'I'm Treating It Like My First Album' – Kutt Calhoun Talks 'Black Gold', Inspiration, And More

Feb 20 2013

Kutt Calhoun

With less than a week until Kutt Calhoun’s Black Gold floods the streets with Bloody Kutt’s hard-hitting brand of street rap, we thought it’d be a good idea to talk to Kutt himself and find out what we can about the album before it hits the shelves.

Kutt let us in on some gems behind the making of the album, the meaning of the album’s title, and what it was like to work with Seven on nearly the entire album.

A surprise guest also happened to stop by, who also blessed one of Black Gold’s hottest tracks, a song that goes by the name of “Been Dope”.

What does the title Black Gold mean?

War For OilBlack Gold, it is what it is. It’s a metaphor. All my album titles have always meant something, to me at least. Boiling Liquid Expanding Viscious Explosion, or B.L.E.V.E., some of the hottest shit you can get. Feature Presentation was a metaphor meaning, you know, after you see all the previews of what’s going on, that’s cool but everyone’s there for the Feature Presentation, so I put myself out there in that sense. Then you have Raw and Un-Kutt, like you know, I’m going to give it to you no filter. raw and uncut. Then you got Kelvin. Kelvin is one of the coldest temperatures that you can get, when you get to a certain degrees. So saying you have the coldest shit out or the hottest shit out, it means the same thing.

And here we go with Black Gold. Black Gold, if anybody knows what Black Gold is, it’s oil! What does our country go to war over? You know what I’m saying? And what comes of oil? Gas! It’s the most wanted natural resource out there and fought over. People die over it and that’s nothing to be proud of, but that just goes to show the importance of what I’m saying with what Black Gold is. Once again I’m treating this album, this fourth studio album, as the most important thing out. I’m treating it like it’s my first album and I will continue to do so whether I blow the fuck up out of nowhere or not, I’m still going to treat every album like it’s the new album man. So Black Gold symbolizes that this is one of the hottest, most wanted things out here. Metaphorically, Black Gold just means that.

Over the years you’re one of those artists that always stresses that you’re here to get better with every project. In what ways did you want to try and consciously do that with Black Gold?

I didn’t purposely or blatantly try to get better. I think it just comes with the time that goes by and knowing that, “Okay, this is something new.” I think with it being something new, you know for a fact within yourself you’ve gotta go harder than you did on the previous project. So, it’s nothing that you do on purpose, it’s just automatic, or at least it’s automatic for me, to where it’s like, “Okay, I know what I just did on Kelvin.” Before Kelvin was even out I was starting to record Black Gold and so I couldn’t have a beat and write to it and lay it down and it don’t sound like it’s either on the same level or better than what I got done doing on Kelvin.

I think you automatically put yourself in check like, “Okay, you’ve gotta come hard. You just did this shit so you’ve gotta come just as hard or harder”, and if not you’ve got to scrap the songs. I think it’s one or two songs that I scrapped. One of them I scrapped purposely. I was like, “Nah, this isn’t Black Gold material. This isn’t even Kelvin material.” It was dope, but….nah…pass. The second one that got scrapped was a song called “Swim In It” and it only got scrapped because Tech was unable to do the hook on there or else it would’ve been on the album as well. My verse was done, the beat is hard, but he was supposed to be doing the hook and wasn’t able to do it so it couldn’t make the album because it was too close to deadline and shit had to be sent off for mastering. Every song that I did made the album aside for “Heart To Heart” featuring Krizz Kaliko, which is a dope ass song that a lot of people enjoyed too. But yeah, Seven just brought the heat. He brought the thunder on this.

We had a momentum going. Kelvin, he did everything on Kelvin and I was in my zone so let’s start recording the album, Black Gold. I couldn’t be over in Canada, I couldn’t leave the country, so why not take advantage of the time to keep it going? Plus Seven and I just had such a great chemistry together, I think that made for what Black Gold is which is just a good, solid album. All of them are solid songs. Black Gold just makes for a great album. You won’t get bored with it. You won’t be like, “Ah it’s too long.” Which I don’t think anyone did that with Feature and Raw and Un-Kutt anyways, but I”m like, “You know what? To make a good album, ain’t nobody going to get mad because I don’t give them nineteen or twenty songs.” I think that these 13 plus 1, these 14 tracks, they’re going to speak for themselves.

