Bow Wow Did The Masked Singer to Silence His Haters: 'Now They Have to Give Me Props'
Frog took third place in the Fox singing competition
This story contains spoilers for Wednesday's season 3 finale of The Masked Singer.
Frog hip-hopped to The Masked Singer season 3 finale, in which he was unmasked as rapper and TV personality Bow Wow. And although he finished in third place, Bow Wow beat out 15 other celebrities along the way and rediscovered his love for performing.
"My tour, the Millenium tour, we were kicking it off right after The Masked Singer, so I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to kind of get a little rehearsal in before the tour started, get on the stage and get in front of a crowd," Bow Wow, 33, tells PEOPLE. "I haven’t toured here in the States in a couple of years, so it was the perfect opportunity."
The "Shortie Like Mine" singer, who rescheduled his tour due to coronavirus concerns, reveals that his passion for performing waned as he ventured into television with hosting gigs on 106 and Park and RnB Friday Nights. Bow Wow (born Shad Gregory Moss) appreciated the stability a TV production schedule offered — and the paychecks that came with it.
"Because I've been famous since I was 13, I was like, I wish I could have the money but I wish that I could go and enjoy the things that I've worked hard for," he says. "In the music business, it's like the Wild Wild West. It's all over the place. Once I got with TV hosting, I was like, I can now sell my brand. And I'm like, damn, the money is crazy. I don't have to run around and go to city after city after city [on tour] and miss stuff with my daughter. I don't necessarily have to do music. I get to have a sense of normal in my life for once."
Below, Bow Wow talks re-focusing on music, using The Masked Singer to clap back at haters and whether fans will see a glimpse of Frog's dance moves once he heads out on tour.
Why did you want to do the show?
I wanted to do The Masked Singer because I felt like the perfect opportunity for me to showcase my skills, showcase my talent, and just remind the world that I’m still that dude and pretty much, I can do anything. It also gave me a chance to have freedom. I love to dance. That’s something I don’t do as Bow Wow as much in my performances. So I was able to incorporate some dance and things that I do at home and really just be free. [I got to] do something I love, which is music, but also I had the chance to get back in shape and get back into artist mode, and that’s what I needed.
Will you incorporate choreography into your future shows?
I don’t think so. Maybe in a music video for like a special one-time thing just because I know after being unmasked, it’s going to be even more crazy with the tweeting and the trolling and the, “Oh, you’re the Frog." I’m the Frog forever. I think people are going to run with that, so I know I’m going to have to give them this one more sneak peek at him without the mask and let them see that it’s real and let them know that it’s not a stunt double underneath that [costume] doing everything for me. So eventually I might try to pull it off in a video.
You talked in some clue packages about having haters and being trolled online and you even poked fun at the #BowWowChallenge
. What has it been like dealing the social media criticism?
I mean, I've always been able to, if I do it, then laugh at it. That’s always been my whole thing. I never really fed into what people have to say. It was all about, let’s go in here [to The Masked Singer] with the attitude of, let's make everybody whoever had something crazy to say, now they have to give me props. You made it this far rapping and going up against strong vocalists. What can you say now? There's nothing you can say. For me it was about, let’s shut ‘em up. Let’s shut 'em up and let’s get out here and use all that stuff as fuel and do what we came to.
You also said you wanted to win for your 9-year-old daughter Shai. Did she know you were doing the show?
With my daughter it was tough because she's already a fan of the show. She was going to watch season 3 even if Daddy wasn't on it. One thing about her, she's very loyal and she never told anyone. Grandma and Grandma [were] guessing me. She would just be like, "Believe what you want to believe, Grandma." I was proud of her. She’s really me. I'm Big Bow Wow finally. That's Lil Bow Wow.
Did season 1 winner T-Pain, who you've worked with previously, encourage you to do the show?
I had no conversations with T-Pain whatsoever, although I did get a DM from T-Pain with a frog emoji and I did not respond to it. I think he thought because we're cool off the grid that I would reply back to him but nah, man. I don't want to mess up anything. It was definitely hard. Me and Jordyn Woods are really good friends. It was hard watching her being revealed. It sucks when you hear somebody who you know who you've worked with and you're that close with and you're both in the same city and you can't hang out. It's weird. Once everything is over it's going to be a great time to go back and laugh and talk to everyone.
You did Roll Bounce with host Nick Cannon, too!
Nick knew right off the bat. As I walked on the stage, Nick knew. And there was no hiding at that point.
Do you think you’ll lean back into music now?
Absolutely. With the Millennium tour — me and Omarion's tour — for me to come back years later with no new record and to put 17-18,000 people in these arenas, I can't let them down. Once I saw that I said, there's an avenue there for new music. They came out for the classics but I can't give up now. I can't give up on these people. So I'm looking at dropping two projects before I even consider walking away. When I do get to the point when I want to retire from music, it's not that I'm retired from music, it's just that I don't have to make any new music. I don't have to buckle down for four months and do an album, I can do a verse with somebody or I can always tour. I have a catalog. Performing music, I will never leave it.
How do you look back on those years of early fame?
I look back on things like, damn, I wish I knew what I knew now back then. I think that would be the biggest thing looking back like, dang I wish I took more control of this and I had done that song or things like that. A lot of "I wish" moments. But then again, I'm here, I'm blessed and still doing what I love to do. I wouldn't trade it for nothing.
Last year was a publicly challenging year for you with the arrest and the Wendy Williams flub — how you reflect on those incidents and what have you learned?
Every experience in life you learn from it. For me I've always stood by, I am who I am. Sometimes with the media, they have to make things look like that, and I totally get it. I wouldn't have signed up for this business if I wasn't ready to take that head-on. We all make our mistakes and you learn from them and you get back on track. I've kind of already laid down that foundation in Hollywood and through the business. There's nothing negative anyone can say about me when it comes to work. There's still a sense of trust when it comes to me and people still want to do business with me and I think that once people see The Masked Singer, it's just going to bring a whole new life into it. I've been quiet, and I've been working, and I've just been staying focused and learning from my mistakes, learning from social media, learning from showing people too much. It's all about the work now and having fun.