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Bow Wow Recalls Being Hospitalized While Struggling With Lean Addiction

By Michael Feb 16, 2024
Bow Wow. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Bow Wow reflected on how getting hospitalized in 2007 helped him combat his addiction to lean.

“I was sipping so much syrup. I was drinking that s–t like crazy,” the rapper, 36, said during a Monday, February 12, interview with The Art of the Dialogue. “If you go back and watch The Road to Platinum documentary series on BET, you’ll see so many white styrofoam cups and Hawaiian punch bottles. I was losing my f–king mind. That lean s–t had me f–ked up. I was just always irritated.”

Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Gregory Moss, recalled constantly using lean while he was collaborating with Omarion on their album Face Off. Lean, also known as sizzurp, is a combination of promethazine and codeine-based cough syrup that is typically mixed with soft drinks.

The musician revealed he didn’t realize he had picked up a dependency on the drug-infused beverage since he doesn’t have an “addictive” personality. When Bow Wow performed his first show on a joint tour with Chris Brown, he ended up in the hospital.

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“Opening night was in Cincinnati. And when I got off stage, I collapsed. I went straight to Cincinnati University Hospital,” Bow Wow recalled, noting he was 18 or 19 years old. “My stomach was so f–ked up that I ended up going back home to Atlanta after the first show.”

Bow Wow had to pull out of the tour to focus on his recovery. Once he made it home, the rapper confessed he started to feel worse as he was “throwing up,” “shivering” and “sweating.” He was so concerned about his symptoms that he went to the hospital again, bundled up in the middle of the summer.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

“I pull up to the hospital with two hoodies on and sweats. [Do] you know how hot it gets in Atlanta? Hot as a mother f–ker, hot as s-t and I’m f–king freezing,” he said. “I didn’t know I was having withdrawals. That’s how much lean I was consuming.”

Bow Wow compared the pain he had in his stomach to the equivalent of being stabbed with a knife. After learning he was going through withdrawals, Bow Wow decided to get clean with the help of his late publicist, Pattie Webster. Webster, who died in September 2013 at age 49, released a statement that Bow Wow had been suffering from dehydration.

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Looking back on it now, Bow Wow shared that weaning off the substance was “the worst s–t” he had ever gone through. The experience made him realize he needed to stay away from hard drugs and encouraged others to do the same.

“Kick that s–t! Be a good son or daughter. Be the best you,” he wrote via X in 2018 after being affected by the death of rapper Mac Miller. “Ima start being more vocal. We gotta save the youth from going out early. Parents watch your kids. Explain to them. We want y’all to live man. I almost died f–k with syrup.”

By Michael

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