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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Bow Wow puts on the dog for devoted fans

September 22, 2003|Soren Baker | Special to The Times

It took just two words for Bow Wow to make his already frenzied fans get hysterical. "Let's go," the teenage rapper ordered as the frantic drums from his first hit, 2000's "Bounce With Me," resounded through Universal Amphitheatre on Saturday.

The shrieks of the predominantly preteen female audience nearly drowned out the music.

All of 16, the Atlanta-based Bow Wow (formerly Lil' Bow Wow) is the preeminent hip-hopper for the young generation. He's already released three solid albums, starred last year in the feature film "Like Mike," and launched his own clothing line. His clean-cut image and good-natured songs make him one of the few respected G-rated rappers in hip-hop's history -- and certainly the most popular.

Judging by his 80-minute performance Saturday, Bow Wow, already headlining his third tour, appears to be on a path similar to that of LL Cool J, the rapper-actor who emerged as a teen artist in the 1980s and has sustained a successful career.

Bow Wow kept his show lively, playfully interacting with his DJ, Shakim, and his three female dancers, changing outfits to match the mood of his songs, showcasing his impressive dance skills and making the audience feel as though he genuinely appreciates their support. There's nothing lil' about that.

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