With Kutt Calhoun’s brand new album BLACK GOLD on the shelves and arguably the biggest year of his career so far ahead of him, Kutt Calhoun still found time to join us on the Strange Music Podcast for an interview recently.
We spoke about the inspiration behind some of the heavier tracks on BLACK GOLD like “That’s My Word” and “Baby Mama Drama“, what we can expect from Kutty on the upcoming Independent Powerhouse Tour, and more!!
Peep the whole interview below, and don’t forget to cop BLACK GOLD which is in stores now!!!
How are things? The last time we talked to you was right before the Gift of Rap show, how was that?
The Gift Of Rap show was excellent. It was good to be back on the same stage with the rest of the guys. I had been doing my solo shows all of 2012 and the guys were on the big tour and then came back from overseas while I was recording Black Gold. We finally got to link up together for The Gift Of Rap for the first time in damn near all these years so everything’s been going good since then. Everything’s uphill for me. It’s a blessing. I’m humbled by it and I appreciate it a whole lot.
What does the title Black Gold mean?
This is to everybody out there because I know a lot of people didn’t know what it was called. Somebody on Twitter was like “It should be called Black Diamonds because it’s a jewel” I’m like “Damn, that’s dope! I wish I had thought of that.” Black Gold is basically just like a hot commodity, what a lot of people been seeing. I’m looking at it as a metaphor for oil as well. You know the United States is going to war over oil, and from oil comes gas and all that stuff and it’s the most sought after commodity and natural resource in America and so I chose to use Black Gold as a metaphor for my album. Every time I try to do an album I approach it like it’s the first album I’m going to put out. That’s why I believe that each album I do is better than the last because I’m going after it with that same hunger as if it’s the first album. Black Gold is basically a metaphor for saying that it’s the hottest shit out, the most wanted thing out here. It’s the hottest commodity out here right now in record stores, iTunes or whatever man and it’s getting the recognition that it deserves. It’s been on number four on iTunes for the past couple of days and I’m trying to get it up to number one. We pushing hard bro.
Has the reception that it’s gotten met or even exceeded your expectations so far?
So far it has man. I have yet to see what the first week’s sales are going to be. We’re not going to know that until Tuesday or should I say the following Wednesday, what the first week sales are going to be, that’s why I’m urging everybody to get out there and cop it on iTunes, Best Buy or FYE. I know a lot of Best Buys aren’t having it or whatever. They’re going to have it people, in these different cities and states that you’re in. It’s just that a lot of them were shut down in a lot of the major markets that we have Black Gold in and so with everything being fixed up and the streets being cleaned up now it should be more accessible for people to go get it.
I told all the fans that got the message that if I do 10K the first week, the first 10K people that bought it, I’m going to do something very special for them. People want to know “How do you know if I got it or not?” Just keep your receipts you know what I’m saying? Take pictures of your receipts or keep your receipts. Take screenshots. Anything that has to do with the pre-orders and the day of the 26th and after the 26th up until the 5th of March, that would be included in the first week. I’m going to do something real special for those people man.
How did you want this album to be different from your previous projects?
Well I would like for all of my albums to be different because if you’ve just got the same shit after the same shit it kind of gets old and all your shit starts to sound alike and that’s the last thing I want. I got so much shit that went on in my life that I still go through throughout my life up until the current that each album is going to be different regardless. I’m not stuck in one groove to where everytime I put out albums it’s going to be the same repetitive stuff you’ve heard on the last one. The beats are going to be different, the subject is going to be different, everything’s going to be different man. It’s just a maturity in my craft and my writing and my subject matter – it just keeps getting better and better with each time.
I didn’t go in and say “I’m going to purposely do this song” or that song, I did what the beats told me to do, but what the beats did different is Seven being a bad ass producer he is, he had that different-sounding shit man. It’s just that hard bass, clear-quality and just dope-ass shit. He had that Kutt Calhoun shit. We finally got to have that chemistry that we’ve been wanting to have since “Whip It”. We’ve been wanting to get together one on one and come up with these dope ideas, beats, and songs and we were able to do that and that’s why Black Gold sounds the way that it does. That’s why it sounds different than anything I’ve ever put out because the beats are different, the vibe was different, the chemistry was different than any album before. It made for a different sounding album which is my best work to date and the fans would agree.
What advantages do you find with collaborating with just one producer?
