Wanted

Studio Album by released in 2005
Wanted's tracklist:
Do You
Big Dreams
Let Me Hold You (feat. Omarion)
Fresh Azimiz (feat. J-Kwon & Jermaine Dupri)
Caviar (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Like You (feat. Ciara)
B.O.W.
Go (feat. Jermaine Dupri)
Do What It Do (feat. Jermaine Dupri)
Is That You (P.Y.T.)
Mo Money (feat. T. Waters) / Eighteen

Wanted review

Since his discovery, Bow Wow has had a lot on his shoulders. Being in the music business now for over 10 years, Bow Wow has literally grown up in front of the people. Children stars really have a hard time being accepted as truly credible artists in the music industry. That Bow Wow had dropped the diminutive "Lil" from his moniker was old news by the release of Wanted, his fourth album. Bow Wow is now in transition to becoming an adult rapper and so naturally, he must shed his young image and try to appeal as harder and edgier. When Bow Wow debuted in 2000 with his nicely titled Beware of Dog CD, he was the protege of super-producer Jermaine Dupri, and the young gun's bubble-gum raps immediately won the hearts of girls. Ever since, he's been in a mad rush to show he can hang with the big dogs. Wanted reunites Bow Wow with Dupri, who wasn't involved with Unleashed, which actually gave Bow Wow a fresher sound. The album is solid but not stunning. Bow Wow wants to be all grown up in the hip-hop industry, minus the obligatory parental-advisory sticker, but he appears to be overcompensating.

He tells copycats to step off, stop copping his style, on the album's opening track, Do You. He adds that if fame were a drug, he'd die of an overdose. On Fresh Azimiz, he brags about making more money at 18 than your dad, and he claims to have money stacked higher than the Empire State Building and women over 35 screaming his name on B.O.W. Big Dreams is a welcome departure, with Bow Wow slipping into rare storytelling mode and relaying vignettes of lives gone wrong in the hood. Bow Wow also does well exposing his softer side, joining with rumored girlfriend Ciara on the surprisingly strong Like You. He also hooks up with singer Omarion on Let Me Hold You, which benefits from a timely Luther Vandross sample. Other guests on the album include St. Louis' J-Kwon on Fresh Azimiz and Snoop Dogg on Cavier. Dupri is deep in the mix again, producing all but one song. He does score on the Ciara and Omarion cuts and on Do What It Do.

Bow Wow gets by on his charisma, cool, and choruses, which are extremely catchy. Even though the album plays off its title too much – pretending that Bow Wow is a much bigger star in 2005 than he really is – it's hard not to appreciate how this scrappy rapper keeps things interesting. Perhaps Dupri and Bow Wow think this stark production boosts the rapper's thug factor, but he's a pop thug who doesn't swear much and he never claims to be carrying any heat. At the very least, it's an interesting way to develop a child star into an adult star, and a hook-filled one at that. Mainstream hip-hop will eat this record up, giving it ample radio play, but it would have been nice to hear something deeper from this young up-and-comer. Sure, he's not Lil' anymore, but his youth is probably a better angle to play up than the very grown up bling-bling message of Mo Money with T Waters.

(09.08.2005)
Rate review3.61
Total votes - 146


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