Bow Wow first officially stepped onto the music scene at age 13 with the release of his debut album, “Beware of Dog.” The album went on to become certified double-platinum by the RIAA and signaled the upward trajectory of his career at the time.
“I really was more into the power than the money,” he said. “When you come into the game at an early age, you can’t touch your money anyway. You don’t get it until you’re 18. That’s just state law. All your money is in a trust. You can’t even touch it. Every dime you get, it’s like a judge that oversees everything. Your mom, your dad, they can’t even get into your money.”
He continued, “Then, when you turn 18, they hand it over. That’s when it’s like, ‘Holy sh-t.’ You don’t really see it. You’re just doing all the working and you’re getting all the gifts and the treats from being famous.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, thanks to the California Child Actor’s Bill, or the Coogan Law, parents of minors in the entertainment business are required by law to put 15% of the child’s income in an account that they can’t access until they turn 18.
“The other 85% is intended to be used to pay taxes, fees and commissions the child owes as well as cover any job-related expenses,” the outlet further explained.
Currently, Coogan Accounts are required in California, New York, Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico, according to SAG-AFTRA.
Although it took five years before Bow Wow could spend the money he earned, the rapper said not being able to access it sooner was a gift.
“If I would’ve came in the game at 19 or 18, I probably would’ve tapped out the game. ‘Cause I would’ve been like, ‘This is crazy that I’m seeing this type of paper and I get to touch it as soon as I hit.’ So I was kind of thankful for that,” he said.
Once Bow Wow was an adult and able to handle his finances and business independently, he credited Jay-Z and Diddy for leading the way.
As previously reported by AfroTech, he has been outspoken about how their journeys have shaped his.
“For me, JAY-Z and Puff as rappers in Hip-Hop were the first to do the business thing,” Bow Wow said, according to HipHopDX. “You only need that one person to open up that door. So to me, those two guys are the first, but if you’re talking about from a gangster rapper perspective, Ice-T’s a West Coast legend. He’s a legend, period.”
He continued: “That’s why I never disrespect those who came before me in this business because if it weren’t for them, I would have no guidance, no GPS, no navigation to get to where I’m trying to get to.”