Black Gold promises to be Kutt Calhoun’s most cohesive and well-crafted project of his career. This is in no small part due to the fact that Bloody Kutty and producer Seven were able to chop it up in the lab one on one, creating the most street-savvy and hardcore album that Strange Music has ever released.
We talked to Seven to find out about the process of creating a ghetto classic, and where he sees Black Gold taking Kutt Calhoun career in the future.
Now you and Kutt have just developed this working relationship where he’s coming at you for a lot of sounds for his album. What do you like the most about working with Kutt Calhoun?
Well Kutt’s the kind of artist, I think he can conquer a lane at Strange that hasn’t been done before, that nobody’s really tried to tackle. Kutt’s got his sound and he’s got his fanbase and so it’s important that we still stick with what’s always worked with him, but Kutt is also super-open to trying something new and to continue developing what he’s doing – his sound and everything. Not everybody’s open for that. The other artists aren’t really focused on doing that for the most part and Kutt was so that alone was like the dopest thing working with him. That we can do whatever you know what I mean? We’re open to do whatever we want to do.
What do you think are some important things to keep in mind when making a beat for Kutt Calhoun?
Kutt, I want him to sound super-current but still him, you know what I mean? With Kutt I’m always trying to remember to kind of break boundaries. I want it to sound fresh but I still want it to have elements of what’s him. With him there’s lots of 808’s. I don’t really know how to describe his sound. A little bit of a trap kind of feel but still Kutt, you know what I mean? It’s just his own thing but I get to play around in those tempos that are more of the trap kind of feel. To me, Kutt makes hits. He makes stuff that can be on the radio right now and Black Gold is that way. A lot of that album feels like for real radio hits. But he didn’t do it in a way that wasn’t true to who he was as an artist. It’s going to be an interesting album. I’m hyped to see what everyone thinks about it.
When you guys talked, what did he tell you that he’s looking for?
You know, we didn’t really talk a whole lot about what he was looking for, we just made the music. We just kind of found a groove, you know what I mean? We found what worked and what didn’t work, like a trial and error type of deal. I kind of had an idea for what I wanted to hear Kutt on and Kutt had an idea of what he wanted to do but I just kind of made beats until we got into a groove and was like “Ah okay, I see what works.” We made songs also that we thought would work in the beginning with the beats and everything and we recorded stuff and was like “Nah, that’s not it. That’s not Kutt.” We just experimented in every way possible with him to make sure that we’re doing the right thing with the sound.
In what directions can you take your production that you wouldn’t be able to with other artists?
Well I mean I can make stuff that’s radio. Everybody doesn’t get to hear the stuff that I do that’s more, I don’t want to say mainstream, but more radio, you know? But not everybody wants those kind of beats. They sort of have what they do. They have their sound, they do what they do, so I don’t get to make songs that could potentially be super-hits like all the time, that have a street type of feel, you know what I mean? That’s what I got to do with Kutt. I think it gives everybody a chance to hear that side of my production.
Do you like working with Strange in that way, in that you can chase a new direction as soon as you get tired of chasing another?
Well yeah because all the artists are different. Everybody is, to me, pretty different. They all have very distinctive sounds and no one is like the next one. As soon as one project is done I get to hop off to the next one which is totally different. That’s the reason I could never really recycle beats and have them leak over to the next project because it never works. If I make a beat for Krizz or make a beat for Lynch or something like that it’s not like I can put it on CES Cru’s album and or it’s not like Tech’s going to use it or anything like that because it sounds nothing like what he’s doing, you know? Which is good because that lets me kind of reboot my mind every time we start working on a new album.
Do you have to reinvent the way you work to accomodate some of the sounds you’re trying to achieve?
Sometimes yeah. Sometimes I just have to step back for a week. Sometimes I’ll have a slow start on gettings started on projects and kind of hop into it a few weeks late because I’m just trying to wrap my mind around what needs to be done on the album. I don’t want to be just making beats and sending them over, I want there to be a vision, I want us to have an idea of what this album should sound like and what it needs to feel like. It’s not just another album, you know what I mean?
Is that the best part of producing an entire project? I don’t remember you undertaking so many whole projects as you have this past year.
On Welcome To Strangeland I did a lot of the production because it was a specific sound that Tech wanted to do. It was like, he wanted this sound. On Kickin’ & Screamin’, which was the first one I did a majority of the production on, that was another album where Krizz had a speciic idea, a specific sound in mind and we kind of just tackled that whole vision. The thing is, I think that are a lot of benefits to having a lot of outside producers involved with it too, you know? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I just like albums that sound cohesive. It sounds like there was a true chemistry between the artist and the producer.
With this album Black Gold, did you and Kutt work in the studio together during the recording?
Yeah. There was really no downtime between Kelvin and this album. I didn’t even take a week off. We just finished working on the songs for Kelvin and then we were working on Black Gold, you know what I mean? It was pretty much seamless. This album is a lot like Kelvin, in that direction.
What do you like most about Black Gold?
I think that this album does for Kutt what Kickin’ & Screamin’ did for Krizz. Which kind of lets them come out with who they are as an artist. I always thought that Kickin’ & Screamin’ did that for Krizz. I know that Krizz always had his lane and he had it figured out but I think that Kickin’ & Screamin’ even pushed it further and really helped people see who he is. Like, they get it now. And I think Black Gold does this for Kutt. It’s like you get it now, like “Oh Wow, I see what he can do with a sound of his own.”
If you had to play one song from this album to play for someone who didn’t know what Kutt Calhoun was all about, which song would that be?
I actually think that “Self Preservation” is a really good song. I’m so glad that they used that as the song to launch this because I think that is the song. There’s some songs on this album that really embody who Kutt is. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Just when you hear it it’s like “Man”. There’s another song on there called “Hello & Goodbye” which is another one that, when you hear it it’s like “Wow, I never really heard Kutt do that before.”
I mean he’s always been capable of doing it and it’s just like we can finally do it – we did it.
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