Bear1Boss Is Culture Incarnate in 'SUPER BOSS!'

Hip-hop and the culture surrounding it are changing faster and more dramatically than they ever have before, and few places contribute to this perpetual evolution like Atlanta. At its nucleus lies Bear1Boss, an artist armed with a deep reverence for those that preceded him, and an equally prevalent affinity for iconoclasm and boundary-pushing. Bear1Boss isn’t just moving Atlanta’s sonic landscape forward, however, he’s been woven into it after years of co-signs, guest features, and countless colorful mixtapes. Whether trading verses with the Popstar FM crew or collaborating with UnoTheActivist and DJ Maino for an entire project, Bear1Boss’s consistency is only second to his refreshing originality and one-of-a-kind sound.

To celebrate the release of his newest project SUPER BOSS!, Ones To Watch and Bear1Boss connected for a conversation discussing his music, the universe, and everything in between.

OnesToWatch: What separates an album like SUPER BOSS! from GlacierGuru or Lil hotsauce? How are they related or different in your mind?

Bear1Boss: They’re all my moods. I’m not big on astrology, but I know that it’s real, so I know with different times and months, we’re in different equinoxes. Consciousness is moving all the time, so I always wanna keep my fanbase and myself updated on what I’m capable of doing with the audio and music. It’s more so just me staying updated on my talent at all times, so I can showcase every month what’s going on, or what could be going on with my sound. With GlacierGuru and SUPER BOSS!, they correlate because they were both made during happy times—over the last 4 months of me dropping music, it’s been like a new, refreshed life so I get to express that in my music. The weather also plays into the sound of each project— springtime is hot music vs. cold, lit music in the winter. GlacierGuru is like cold winter, hibernation music, but SUPER BOSS! is really like me popping out—it’s getting warmer out, more colors. I have a steady evolution across all of my projects!

Your music often features sounds from games like Mario and Pokémon. If you could live inside a video game, where would you live and why?

I would live in a world with Sonic where all the loops are at, and I’d have the shoes he has and run fast and go through all of the obstacles just for fun. Lose coins, gain coins. You know, that type of lifestyle.

You’ve famously appeared on tracks alongside Tony Shhnow, Key!, UnoTheActivist, and more. Is there a guest verse that you’ve done that stands out to you? Which one is it and why?

I got some crazy verses on KEY! songs, but I got crazy hooks on Tony Shhnow’s records. It’s crazy. I got crazy verses on me and KEY!’s records, and then when it comes to me and Tony, I let him do the rapping and I do the catchy hook part. All my collaborations are great times! The type of collaboration depends on the artist I’m working with, their skillset and what they’re good at. Me, I’m an all-around player, so I can play every position; I just gotta know where I need to play when I’m collaborating with other artists and I’ll do what fits best.

Recently. it was discovered that you and Playboi Carti met each other while being arrested. What was going through your mind? Have you had any other bizarre run-ins with artists before that fans might not expect?

I’ve already run into every major artist that everybody loves. I’ve touched everybody’s hands. That’s one of my biggest accomplishments—every great from Drake to Uzi to Future to Wayne, Trippie Redd, 2 Chainz, Chief Keef—I’ve shaken all their hands and introduced myself to every one of them. They all know that I exist, and that’s another accomplishment within itself. They don’t know how much of a fan I am of theirs, they just know me as an artist myself. They don’t know how much they may inspire me, they just know Bear makes great music and has green hair. Me and Carti were already supposed to link, two years before that chance encounter, like before Opium. So when I met him there, I was kind of embarrassed ‘cause I didn’t want jail to be where we met for the first time. But it was like a blessing in disguise. Carti’s team are my friends and they’ve seen me come up. I’m everybody’s little brother, but when he started blowing up, we all got to see it firsthand and I’ve just been here doing my own thing and my little SoundCloud rap.

How do you feel like fashion intersects with your music and artistry? Do you feel that expressing yourself through fashion is important? If you could only bring one item of clothing to a deserted island, what would you bring and why?

For sure. I wear a uniform just to express myself. I treat this as work, so I gotta look like the part. I would probably bring a cloth, like one of those long robes, and it would be all white so I wouldn’t be sweating too much. I’d probably have like, a pair of Jesus sandals, some socks (probably Gucci), I’d have an all-gold Rolex Skydweller on, Ray-Bans on my face (the dark classic Prom Queen ones) or the Chrome Hearts ones that Lil Wayne had on in the “Prom Queen” video. And I’d have a Cullinan and a camel with me for transportation.

If Jesus’ body and blood is bread and wine, what would yours be?

The same!

Your most recent project SUPER BOSS features artists like SoFaygo and JELEEL! If you had to box one of them 1-on-1, which one would you choose and why?

I’d choose JELEEL because I like a challenge. He’s big as shit!

What advice would you give to older rappers struggling to innovate and stay relevant?

You gotta be optimistic! You have to stay in the headspace and state of mind of a rookie. You gotta learn. Even though you completed stages, you could always put yourself in the state of mind of a stage that you already completed so that you can perceive the game as what it is now. That way, you’d be more open to working with the new wave, and not stuck on what you know works ‘cause you got a Grammy or all the cars off of it. The sound is always being innovated, so you always have to be optimistic and go with the flow—not just always having the same flow or sound. You should be able to be new for eternity, and not be cocky ‘cause you know of something that’s worked for you in the past and stuck with it. The same isn’t always gonna work. Aeropostale was cool at one point in time, you remember? Things just stop sometimes and we don’t know why. It’s just the universe.

What do you have coming up that fans can look forward to?

I’m going on another singles run soon, but this time I might go on another album run too. I might do both at the same time this year, just because I have so much to offer. I get so depressed when I don’t get to do what I love, which is sharing and performing the music. That’s what I love. I like making the music, but I love to share the music. I’m so full of myself and overconfident when it comes to the talent. I know that I’m gonna make a great song, but I don’t know if everyone will like it as much as I like it. If I can get a million people to hear it, I’m confident that 800,000 of them will like it. It’s all about getting as many people as possible to get on board—that’s why sharing it with people is so big to me and my process. I’m never worried about certain songs overshadowing others—that’s why I be scared of the labels too. I’m doing something new that’s never been done before. If they have the plaques and millions of dollars, they’re gonna suggest that I do something that ain’t me or try to get me to conform to what they think will sell. Part of my artistry is dropping so consistently and going on these mini-runs— that’s my thing. Just be ready for the run, ‘cause can’t nobody stop it. Once it’s started, you just gotta sit there and watch it!

Who are your OnesTo Watch?

Glorygirl2950, and the whole Hot Sauce Records team! I love Spook. We grew up together and went to school together, so it just means a little more to see her doing her thing. I don’t know, I like everybody coming out. I think there's gonna be some new runs from older artists or legends like Peewee Longway and Skooly. I’m kinda getting out of the new underground wave. I wanna hear some new music from the OG’s – I’m ready for that era to come. I wanna hear some new Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Johnny Cinco. I wanna hear new shit from the artists that we know. I wanna hear what they got in store ‘cause I know they never stop recording. Even with Future and Metro, I’m excited to hear their new shit! Future helped innovate my sound and open my mind to new cadences; he deserves more credit. I’m not really looking for new artists right now. I like Lazer Dim and Baby Kia of course, but I wanna hear that new shit from the OG’s. Where’s that MoneyMan and that Peewee Longway?

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