Bow Wow, also known as Shad Moss, is notorious for off-the-wall social media antics and commentary. While we’ve all indulged in the foolery at some point, yesterday’s stunt was an undeniable cry for help.
Many like to discredit Bow Wow’s career, so let's hit rewind real quick. At age five or six (reports vary), he was discovered by Snoop Dogg and dubbed Lil Bow Wow. Snoop brought him to Jermaine Dupri, who figured he could help Bow in ways that Death Row would destroy him… and Unc was right. Bow Wow’s debut album, at the tender age of 13, Beware of Dog, was certified double platinum.
Unlike most, he almost immediately crossed over into acting and did so successfully. His first minor movie role as Jahlil in Carmen: A Hip Hopera featured many musical heavy-hitters like JD, Da Brat, Beyoncé, Rah Digga and Mos Def. His first major role was Like Mike, and almost every year until 2016, he was simultaneously dropping music and either starring in or being featured in a movie or TV show.
The internet started amplifying his trolling in 2013 when he tried to “stunt” in front of a group of children, stating “they don’t know it’s me. Oh s**t.” The masses threw the ultimate shade claiming that he wasn’t recognized because he was no longer relevant. That could arguably be classified as the beginning of his undoing. Most of the L’s he has taken were minor infractions: Bow getting called out by a rental company for flaunting a Ferrari that wasn’t his (Jan. 2014), claiming the dab had to do with weed (Dec. 2015), messing up the Grammy’s pre-show over and over and over again (Feb. 2016), and the infamous #BowWowChallenge (May 2017).
Just yesterday, Shad spazzed via cryptic post-and-delete tweets slamming gossip sites and bloggers but ended his rant saying he was giving away his money through Cash App, downsizing his lifestyle and needing to see his therapist. Back in 2010, he tweeted that he wished he was dead and has said that he “was just done” and started contemplating suicide “around his third album [Unleashed].” In March 2018, he curtly stated, “sometimes I wish I wasn’t here,” and "sometimes i REALLY wish i never existed... i can never do SHIT RIGHT EVEN WHEN IM DOING RIGHT! Im better off …..” Then in April, reports were still swirling about him wanting to commit suicide but were subdued when it was revealed that his next album is entitled Edicius (suicide backwards). His reasoning? “To bring yourself back from something. The name represents relentlessness, coming back for more even after death. Left the old me and woke up a NEW ME.” Until weeks later, he woke up “to a BIG F*** YOU from life” and wanted to jump off a balcony. Bow even posted a snippet from the track “Death” off his Greenlight 6 mixtape expressing that he couldn’t read scriptures, had no friends, money turned him evil and he “thought about offing [himself],” but he can’t leave his daughter, Shai.
Sometimes i wish i wasnt here........— Bow Wow (@smoss) March 24, 2018
Feel like jumping off this balcony— Bow Wow (@smoss) April 24, 2018
This route seem familiar? Kanye West was on this same trajectory. He did wild sh*t for years that many brushed off as him grieving over his mother’s death in 2007. His erratic outbursts and outlandish statements only became a real warning sign when he was hospitalized and placed on a psychiatric hold in November 2016. This was the culmination of him being slandered for the Yeezy season 4 show, Kim’s Paris robbery, him spending most of the Saint Pablo tour on his “Trump s***” before canceling due to “stress and exhaustion.” Even his team dismissed his issues as him being a workaholic. In June 2018, while promoting his album, ye, his cover art, which featured the quote “I hate being bipolar; it’s awesome,” answered the questions fans already assumed. West didn’t directly address the diagnosis, but like the old Kanye, he discussed bipolar disorder and suicide within the album. He proclaimed his mental health diagnosis as a “superpower” rather than a disability. However, most superheros know that, despite their power, they all have their weaknesses.
It is not our job to diagnose Moss with any medical condition. However, in light of many celebrities falling victim to the price of fame and taking matters into their own hands, it’s hard to sit back and just witness without exhibiting empathy and finding ways to help. Instead of hyping his L’s, his community should encourage him and those around him to seek help before he turns into a MAGA-toting, "slavery was a choice" spewing, so-far-gone-you-can't-recognize-him shadow of who he used to be. Nobody wants to look back and think "What ever happened to that guy who used to be Bow Wow?"
Death and suicide isn’t something to play with. Since Ye is too deep in the sunken place to render more public help initiatives, let’s shift our remaining focus to Bow Wow and, while we’re here, put some respect on Shad Moss’ name.
Photo: Edward Berthelot/GC Images & Photo: Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET