Prior to being known as Bow Wow, Shad Moss went by the moniker Kid Gangsta. He was only nine-years-old when he began shaping his rap career after his idol Snoop Dogg, and while he was initially signed to Death Row Records, the budding rapper soon found a new home with So So Def after the hardcore rap label decided they wouldn't be able to mold him into a pint-sized, cursing emcee. Jermaine Dupri welcomed the youngster with open arms, especially with the label head's successful track record in shaping young artists, but the initial working relationship proved to be a difficult one.
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"No n*ggas at nine have ever been signed to no rap label," the So So Def icon told Angela Yee. "Nobody. None of these rap guys. This n*gga was signed to Death Row, right? That, in itself, f*cking amazing. Like, it's crazy. So, I had to deal with this little guy's attitude when he came to me." Yee chimed in to say that she couldn't imagine what that experience must have been like.
"Bow Wow chased me with a knife when he was a kid," said JD. "Bow Wow was bad as hell. Like, just to get him...You know, 'cause he didn't listen to Kriss Kross. Bow Wow wasn't a Kirss Kross—by the way, I don't know if Bow Wow might have been born...He was too young to listen to Kriss Kross. Let's just say that. 'Cause Bow Wow, they came out in '92 and I think Bow Wow was born somewhere around in there. So, Kriss Kross wasn't the group that he listened to. Bow Wow only listened to gangsta rap music and whatever else was popular at the time."
According to Dupri, Bow had his mind set on a career that involved expletive-fueled raps as a child, but the producer put his foot down. "Getting him past that and getting him to understand that we were going to go a different route was like, a two-year process." Young Bow Wow was so frustrated with staying home alone while Dupri would go out to events that when Bow was told he couldn't attend a party, Dupri said the pre-teen grabbed a knife and chased him. Check out Dupri laughing through stories of how much of a terror young Bow Wow was.