a lifetime. He's got platinum plaques, a handful of Hollywood blockbusters under his belt, all the money he'll ever need and a Rolodex filled with folks that he can call for advice any time he needs it. He could quit now and he'd go down in hip-hop history (yes, we're serious). But, here's the thing: He's not anywhere close to calling it quits. He's still out here recording new songs, putting together new albums and trying to get the respect that he feels he deserves. He may be fighting an uphill battle—but it's a battle he continues to fight. And there's absolutely no shame in that.
So, what do you think? Is Bow Wow as underrated as we think he is? Do you think he gets the respect he deserves? Do you think he should stop complaining and get back into the booth? Leave us a comment and let us know!