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Bow Wow 

With Cherish and Rock. Friday, September 5, at Scene Pavilion.

Despite the preponderance of adult themes, hip-hop has its share of child stars, who don't mind getting a G rating while they're making those G's. But the former Lil' Bow Wow isn't one of them. The 16-year-old MC has been ahead of the game since he was spotted rhyming in Columbus by Snoop Dogg a decade ago; by his sophomore album, Doggy Bag, he was an old pro, who sounded impatient with kid stuff.

His new album, the hopefully titled Unleashed, continues that trend, skillfully but uneasily walking the line between material for the Nickelodeon preteens who loved him in Like Mike and the older crowd he dreams of joining on "Eighteen." You have to wonder how long So So Def's Jermaine Dupri can keep Bow Wow in the lil' pups' doghouse.

Like any good Svengali, however, Dupri has plenty of contingency plans. One of them is Cherish, who'll open for Bow Wow on Friday. The female singing group, which Dupri has dubbed "the next Xscape" (also protégés of his, helpfully enough), is touring behind the single "Miss P" and a forthcoming Warner Brothers album.

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