Jermaine Dupri says fame has not gone to his protÃ©gÃ© Lil’ Bow Wow’s head. On the contrary, in a couple of weeks the rhyming teen titan will be letting everyone know just how grateful he is for his success when he releases “Thank You,” the first single off his Doggy Bag album.
“It’s a song directed to the fans,” Dupri said Wednesday from his Atlanta studio. “The song is thanking everybody, not just the fans. [He’s thanking the] mom-and-pop retail stores, just everybody who had a hand in helping Bow sell 3 million records.”
The producer said he’s been working to make sure Doggy Bag, which was originally slated to drop around Thanksgiving, is released in time for Christmas. “The album will be out December 18,” he said. “We’re about two songs left.”
Dupri said he’s trying to get Jay-Z and Fabolous to jump on board before production wraps. The rest of the So So Def family, including Dupri and newcomers ROC and Tigah, has already laid down verses with Bow Wow. While Dupri handled most of the beats for the LP, he said the Neptunes also made a contribution.
In September, while working on the “What’s Going On” charity project, Dupri explained the title of Doggy Bag. “[It] came from the fact that girls say, ‘He’s so cute, I just wanna take him home.'”
Dupri said the name also would have been fitting because of its original release date and the feasting that goes along with it. “When you eat, whatever’s left over, they bring you a doggy bag for, and that’s what you take home with you.”
Although Dupri, whose own Instructions album drops Tuesday, was too busy to meet Doggy Bag’s first deadline, he said that he and Bow Wow have gotten into a groove.
“It’s like a step above his last album,” Dupri said of the LP. “He’s grown up a little bit. He’s gonna talk about girls more than he did on his last record. It’s going to be fun for the kids growing up with him.”
While Bow is evolving as an artist, the triple-platinum tyke isn’t penning his own lyrics yet. “He has a lot more ideas,” Dupri said. “Sitting down, taking time to write, for a 14-year-old is not the fly thing to do right now. I don’t push that on him. If he wants to take his time out to sit down and write a song, I’ll let him do that. You could barely get Bow Wow in the studio. He likes to play basketball and video games.”
It’s all good with Dupri, though. He wants Bow Wow to enjoy his childhood.
“That’s the beauty,” J.D. reasoned. “Bow don’t care [about record sales]. He asked me, ‘Jermaine, do you think we can go gold the first week?’ but he don’t care as long as people like him.”