Bow Wow—formerly Lil Bow Wow—has announced his retirement from rap at the age of 29 because he just “can’t see [himself] at 30 years old rapping.” All anyone can seem to say in response is, “retirement from what?” But as the actor-rapper-TV host, who started his career at age six and became Snoop Dogg’s protege, reminded his Twitter fans on Sunday, his accomplishments include: a White House invite, 10 million albums sold and over $20 million dollars in total earnings. Apparently he just wrapped an Australian tour, and will release one more album before he drops the mic for good.
"I always said years ago i'd retire from music before 30. I just cant see myself at 30 years old rapping" pic.twitter.com/U7Fs4R6WMf
— Bow Wow (@smoss) August 7, 2016
His official retirement got us wondering what ever happened to all the other Lils of the the ’90s and ’00s: Lil Mama, Lil Wayne and pretty much anyone who joined the rap game as a child was given this prefix. Some, like Bow Wow, have since dropped it for the sake of accuracy, and some soldier on in the name of loyalty. Regardless, here’s what they’re up to now:
Apparently, he’s now known as Maserati Rome, which is highly extra, so we’re gonna stick to Lil Romeo. The last time we saw/heard about Lil Romeo was in 2001—arguably his peak (he was only 12)—when he made a cameo appearance in Max Keeble’s Big Move, and released his hit, My Baby. Now, he self-identifies as a rapper-actor-basketball player-entrepreneur-model (OMG). In 2010, he started a clothing line called “College Boyys,” and in 2011, he was on Dancing with the Stars. In short, this guy is everywhere and nowhere all at once.
Kimberly Denise Jones got a chance to freestyle for Biggie Smalls, and he chose her for his group Junior M.A.F.I.A. From there, her career skyrocketed. She’s the only female rapper besides Missy Elliot to have at least three platinum albums (#slay). Now, she’s focusing a lot of her time on philanthropy: the M.A.C AIDS Fund, the Rock the Vote campaign and the LGBTQ community are just some of the groups she supports.
We’re quite sure no one needs reminding of who Lil Mama is, but if you do, please direct your attention to her many hits from 2006 to 2008, including Lip Gloss, G-Slide (Tour Bus), Shawty Get Loose and What It Is (Strike a Pose). After that, it was a whole slew of features and guest performances until the rando 2015 release of a song called Sausage (according to FLARE assistant art director, Michael Li Preti, the song of Summer 2015). Based on her Instagram, she now spends her time taking selfies and posting the occasional pic with Drake (i.e. the dream feed?).
AKA Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., AKA Lil Tunechi, AKA Shrimp Daddy… we could go on forever. Signed to Cash Money Records at the ripe age of nine, Lil Wayne has been making music for what feels like 8,000 years: he’s released 11 studio albums and 20 mixtapes. Unfortunately, he’s also been arrested many times, so he’s legally barred from entering Canada. You’ll have to go south if you ever want to see him live. Since he is widely recognized as one of the greatest rappers ever (even by Obama), it’s def worth the trip.
Try and read the name “Lil Jon” without hearing his aggressive introductory scream. You can’t, can you? You probably know him best from a song that is played every.single.time you step foot in a club—Turn Down For What. That was just released in 2014, if that gives you any indication of where his career is at right now. He’s still creating new music! Yayyyy…??