It just wouldn’t be an official Tech N9ne Collabos album without the presence of the Kansas City Chief, Kutt Calhoun.
The always controversial and outspoken MC stands front and center on Welcome To Strangeland, as he joins the rest of the Strange Music roster for this fantasy like journey into the abyss of Tech N9ne’s imagination. Kutt Calhoun has earned his rightful place at “God status” with Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko, and now he looks to cement the idea with an improved flow and a hungrier outlook. We spoke with Kutt Calhoun to get some insight on his contributions to Welcome To Strangeland and dig deeper into the state of mind that shaped each song. With full confidence and swagger, Kutt Calhoun insists that fans are about to see a different side of him.
What can you tell us about Welcome To Strangeland?
I think this Strangeland album is gonna be gratifying to the fans because they always want to hear some good music, and once again, this Welcome To Strangeland Collabos is full of a lot of good music man. You got some good heartfelt songs on there. You got your good ole 816 Boys song on there. You got some bangers, I think Tech flew home to shoot a couple of singles or whatever, “Beautiful Music” and “Who Can I Catch”. What mostly that I think people said about this album is how it all ties into each other. Each song leads into the next song, it’s all a theme. It’s like a trail. Welcome To Strangeland is this planet and it’s a trail, and everywhere along the trail Tech is running into Krizz Kaliko, Ces Cru, myself, Jay Rock, Mayday, Brotha Lynch Hung, and Young Bleed. It’s like it’s telling a little story about Strangeland in itself, once you get from the beginning to the end. I think people are going to be real ecstatic about this.
Is there a certain amount of pride that went into making this? For example, you’re among elite MCs that are on your team. Did that play into it?
I think that you can call it pride, but I view everything that I do with Strange Music and outside of it, I pride myself to giving 100% on everything I do. I think everybody else agrees, they do the same thing. It’s not a matter of going into it like, “Okay, this is our project so we gotta go in.” I think it’s already known because we do that with everything that we do. With that being said, we went into this handling it the way we handle everything we put our hands on anyway. That’s almost without being said, unspoken truth.
How many songs are you on?
I’m on five songs. The song called “Gods”, “EMJ”, “Bang Out”, which is a banger and should have been a single man, I’m on “Kocky”, and I’m also on a song called “Slave”. “Slave”, that song sticks out the most, it’s probably the best song on the whole damn Welcome To Strangeland. It’s like a old slave negro spiritual feel man, with Krizz lacing the hook the way he did and sang it. Everybody’s verse, we’re all singing on each verse man. Just everybody’s opinion on how hard they been working as a slave and what they been doing. The determination to keep on going. They’re working hard, all this blood, sweat, and tears man, trials and tribulations that you been going through, obstacles that’s been in your way, and still, to overcome and prevail over those man, it’s like you been working hard all these years as a slave. That song is so heartfelt, it’s my favorite song on the album. Don’t get me wrong, the whole album is dope, but that song has a sentimental value to it, over every other song on there in my opinion. So, “Slave”, when people hear that, I think they’re going to be wooed. Not only is the song cold, but everybody singing. Kaliko starts it off, then I come in singing, and Tech ends up singing. It’s a dope song.
Tell me about the concept of “Gods”. How do you feel about the whole “God status” thing?
