Bow Wow, ‘Allegiance': Rapper Speaks on Movie Role, ‘106 and Park’ & Forthcoming Album
"I'm the Black Ryan Seacrest!" laughs rapper-turned-actor Bow Wow, as he discusses his latest movie "Allegiance" and new role as a host for the BET show "106 and Park."
For a performer and artist who has been in the spotlight since he was 13 years old, the Ohio native has a wealth of experience both on the silver screen and onstage. After his unforgettable appearance in Like Mike, Bow Wow is back with Allegiance, a far more serious, dramatic film about the tensions between family ties and patriotism.
"This film has been more challenging because the role is darker. Usually my movies are light and funny, you can laugh to them," he tells The BoomBox. "This one is not so much laughing -- it's straight acting. A man's movie is the best way to sum this one up. It was definitely the most challenging and I needed that."
Allegiance centers around the dilemma of one soldier who is supposed to deploy with his unit, but chooses to go AWOL to stay stateside with his terminally ill son. The struggle was something that really hit home for the 25-year-old.
"The movie does look at the AWOL situation, which is something that you cannot do, you can get jail time for it. To your fellow soldiers, and everyone else in the military, it shows you are lacking a level of loyalty. If you go AWOL, to them it's like abandonment. In my character's shoes, he felt like it was right to go AWOL because his son has cancer, because it's his blood and his only son," Bow Wow says.
Watch Bow Wow in an Exclusvie Clip From His Upcoming Film Allegiance
Alongside his latest film, Bow Wow has been busy at BET as he takes over hosting duties on the ever-popular "106 & Park." As a musician, he is very familiar with the show and has garnered the most fan-voted #1 singles and appearances on the show since its inception, so his transition into hosting was logical.
"It's a big responsibility for a 25-year-old to be dealing with a multi-billion dollar company. It's a challenge outside of what I do," he explains. "Carrying a whole network, carrying a show, these are things that I'm not used to but I'm definitely getting used to it. I love it and I can't wait to see where we will take this thing in 2013."
Despite his current emphasis on film and television, the Young Money rapper is not giving up on his music career. The tracklisting for his forthcoming album was teased last year, but has been pushed back indefinitely.
"I revamped like the whole entire project, I don't even have a date for my album. I'm concerned about it, but honestly my focus right now is on BET and taking over '106 & Park.' I'm kind of enjoying this time away from the mic honestly because its making me more hungry again.
"Whenever I'm ready, but I still have lots of unreleased records that haven't been heard before. I'm still working, still recording, still making new material. I'm going to put out a mixtape before I even put out an album, probably around my birthday in March," he says.
Bow Wow promises there will be plenty of collaborating on the new record.
"As far as the album's concerned, I work with everybody from Wiz Khalifa to Lil Wayne, to Meek Mill -- Rick Ross' new artist who's definitely on fire right now. I've worked with so many people throughout this process. I'm definitely looking forward to putting out at least one new record top of the year."
As one of the more recent additions to Lil Wayne's Young Money label imprint, Bow Wow says he appreciates the closeness of the music collective.
"It's a big, family-oriented type of group. We work hard from myself, to Wayne, to everybody else, we work hard. And that's what we're all about. Being number one at whatever it is that we do, take over the world and please our fans."
With his parting words, the brand new BET host is back to promoting his show, which will be his main focus for the new year.
"It's going to be wild, I can't wait. Continue to watch 106 and Park every day 6 to 8 pm don't leave that out!"
Allegiance will also be premiering today (Jan. 4) in Los Angeles movie theaters.
Watch Bow Wow's "Bow Wow (That's My Name)" Video