Cover Story | Longevity is an attribute most artists never achieve in the music business. Every year there is another crop of musicians that won’t make it to see a sophomore album come to fruition. It’s the nature of the creative space. Entertainers enter as quickly as they exit, and their contribution(s) are often taken for granted. However, there are some artists that are able to stay relevant through the constant changes in popular culture.
It has been easy to make fun of Shad Moss a.k.a. Lil Bow Wow. He has been in the public eye since his appearance on Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle” album as well as the Arsenio Hall Show in 1993. His endeavors in entertainment have occasionally been overshadowed by his antics and relationships over the years, but Moss is an accomplished musician with several RIAA certified gold/platinum/multi-platinum albums. He has also starred in successful movies such as “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006), and “Like Mike) (2002) as well as host BET’s 106th and Park from 2012-2014. As much as we like to clown him, Moss has been a staple in the culture for years, and his latest Verzuz with Soulja Boy on June 26th showed that he is still entertaining 28 years later!
With a career spanning over 35 years, Will (born Willard) Smith, has excelled in every aspect of his career. Beginning in the mid 1980’s with childhood friend Jeffery “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes the duo quickly made a name for themselves in their hometown of Philadelphia, PA and mainstream Hip-Hop. Their first single “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” debuted in late 1986 and began gaining notoriety just months before his high school graduation. Smith went on to release several gold and platinum artists with his DJ partner as well as with his solo projects. He has starred in his own hit television show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990 – 1996) as well as produced and/or starred in over 30 movies. He continues to be relevant today with “Bad Boys for Life” grossing over $400 million worldwide in 2020.
There are other artists whose careers have stood the test of time, but not as many as we may think. It is really a testament to artists that have managed to keep the attention of the masses. Both Will Smith and Shad Moss have come a long way. Both started their rap careers as kids and used their popularity to break into other areas of entertainment.