Omarion and Bow Wow: Face Off

It’s pretty obvious that both Bow Wow and Omarion grew up right before our eyes in the spotlight. When they individually hit the scene at the turn of the century, it was clear that the next generation of music was approaching. Having gone through some stage changes along the way– Bow Wow dropping the Lil’ […]

It’s pretty obvious that both Bow Wow and Omarion grew up right before our eyes in the spotlight. When they individually hit the scene at the turn of the century, it was clear that the next generation of music was approaching. Having gone through some stage changes along the way– Bow Wow dropping the Lil’ in his name and Omarion separating from the now defunct B2K – both have remained major players in Black music. Additionally, they’ve stayed the best of friends throughout their journey. And then there’s the fan base. They don’t call it the Scream Tour for nothing, and both Omarion and Bow Wow pioneered that tour up until the moment Bow Wow didn’t. When Omarion remained a Scream Tour act, rumors swelled that the two were no longer friends. That hearsay was eventually smashed when the two decided to pair up R. Kelly and Jay-Z style and release a collaborative project called Face Off. Combining Bow Wow’s swag with Omarion’s sex appeal, Face Off is the turning point for two artists who entered as boys but returned as grown men. They’re a movement by themselves, but they’re a force when they’re together, and we got to hear all about Alternatives: Bow Wow, I know you’re a big fan of kicks. Aren’t you opening up a sneaker shop?Bow Wow: Yeah, I’m about to open up a sneaker shop in Atlanta. I’m already working on that right now as we speak. I’m just seeking a lot of business interests right now for myself. I know O [Omarion] is always talking about being a businessman and different things like that with stuff that he wants to get into this year. On top of that, I’m starting my own record label [Lil’ Bow Wow Entertainment], so I’m about to get it popping off with that at Columbia. I’m really just doing a lot of big things – things that a lot of people actually thought that I couldn’t do, so I’m really out here to prove people wrong. AHHA: While you’re out in New York, you know that the kicks game is crazy, have you been getting any inspiration for any of your sneaker stores?Bow Wow: Oh yeah, of course! Anytime I come to New York, I visit shops like Bape and Flight Club. AHHA: How is your McDonalds doing?Bow Wow: It’s actually going well; I’m in the process of finishing up the paperwork so that’s definitely a done deal. After I do that one, I’m going to open up another one. It’s a lot of stuff that I really want to get into. I’m grown now, I’m 20 years old. I’m starting to get smart with my money. I want to look back and say, “Man, I owned that and that” when I get older. Not only with me, but now you see a lot of Hip-Hop artists getting involved with joint business ventures. I know like Fat Joe and Swizz Beatz own car dealerships. Everybody is just branching off. In order to make some money, you’ve got to spend some money, you know? That’s just something that I’ve learned on my own and watching my mother with the different stores that she’s owned – those are the different things that I’m really trying to get into. AHHA: I know when the last time I caught up with you, you were talking about an artist named Yung Jinsu. Bow Wow: Yeah, that’s actually going to be my first artist. I can’t market to that little kiddie audience anymore because I’m pushing that edge now. I’m progressing lyrically, and I am trying to step up to that artist that people know that Bow Wow can be. I have the capability to do so. In order to do so, I have got to pass the torch onto someone else and that torch will be passed on to my lil’ homie Yung Jinsu. He’s going to be signed to Columbia/LBW ENT. When that happens, it’s going to be a wrap. It’s going to be double trouble. He’s going to get them lil’ girls, and I’m going to get their mamas. AHHA: Omarion, you went from a group to solo to working with another artist. How is that for you?Omarion: It’s exciting because I have gained that recognition as a solo artist. It feels really good, I feel blessed to have come this far. This situation is perfect. I already know what to expect of [Bow Wow’s] personality. I’ve been in a group before so I know what comes with dealing with people’s opinions. It’s a walk in the park, I’m used to it. AHHA: People were actually a little bit surprised that this project with you two actually happened. After the Scream Tour, the media made us believe that you were fighting with each other. How did you overcome that? I know it was a lot smaller than what the media tried to make it seem. How did you overcome that little disagreement to say, “Okay, let’s do some music together?”Bow Wow: For me, you have to look at it as saying, we’re both grown. Any time you have a conflict with any other grown man you have to talk it out. That’s something that we both did. I really didn’t have any time to be holding any grudges against anybody. Honestly, that really won’t get us anywhere individually really. It was just negative. We just sat down and talked about it – actually, he came to my album release party for my Price to Fame album. That really sealed the deal. Both of our albums came out a week apart from each other and we were just like, “Aye man, let’s go ahead and make an album together.” Any artist can give you an album every year. That’s easy! Being that this is my sixth album, I didn’t want to keep the people and cheat the fans. I wanted to give them something different. I wanted to hit them with something left field, and I think that this is left field. We’re doing this for the fans and because of us. We’re not doing this for the money’s sake because we know that this is an easy winner with me and dude together. Honestly, I’m doing it because it’s fun. I told someone that I’m doing it for fun so much that I’d donate the funds to charity honestly if it were up to me. I just love music and I have a passion for music. This is what I do and I take it very seriously. Omarion: What’s really interesting about our friendship is that I can’t really say that I grew up with anyone else except for when I was in [B2K]. There really wasn’t anybody in the industry as young as we were