Growing up in the industry ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Naturally, there’s invaluable knowledge to be gained — which will have your career a couple steps ahead of the pack, but as fans age and mature, so do their musical preferences; forcing the artist to shift their position — even it means contradicting their original standpoint all together. No one in Hip-Hop is more familiar with this than Shad “Lamborghini” Moss. Since the “Lil” was dropped, Bow Wow’s been faced with adhering to an entirely new market who mostly associate him with the teenybopper magnet Scream Tour and rapping about instant messaging cheerleaders while their parents are at the grocery store.
So even with the creation of New Jack City II, an album with no association with the 1991 film and his first to feature a Parental Advisory label, fans will still be skeptical of his artistic direction. For this pup’s development in the public eye has severely limited his subject matter to merely party n’ bullshit.
And of course girl records, which take up 54% of the album. Bow Wow, a fairly competent rapper from nearly two decades in the game, cleans up nicely on affectionate odes to the fairer sex like the two Johnta Austin collabos “Like This” and the radio-ready “You Can Get It All” which revisits TLC’s “Baby, Baby, Baby” for half of the magic. Elsewhere, B Dub flaunts his riches with DJ Toomp and T.I. over an exhilarating composition with some roadrunner bars to match and (surrogate) father and son are reunited to blend R&B and radio meticulously on “Roc The Mic” where Jermaine Dupri quips “You never know what you got til’ it’s gone/welcome home.” Indeed.
Still, a slim tracklist and Mario Van Pebbles couldn’t salvage some of the stagnant commodities found on NJCII. The cliché-ridden, Ron Browz-ruined, “What They Call Me” is the main culprit for the parental advisory still with a “nigga” here, a “motherfucking” there, and a whole lot of Auto-Tune. “I Ain’t Playing,” the Trey Songz duet, is successful only with rehashing the sentiments heard on previous girl devotions and Swizz Beatz’ cowbell massacre “Shake It” is the club anthem that will never be.
Due to classical grooming, Bow Wow’s grownup debut manages to be a respectable endeavor barring the deceptive album title and equal amounts of hits and misses. It may take a little more grinding to become the big dog, but if Pookie could be rehabilitated, then it should be a breeze for Mr. Wow.
New Jack City II’s bonus tracks.[audio:http://www.snapdrive.net/files/591135/12-bow_wow-marco-polo_ft._soulja_boy_tell_em.mp3%5D http://www.snapdrive.net/files/591135/13-bow_wow-big_girls_ft._yung_joc.mp3%5D http://www.snapdrive.net/files/591135/14-bow_wow-anything_you_can_do_ft._lil_bow_wow.mp3%5D