Are there any ways that you wanted this album to be different than your previous albums?

Yeah, I wanted this album to be in the hands and in the ears of more people than my past albums. This album is more urban because of the beats that I was getting. The beats were more hard-hitting. The beats were more on some “Whip It” type shit and the beats were more on the caliber of shit that’s going on in the current today. It all started with Kelvin, the whole progression of that, and it just rode into Black Gold.

You listen to “Bottle Service”, that don’t sound like nothing that nobody on Strange has done, but it also sounds like some shit that you’re going to turn on your radio and it’s going to come on right after Drake, or Lil Wayne or T.I.. It just sounds like that kind of music and the feel of it sounds like something that you would hear on the radio. We weren’t purposely shooting for that, but we created a lane for myself on the label of Strange and that’s just how it turned out. It is more urban as far as when you hear it you’ll be like “Damn, that sounds like some shit that would be on BET or MTV Sucker Free countdown!” But I don’t make my music for that. Would I like to be on all of that? Hell yeah, but when you purposely try to do something it doesn’t turn out right because it’s not natural. So all this was natural and it just so happens to be a more urban album than the past albums have been.

And you were talking about Seven, what advantages do you find with collaborating with one, talented producer?

He’s doing a lot of shit for everybody on the label’s album, but none of the shit sounds alike which is the great thing.

Working with him one on one, how was that better for you than your past experiences?

It was better for me because that makes for more of a feel for the whole album because you have that chemistry. When Dr. Dre and Snoop made The Chronic or Doggystyle, all the songs were different, but the whole album had one good feel to it. That’s what that was for Black Gold and for Kelvin, it had that one solid feel. It didn’t sound like, “Okay this is dope…whoa where did this song come from? That sounds like some shit that Timbaland did! Now this one sounds like Dr. Dre did that!” It’s one whole feel and the beats still don’t sound the same. Still, all the beats and all the songs have one collective feel for the whole album and that made it better. Seven and I have been wanting to work together one on one to pursue that chemistry since I done “Whip It”, since that was on the Everready second disc. We’ve been wanting to, haven’t gotten the chance, now he lives here and in the same town, and it has just made for a great opportunity. We have great chemistry. We vibe real good and it turned out to be a dope album.

And he told me when he made beats for you, that you guys didn’t have too many discussions per say, but he made what he wanted to hear you over. How did that stand up to what you were looking for?

It was amazing because I’m like this little white dude from Wichita is dope than a motherfucker! That’s what I need though. From an artist’s standpoint, you know what you want to do–

(Tech N9ne walks in out of nowhere)

Tech N9ne

Tech: What’s up? You know what you want to do!

You know I wanted to ask you guys both about this one particular song now that you’re here, “Been Dope”, now did you guys write that–

Tech: Together. Yeah he wrote his first four bars and then I wrote my four bars and he figured out how I was going to end mine. You couldn’t do it that perfect otherwise. Like he said “Ike Turner put his hand to Anna” and then I say “Just eat the cake Anna Mae please.” You can only do that together you know what I mean because it makes those references to the movie Ike and Tina Turner.

When I say “Hella slutty wow!” he’s like “Yeah, that’s the Nina I know from back in them days nigga! We lay bitches…” and we just bounced that shit off of each other, one after the other.

Was that fun to do?

Tech: Yeah! It took two days. We did the first verse, we did the second verse, and then studio time was up so we came back the second day and I had already wrote my ending parts and he hadn’t wrote his so I was like “This is what I said” so it fit perfectly. And the video is a motherfucker boy!

Kutt: I ain’t got to see none of it yet.

Tech: Me neither, I was in it nigga! (Laughs) Yeah! (Phone rings, the Halloween theme song) Shit! I gotta go! I’ll talk to y’all later. I’m going to the studio.