At first I remember when said he wanted me to be on “Gods”, I was like, “What is that about? Are we calling ourselves God like in the spiritual sense? Like the Almighty?” He’s like, “No.” At first I was like, “I’m not going to be on that.” Once you start thinking you’re more than human, that’s too far, that’s like blasphemy. He’s like, “Nah, musical gods. Like in this industry, our style, our status, our talents and skills are on a godly level because of what we do.” I was like, “Yeah, I’m with that man.” So, “Gods”, from a musical standpoint, it’s a dope song. It was meant for me, Tech, and Kaliko to be on that song. Myself, Kaliko, and Tech have risen Strange Music to this pinnacle that it’s at right now , and it’s only going to keep getting bigger. To be on a song called “Gods”, talking about this music and what we’re doing, I was all for it, I feel the same way. We’re in a position to where we’re basically looking down on everyone. Number one independent rap label and we haven’t even broken to the mainstream, with being on the MTVs and BETs, like these other people have been for years. Those are the same people who commend us and come to our shows and watch our shows and still be in awe. These are the people that we been seeing on TV for years and they look at us that way. They want to know how they can do what we’re doing as far as the touring, the stage performances, the merch, and how they could step their game up. For there to be stars already looking at us, people who have been on TV, people that the world know, look at us and want to emulate the same thing – being on an underground level, that does make us musical gods. It’s great. It fits. It just fits for us to do that song “Gods”.
I know there’s also a song on there called “EMJ”. Everybody had eight bars right? How was that?
I felt like eight bars wasn’t enough, I had so much more to say. Given eight bars, I had to just do that. King and Jay Rock of course had sixteen bars you know, that’s their family . The eight bars that I did have, I was thinking about what to talk about and what could I cram in here in these eight bars? I was just like, you know what, I’m going to let the truth and the beat talk to me. Yeah, I could have talked about what exactly happened that night, but that was the obvious. I wanted to come from a different point of view. EMJ don’t want us out here mourning him no more. He’s in a better place, he wants us to keep doing our thing. If he was here, he would definitely be doing it with us. He’s in our hearts and in our spirits. I was like, I had to write something along those lines. I was like,
“Yo EMJ where you been? I know you looking down on me like, Here I am Kutty
and I ain’t wantin for nuthin homie, don’t mourn or do nuthin for me
your love is enough to store it this glory or once you pour me a drink
we can cheer a toast giving thanks to why
you didn’t lose a partner, you gained a gangster for life
in your heart I exist, but through music I’m able to live
I see the way you floss me all in your wrist, cuz that’s what’s up mayne”
When I say, “I see the way you floss me all in your wrist”, everybody has a wrist bracelet that says EMJ Forever that this fan gave to us in St. Louis, god bless her heart. I wear this thing faithfully everyday and so does everybody else that has one. My verse was more or less saying I miss EMJ and him talking back to me like, “Man don’t worry about it. I am ok, just pour out some liquor for me and I exist in your heart. Keep doing your music, that’s how live. That’s how I get my joy, keep doing your thing.”
Is there another song that sticks out in your mind?
Another one I’m on is “Bang Out”. It’s an 816 Boys song, myself, Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, and Makzilla. It’s a dope song, it’s very club savvy. It’s very modern day savvy, you know. Simple hook and of course we on there doing our thing. Rapping like a motherfucker on there. I kind of changed up my pattern on this one. I had a more subtle approach, more metaphoric, more punch-liney on this one. Just to show the diversity once again. Everybody knows we can rap fast and with the tongue twisting words and real intricate lyrics and I just wanted to just let them know, that ain’t the only thing I can do. I can dumb it down a little bit too and still have swag on there. Still make a statement, make a point with being witty and having metaphors and punch lines. That’s just one of them songs man, if you put it on at the club it’s going to bang all day. Strip club, regular club, and this definitely could have been a single for Welcome To Strangeland too. You know it’s not over as Tech said, “We ain’t done yet.” So, it could possibly be one, you just never know.
Any last thoughts you’d like to share on Welcome To Strangeland?
Welcome To Strangeland is going to be by far one of the best Collabos that’s been done by Strange Music thus far. This is completely different, its nothing like MLK, it’s nothing like Sickology, it’s nothing like Gates Mixed Plate. It has its own lane to pin itself. I think people will be very interested, especially with the way every song ties into each other. You’re going to feel like you’re really in Strangeland. So close your eyes and if you listen from the beginning to the end, you land in Strangeland and along the travels Tech meets with all these artists and a story is being told . I think people are going to get their money’s worth out of this one.
Click here to pre-order Welcome To Strangeland.
–Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music
Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval