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LIL' BOW WOW & JERMAINE DUPRI, August 22, 2000

Lil' Bow Wow and Jermaine Dupri were among the artists that The 411 Online caught up with at The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards 2000.

How are you handling your newfound success?

Lil' Bow Wow: "I'm handling it real well."

JD, what kind of training did you have to give Lil' Bow Wow?

Jermaine Dupri: "Nothing. He came to me trained. He was already a well-trained little dog in this game. He came to me through Snoop. Snoop Dogg signed him -- I mean he had him signed to Death Row when he was like 6 years old. So he's been doing this for a long time. That sounds crazy, but he ain't but 13 now. When he came to me he was ready to do this."

So what inspired you to start rhyming?

Lil' Bow Wow: "I listened to a lot of N.W.A like at the age of 5. Watching them rap, and watching Dre and Snoop rap, it just influenced me like, 'Yo, I wanna do this. If they can do it, I know I can do it.' Once I saw them, I knew that I could rap, so I just started rapping."

Do you write your own lyrics?

Lil' Bow Wow: "Naw, but I've been practicing at home and everything, getting beats, writing down lyrics, practicing up, so I know that when the day comes I can get in the studio and write and be all right."

What do your classmates think about all this?

Lil' Bow Wow: "They just treat me like the same old person. Except for the girls. They treat me different. That's really about it, though."

What are some of your favorite artists?

Lil' Bow Wow: "Snoop, Eminem, Jay-Z...myself. That's really about it, though... and Nas."

What about JD?

Lil' Bow Wow: "Oh, he's my producer. He's the best producer."

JD, what's next for you, man?

JD: "Bow Wow's album comes out Sept. 26 for everybody that don't know that. That's what I'm waiting on. The Usher album's getting ready to come out. I'm just doing my producer thing."

What advice can you give other producers?

JD: "You gotta like other producers. You've got a lot of people out there that be dissing other people. Like they don't like down South music or whatever. That shows in your work. You gotta like everything. I listen to everything. I listen to everybody's records -- Dre, Mannie Fresh, Teddy Riley, Timbaland -- I like all of their records. If you like all of their records and they're successful, that just makes you wanna get out there and do what you gotta do."

Any plans for another solo album?

JD: "If I get time, man. I'm just doing all these records. I'm back in production mode right now, so I ain't no artist no more."

So how do you plan to ensure longevity in this game beyond your youth?

Lil' Bow Wow: "Basically, I really don't put myself in that position. I'm just gonna get more advanced. I'm gonna keep practicing, trying hard in the studio and just do real good. Like JD said, we've got the album coming out. We've got the No. 1 rap single in the country, so right now I'm just focusing on right now -- the album and how that's gonna do."

How does it feel to have that kind of success with your first single?

Lil' Bow Wow: "It felt real good. Just having the single come out so soon and it's doing real well. What is it, two weeks?"

JD: "Two weeks."

Lil' Bow Wow: "Two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts."

What's up with all the ice?

JD: "Bling, bling from my ear to my pinky. You know, when I was broke, I used to be on the Fresh Fest and I didn't have no jewelry, and I used to be watching Run DMC and them have big-ass dooky chains, and I said, 'Yo, when I get some money I'm never gonna look like this again.'"

How much is what you got on right now worth?

JD: "I don't know. I got a lot of other stuff on y'all can't even see. I can't tell you...it's a lot."

Did you come up with Lil' Bow Wow's iced-out Mickey Mouse? How much influence do you have on him?

JD: "Of course, you know. But it's gonna get bigger than that. Dude is a real rapper. That's the difference. When Bow Wow came to me, he was already a seasoned rapper. If you see him -- like he just did -- perform on stage, I don't tell him what to do. He knows what to do. He's been here before."

Tell us a little about what you've got going on in the community.

JD: "I've got the Jermaine Dupri Foundation where I do things with kids. I take underprivileged kids out of town and show them different things that they ain't never seen. I do a lot of stuff like that."

Lil' Bow Wow, you handle yourself real well. What prepared you for all of this?

Lil' Bow Wow: "Like Jermaine said, I came ready. I guess just growing up in the business has made me just want to handle myself right and be proper. Really, my moms. For real. For teaching me how to answer certain questions you guys are asking me. Being in school, being an honor roll student, being on time...just doing my thing really."

So is your album directed to kids?

Lil' Bow Wow: "Basically it's just directed to anybody that gets the album. Not only is it like a kid's perspective, but it's for grown-ups and senior citizens and on up. It's for all people -- anybody who buys the CD. No profanity, just strictly flows. I got Snoop on the album. The album's just crazy."

-- Mason Storm, The 411 Online


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