but Bow Wow. The Scream Tour was the first tour that we went on as B2K. We pretty much kept in touch through then, and it’s pretty amazing to me that in spite of all of our disagreements, we’re still homeboys. We came to this point like now where it’s like, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to do it for the people. This is, to me, what makes our relationship real. It doesn’t make it fake. It’s actually beside the entertainment part of it. With us having to go on tour all these years and be around each other, it’s pretty amazing to me that when you go on tour with people that you think that you wouldn’t like or girls that you think is attractive, when you’re forced to be around them for three months or however long the tour is, you’ll start to like them and find out things about them. I can say for me and Bow, it’s beyond that tour. We’ve gone on five or six tours. We’ve kept in contact and with this album Face Off, we’re going to own that. It’s going down.AHHA: It’s like a brotherhood between you two right?Omarion: Essentially.Bow Wow: Yep. AHHA: I know that the album is under wraps right now but what kind of information can you relinquish up to the public? Bow Wow: Be expected to expect the unexpected. We have the opportunity to talk about any and everything that we want to talk about. Whereas before, we were young and we couldn’t say certain things, now we can. Whereas before, we’d say, “Oh, we’re going out and having a good time,” now it’s like, “After all of that, we’re going back to my room and this is what is going to happen.” This is so left field. This is what the world has been waiting on for me to step up lyrically and for Omarion to step up. They know it’s in us, but we have to show it. What really lights my fire is that people think that this is going to be a lollipop album. Like this is raw and uncut. This is the first time that the people will really get a glimpse of both me and Omarion as men and as artists. Right now, it’s a reflection of how we are, and the things that we’re going to actually do. This album really just isn’t for the ladies. It’s for everybody. That’s what you can expect, to expect the unexpected. We’re going to give you an album. We’re going to give you entertainment; we’re giving you what’s been missing in entertainment. That’s why people aren’t really lasting today. They’re not selling any units. We can take it back to the essence and what it needs to be. Omarion: Really, to top it off, being that where we come from and being so young in this industry, the lyrical content on this album is crazy. I’m not just saying this because this is my man, but I was going over the records with a bunch of my friends and Bow Wow is really serious with it. He’s really taking it to another level and people will really be surprised with the concept with what we’re going to do. When Bow Wow says expect the unexpected, that’s real. It’s the Best of Both Worlds without Hov and R. Kelly. This is Bow Wow & Omarion. I can’t wait. We are really putting a lot of hard work into this and we have something to prove. Bow Wow: It’s surprising for both of us. Like the other day, when O got into the booth, I told him how good he sounds. I mean, my mans been vocally trained, he’s been doing it all. He’s been hitting the studio at two A.M. leaving at six A.M. It’s going to be a surprise to everybody because what they’re expecting to get is not what they’re going to get. It’s like if somebody brings you the blue crayon and it’s green; you’re just not going to expect it and it’s going to hit you right over the head. It’s going to be crazy. AHHA: I think that what the thing is about your two careers is that you’ve both started out very young in this industry. You kind of gradually prepared your fans like you didn’t go from sounding popish to really grownish. You’ve made that change very gradually. Whatever you talk about on this album isn’t really a shock because you’ve grown into your music. Do you feel the same way?Bow Wow: Nah, it’s definitely going to be some shock value, but that’s what we want. It’s time to walk on that edge. People always view us as these clean-cut guys, but they really don’t know who Bow Wow and Omarion is. They don’t know who Shad Moss is or Omari Grandberry is. They don’t know that, but with this album they’ll know that. Full fledge, we’re not sugar coating it. This is Bow Wow raw and uncut. This is Omarion raw and uncut. This is what they’ve been waiting on but we weren’t able because we are young. That’s that advantage that we have. There is always room for improvement. Omarion: Right.AHHA: It wouldn’t be right to do this without a little bit of gossip. Bow Wow, you’ve been linked to a couple of girls, which one is the real one that’s on your arm?Omarion: Bow Weezie! Bow Wow: Me and the media nowadays? I don’t know! [laughs] I’m just having fun right now. If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now, I’d be in college bored out of my mind right now sharing a dorm room with somebody. I’m just being me, I’ve got friends. AHHA: Omarion, are you standing under Rihanna’s umbrella, what’s up?Bow Wow: Yeah, I heard it’s raining outside real hard, O what’s happening? [laughs] Omarion: [laughs] Nah man… she’s just a good friend of mines. I’m a little bit different when it comes to the ladies; I’m a one woman man. I’m single right now and just focusing on this album right now.Bow Wow: Who am I hooked up with that you know of that I might not know of?AHHA: Now I know you read our rumors section!Omarion: Man, Bow! You’re doing your thang! Bow Wow: I am just out here having fun! It’s ‘07 man. [laughs] I’m single too. Young, lucky, fly – I’m a handsome young man. I’m just having a good time kicking it. AHHA: When both of you are out on the town, do you ever find yourselves looking at the same girl?Omarion: Actually, it’s funny we are attracted to the same type of women in certain aspects. I’m just going to leave that alone. If she’s choosing, it’s whatever. We’re not going to let the same chick get between us.AHHA: Are there any business prospects, movie deals?Omarion: Business is the first sign. We’ve worked on Let Me Hold You, but we were just bouncing around, and I didn’t realize how creative this man [Bow Wow] was until now. We might get into some other business ventures because we’re friends.