Review: Bow Wow

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Bow Wow
“Unleashed”
(Columbia Records)

Mainstream hip-hop has digressed to such a terrifying degree that even a small child can throw together a half-assed album and sell all sorts of copies. Li’l Bow Wow proved that on the cuddly cute “Doggy Bag” and now he’s back up in cut with his third collection of teenybop-hop, the aptly titled “Unleashed.” This Columbia release finds him rapping under the new and more mature Bow Wow moniker, or more often in verse as the ear-pleasing yet less pithy Bow Weezie. On the disc, Weezie does the typical bitches and riches dog and pony show, throwing it down over some of the best beats that big-label money can buy, including a trio of bangers from the Neptunes (“The Don, The Dutch,” “I’ll Move On,” “The Movement”).

Weezie is at that awkward age, however, where he no longer a boy, but not quite yet a man, and he dreams of the spoils of adulthood on the bombastic, keyboard driven “Eighteen.” As soon as the big one-eight rolls around for the smooth-flowing Weez, he’s gonna be pimping a hoe who’s part “Halle Berry,” part “Trina” and cruising ’round town in one of those “big cars”, which’ll be sitting on not just “twenty-twos”, but way up on “twenty-fours.” Now those are some big ol’ rims! And aren’t big rims what growing up is all about?