*With a past filled with “some exhilarating highs” and “some devastating lows,” Courtney Richardson II’s present and future could be the definition of elevation. Yes, those lows include the deaths of loved ones and friends as well as time served behind bars.
And yes, those highs include a stint as a rapper before and during his days as a No Limit Soldier under Master P’s iconic No Limit Records, in addition to co-writing, producing, scoring and starring in his own movie (“Young American Gangstas”) and finding solo success with various business ventures.
Shifting to current times, Richardson (aka Big Court) has elevated to a different realm with “Holdin’ Court Podcast,” a program offering real talk on pop culture and current topics from notable figures and entertainers who also provide an unedited look at their own personal journey.
According to Big Court, “Holdin’ Court Podcast” is the brainchild of him and his co-producer, Ken Schoech (aka Producer Ken). The pair’s mutual love of gangster rap from the ‘90s and early 2000’s planted a seed that grew into thoughts of spreading that love to the masses on wider scale.
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Despite having “Holdin’ Court Podcast” in their heads for a while, it wasn’t until Big Court got a taste of the talk radio format about five years ago with co-hosting Playboy Radio’s “Doin’ the Most” that the idea gained traction.
The former rhymesayer’s presence on the show made a noticeable impression on fellow co-host Master P and No Limit affiliate J. Tweezy, who both encouraged Big Court to create a podcast.
“That’s where I kind of discovered that I had somewhat of a skill set and a talent to do it,” Big Court shared with EURweb. “So some years passed and during the quarantine is when I really started for sure looking at a lot of podcasts. Of course, I’m looking at ‘Gangster Chronicles’ and ‘Drink Champs’ and things like that.”
Moving forward to create “Holdin’ Court Podcast,” Big Court’s vision for the platform took shape in the same vein as his evolution, i.e. a “journey” full of ups and downs.
“I wanted to create a platform where it’s really about documenting people’s journey, people at the top of their game, whatever it is, whether they’re current legends or whatever the case may be,” the Master P protege explained while revealing another purpose behind “Holding Court Podcast.” “It’s all about documenting the journey, to talk about their highs, their lows. I’ve always been inspired by stories of overcoming life [struggles]. I also want to give these people their flowers. I want to normalize congratulating people and appreciating people.”
It’s easy to honor people when they are no longer with us. However, Big Court feels the gesture should carry over in to the here and now with said honoree present for the congratulations, appreciation and love shown.
“A lot of times, just people in general, they don’t do that, the Kansas City, MO native stated, adding that full appreciation doesn’t come until people have passed away. “I think that, I don’t know, regret seems to be a stronger emotion than gratitude, you know what I mean? When people die, everybody wants to say they were the greatest and all of that. I’m like, ‘No, they’re still here. Let’s get them to tell their story, but tell them we appreciate what they contribute to the culture.’ So that’s really what the motivation was for ‘Holdin’ Court Podcast.'”
Since its debut a year ago, “Holdin’ Court Podcast” has featured a notable roster of guests: actors Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite,” “Why Did I Get Married,” “Spawn,” “Why Did I Get Married Too”) and Jazsmin Lewis (“Barbershop” film series, “Traci Townsend”); comedians InDi ReMy and Gary “G Thang” Johnson; rap legend and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” star Ice-T; Rap-A-Lot Records CEO J. Prince: Onyx members Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony groupmates Bizzy Bone and Flesh- N-Bone; West Coast rap fixture Tech N9ne; revered turntablist / producer DJ Battlecat and Master P.
White’s appearance on “Holdin’ Court Podcast” proved memorable in more ways than one.
Big Court may have carried himself like a seasoned interviewer, but to hear him tell it, his skills were anything but that with his first guest.
“My very first guest was actor Michael Jai White, who was also a friend of mine. And looking at that episode, I could totally tell that I was just trying to feel my way through it, you know, revealed Big Court, who credits programs with “documentary-style content” like “Unsung,” as well as “The Arsenio Hall Show” as inspirations for “Holdin’ Court Podcast” and his conversational flow.
Although the blueprint for his interview style was there, Big Court admits getting his “rhythm” down to naturally shift from topic to topic was a challenge. Ultimately, the rhythm came, as did the film and TV producer’s confidence, which grew after interviewing White.
Big Court’s ability to connect with interviewees and listeners did not go unnoticed while co-hosting “Doin’ the Most.” Not only was it seen by Master P, but Big Court received an unexpected co-sign after his interview with rapper X-Raided, a moment that confirmed he was “doing the right thing” with “Holdin’ Court Podcast.”
“It was one moment that I knew that I was doing the right thing. It was when I got X-Raided from Sacramento, who’s also a friend of mine,” Big Court recalled. “He just came home from prison on a gang-related murder. He did like 27 years and his business partner was with him in the studio when we did it [the “Holdin’ Court Podcast” interview]. He [X-Raided’s business partner] was an older white gentleman, who had an English accent. Our segment was like three hours long.
“And I remember, he [the business partner] kind of said, as we were walking out, he said, ‘Hey, I want to tell you. You’re really good at this,’ continued Big Court. “He said I was really engaged and he said, ‘You have a skill set of making people feel comfortable and you ask the right questions and you let them speak.’ And he was like, ‘Man, you’re really good at this. You’re going to do well.’”
Considering the business partner was an “older gentleman” who “wasn’t even from our world, so to speak,” the comments looked to be a sign of how bright the new path would be for Big Court, whose conversational style registered with listeners.
“Holdin’ Court Podcast” currently boasts an average of 40,000 to 50,000 downloads a month and 40,000 subscribers. In the coming months, the podcast will move beyond entertainers to give flowers to noteworthy folks in non-entertainment-related realms, all with the goal of making appreciation before death a normal, universal thing. For Big Court, the expansion is something he has fully embraced.
“Initially, it was really kind of rooted in gangster rap slash entertainment. I’ve already had actors like Michael Jai White. I’ve had J. Prince, who is a music mogul. Of course, Master P. Actually, I have El DeBarge coming through [in an upcoming podcast],” the No Limit Forever executive, who has Magic Johnson, Mike Tyson and former President Barack Obama on his interview wishlist, said. “It’s still in entertainment. Again for me, it’s about the story. It’s about the journey. So I’m open to whoever has an incredible story. Because that’s what it’s about. It ain’t even really necessarily about the name or the recognition of a person or the notoriety of the person before. It’s just how intriguing, the story. So, yes, I definitely want broaden my guest list.”
Up next for Big Court is his book “Chronicles of a No Limit Soldier,” which is slated for release in the fall, as well as “12,” an upcoming television show the “TMZ Hip Hop” guest host described as a mix of “Training Day,” “Lethal Weapon” and “Pulp Fiction.”
“Holdin’ Court Podcast” can be found on all streaming platforms, where you can like and subscribe to the podcast, including Google Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Podcasts.
Below is Ice-T’s appearance on the “Holdin’ Court Podcast.”