(Tech N9ne exits)

So you were talking about this dope ass producer from Wichita.

Yeah and as an artist, you know what you want to be doing, you feel like you fit in this particular part of music but there’s only so much you can relay. I don’t make beats. I can have shit in my head like “I want it to be like” (hums bassline), but you know what I’m saying? It makes it even easier when you have a producer who can collectively read your mind and be like “I can hear you on something like this.”

SevenNow he wasn’t telling me to rap a certain way, he wasn’t saying “You need to sound like this” or anything, he sent me what he felt like I should have been doing and what he hears me doing, and it just so happens to turn out that we were eye to eye with each other on it. He sent me some beats that already had hooks on them. Not in the beat, well “There He Go” did, but he’d send me recordings along with the beat just so that I could hear where he’s at or what the hook would sound like. I’m like “Man that’s perfect! I don’t have to change a word in this. All I’ve gotta do is put my part on there or just re-say it.” He’s dope. Just to let you know he did “Same Thing”. He already had the “I know, a lotta fine hoes”. He sang it his best just to let me know, to give me a guideline and a blueprint and Benji knocked that shit out.

Seven’s a great producer in my eyes. I don’t know what he does for the rest of the guys as far as how the beats go. I don’t know if he does that for Tech or Kaliko or Stevie, CES Cru or whatever, but that’s what he did for me and it worked just fine. We meshed together so well to where I rarely, rarely, not even more than once or twice said “Eh…I don’t know.” For the most part, what I did, I didn’t have to rewrite nothing, and for what he did, he didn’t have to re-do nothing. We just clicked.

He also helped write the hook for “Bottle Service” didn’t he?

Yeah, he definitely had the second part down “And everybody so gone, and everybody so gone” and had the melody of the part before that. So I had to put the words together on that and we collectively wrote that, but he brought the blueprint once again. That’s great. I haven’t gotten to do that with any producer. It’s always they send some beats in, they got em on disc, you pick them up from the office, Travis give them to you, take them home and listen to them, pick the ones you like and that’s what it is – no vibe, no back and forth, no communication, none of that. That made for a great album because I was able to do that.

Do you have any favorite tracks on the album?

The “Been Dope” Remix is dope as a motherfucker because it’s so different. It’s The Popper out of Kansas City. Landmark that. Nesto The Owner, you’ve heard him on “Buy The Bar” with me and I’ve been on his shit as well – “Toxic” and “Bitch Niggaz” with him and JL. Ron Ron, double RR, he had that big song around here (sings) “Hey honey!”, it’s a big Kansas City song. That’s why I call it The Town Remix because it’s got more of the town and they’ll respect it, feel it and appreciate it because these are the people that made their marks in the town. More or less so The Popper, Ron Ron, and Nesto’s so dope I had to bring him along with me. He’s written a couple of hooks for myself. Shout out to him. That’s why I called it “I Been Dope” The Town Remix because if no one else gets it, they might just like the song in general, but not only will The Town like it, they’ll appreciate it and the networking that I’m doing.

With The Popper, he’s had stuff on the radio for years. People know who The Popper is, people know who Ron Ron is, people know who I am, but it’s like I’m trying to get that same love, appreciation and recognition through radio and through the streets of my town, not only as the guy that’s on Tech N9ne’s label or on stage with Tech, but as the guy that’s on the label and his name is Kutt Calhoun and this is his shit and he’s dope as a motherfucker, you know what I’m saying? That’s what I’m going for with this.

Any last words you want to say about the album?

The album, pick it up, February 26, Black Gold will flood the streets. Black Gold will spill all over your radio waves. Black Gold will leak in a town near you on The Independent Powerhouse Tour. February 26, Black Gold. I’ve got an in-store at 7th Heaven so anyone that can make it regionally or if you want to fly in from out of town it’s all good. February 26 on 77th and Troost, 7th Heaven, Black Gold, Kutt Calhoun will be there with a host of others. Come out and kick it and party with your boy. Take pictures, autographs, listen to great music, support and let’s do it for the town y’all.

Midwest movement, Kutt Calhoun, Black Gold.


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