What if we told you the same guy who helped put together R&B group 112 was also the same guy who played a role in putting together fellow Atlanta quartet Jagged Edge? What if we told you the same guy discovered Justin Bieber’s songwriter, Poo Bear, and that he co-owns Crip-A-Cola with Killer Mike? Well, that “same guy” is this week’s guest on Day 1 Radio and his name is Courtney “Big Bear” Sills. If you want some history, kick your shoes off and listen to this episode.
2:30 – Bear gets into growing up in College Park and coming up as a barber. He went to the same high school as Dallas Austin and came up around other Atlanta music names like Jermaine Dupri, Devyne Stevens and T-Boz from TLC. Seeing his peers get into the music industry inspired him to find a way to get into himself and see where he fit. He also reveals how cutting hair for Boyz II Men and Another Bad Creation allowed him to be a fly on the wall and absorb information.
10:00 – Bear walks us through the chain of events that saw him cutting hair for “a guy named Puffy who just lost his job” at Uptown Records and talking with producers Tim & Bob that led to him putting together the R&B group 112 and getting them signed to a new label called Bad Boy Records…and how that actually stemmed from wanting to build a group around a singer named Richard Wingo who wound up joining Jagged Edge.
16:00 – Bear was there when Bad Boy was getting built. He was there when Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear” blew up and when Biggie was becoming a star. He talks about what it was like being from Atlanta with an Atlanta group, moving around in New York City trying to make a name for themselves. You’ve got to hear him tell the story about their experience at the “One More Chance” remix video shoot.
21:40 – In addition to being nice with his hands as a barber and martial artist, Bear also has a mean pen game. He actually wrote the hook to a lot of people’s favorite 112 song, “Cupid.” Listen as he tells the story of how that happened.
26:30 – After launching 112, Bear found himself playing a role in putting together Jagged Edge around the same time. He talks about watching both groups rehearsing together before they even had the group names. He jokes about how after Jermaine Dupri signed JE their first music video looked almost identical to 112’s. He talks about the differences between working with the two groups. He was also eventually asked to road manage JE as they went on tour with who he refers to as “this girl group called Destiny’s Child.” You can look up an episode of “Unsung” to see how that turned out.
31:00 – Bear talks about how even though he worked with R&B groups, it wasn’t always sweet, especially since they were signed to rap record labels. Especially in the case of 112 who found themselves being bystanders in the Bad Boy vs Death Row beef in the mid-90s. He gets into how he had to learn how to move around in different cities because of that ever since.
37:40 – Bear had a relationship with Nipsey Hussle and often served as his look out when he came to Atlanta. He talks about the harsh reality of having to understand why someone like Nipsey could be taken out in his own hood and how that unfortunate event isn’t all that rare.
45:00 – Bear has co-founded a new label named No Face No Case and aims to build and develop songwriters, producers and artists. He talks about how he hopes to bring development back to a game where instant stardom is the norm.
49:30 – Bear wrote a poem for his wife and that poem wound up becoming a song on Justin Bieber’s new album called “I Know What Love Is.” He also talks about how he discovered Bieber’s primary songwriter Poo Bear who also happens to be his younger cousin.
54:00 – Bear gives Hip Hop Trivia a shot and argues us to death that he’s right on most of them. We also close the show talking about his co-ownership in Crip-A-Cola that was made famous on Killer Mike’s Netflix show “Trigger Warning.”
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