Bow Wow

The Price of Fame

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Bow Wow's 2006 effort was supposed to be his "edgy" album and according to the man himself in pre-release interviews, maybe his last album, but on the title cut he declares he'll stay with game because he's "addicted to the cream." This is just one example of the identity crisis Price of Fame suffers from since it isn't really "edgy" either. There are hardcore poses, somewhat sensual tracks that might have mom and dad running into the room, and a couple thug songs that paint the star of Like Mike as a real G. Still, even if there's a guest artist by the name of Cocaine J, all of the hard stuff is undermined by pulled punches and editing of the cuss words when there's no "Parental Advisory" version available. Price of Fame can't decide if it wants to be the now-19-year-old Bow Wow's first street record or last teen record -- the same straddling as found on his much better, 2005 effort Wanted -- but it also tries to jump on the Southern hip-hop bandwagon with the tired "4 Corners" which features some seriously thin beats and scratching. Saving the album from being a disaster are two perfectly acceptable singles; "Shortie Like Mine" which swaggers with a great hook, and the bonus cut "I'm a Flirt" with R. Kelly and Bow Weezy jackin' for chicks." Running a close third is the soul-searching "Tell Me" which is a good argument Bow Wow is ready to take on more mature material and might even come up with something astonishing. Mentor Jermaine Dupri's beats are just so-so on the abundant filler and the guest artists -- Lil Wayne, Pimp C, Chris Brown, and so on -- don't really offer anything substantial, so if you don't have a poster of Bow Wow in your locker, check the singles and skip the album.

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