When you try a lot of producers there’s the one or two songs that stick out and don’t sound like anything else on the album. The advantages that I got with this is that Seven knows my track history, he knows what I like and I know that he’s a very versatile producer so the advantages that I got out of this was that we kind of were on the same page so that we didn’t have to pry into each other’s heads to come up with anything creatively. The beats were already on point. My ideas that I sent to him were already on point. Nobody had to correct the other person about anything. It made for a certain feel on the whole album. Seven did thirteen out of the fourteen tracks. One track “It’s Goin Down” was done by my little cousin Tylan. I only picked that because that fit the whole feel of the album as well. The album has a specific sound. The beats don’t sound the same at all, you know what I’m saying? The subect matter’s not the same at all but the album in a whole, in it’s whole entirety, has a certain specific sound and that made for a great album. You don’t find that too much nowadays where, you know back in the Dr. Dre, Snoop days or whatever, you know that Snoop Dogg album Doggystyle or The Chronic had a feel to it. All the beats were different but it had a certain feel to it that made it a solid album and that’s what I got with Black Gold.
The track you have with Tech N9ne, “I’ve Been Dope” has an old school feel to it where you guys trade 4 bars apiece. Did you guys write that out at the same time and in the same room?
Yeah we were in the studio together sitting in studio B or C and actually sat there and wrote that side by side. We had to because it couldn’t of went like that any other way because we were feeding off of what the other’s last line. In order to do that you gotta be side by side vibing with each other man. I think I’m the only one on the label that’s went back and forth like that with Tech. I think I did it with him on “Gamer” and I did it with him on “Goldberg” off of B.L.E.V.E.. That was a dope ass song. This particular song “I Been Dope” was the dopest song where me and Tech have done that. Ain’t nobody did it yet. What can I even say? Hands up. Much love to my brother Tech. He came through and blessed me man. I’ve been saying “I’m going to get him on the album, I’m going to get him on the album”, but I just had to hear him on a certain song. When I got that beat I let him know. He was still overseas and I’m like “Dude I got something for you when you come back.” I knew that that was something that me and him needed to be on and the beat was an old school feel so which was going to bring out some old school Tech, old school Kutt Calhoun, but modernized at the same time man and it worked out perfectly. We sat there and wrote it together, side by side, drinking beers and shit, talking shit and just coming up with shit. Cracking up man.
Have you gotten to see the finalized video for “I Been Dope” yet because people are going crazy over this?
Oh yeah man I’ve probably seen it 25 times. I just keep watching it. I like to critique myself and critique my videos to see what I can do better or different in the next video so I watched that video I don’t know how many times and everybody out there, if you’re listening, keep watching that motherfucker too and don’t forget to keep watching “Self Preservation” too. “Strange $”, “Bottle Service” all that because I got about two or three more videos dropping off of Black Gold as well so I’m just going to keep pushing, keep it going. “I Been Dope” is definitely a dope ass video. The 80s Run DMC look with the Gucci ropes and the glasses, the Gazelle Run DMC glasses to the alleyways like the old Straight Outta Compton days to the motherfucking black light shit man. It went from the 80s, to 90s to modern day. It turned out to be a dope ass video and much love to Tech N9ne and Liquid 9 and all the other guys up at Strange Music video productions: Ryan, Taylor, Anthony…all you guys man.
Do you have a favorite track or favorite tracks on the album?
Everybody been asking me that and I’m going to tell you like I told them. My favorite track on the album is 1 through 14 because they’re all different, they all got a different feel and they all are dope to me. I don’t got a favorite. I’ve never had a favorite off of any of my albums. I’ve never had a favorite because they all mean something different to me and they all have a different feel so in its entireity I like them all.
If you want to ask me like which one is kind of like, you know, a little more personal you have your “Hello and Goodbye” definitely “Baby Mama Drama”, that was some shit that I just had to get off my chest. I was tired of that bitch. “That’s My Word”, those are the serious, serious ones man, but each of those are different as well. Those poured out from the heart a little bit faster than the rest of them because that was personal shit that I was feeling and going through that was a little bit deeper than the rest of the tracks on the album. So I wouldn’t say that those were my favorites but those are the ones that stick out on the more heartfelt tip.
Let’s talk about the upcoming Independent Powerhouse Tour. That kicks off very soon and I know you’ve been doing one-off shows and solo tours but you haven’t been on tour with Strange in little over than a year and I want to know: how does it feel to finally be getting back on the road with your labelmates?
It feels real good to get back out there with the guys man. I know once we get out there it’s going to be like we never missed a step. It’s going to be like I never was gone, especially with the independent touring that I’ve been doing myself. It’s only been getting me on point to have my stage performance at the best that it can be as well so I mean I’m anxious to get back out there. The fellas are anxious for me to get back out there. Yeah it’s going to be a great thing.
What are you looking forward to the most about this tour in particular?
First of all for the fans that have missed me the whole tour of last year, Hostile Takeover, I’m looking forward to pleasing them and I’m looking forward towards putting my 200% into my set and into my show and into this tour. Secondly I’m looking forward to blowing the minds of the new fans that Strange Music has accrued over the last tour, the ones that missed out on me and didn’t get to see me at all. The ones who just found out about Tech or just found out about the other Strange Music artists on the label and missed me, not only am I looking to please the fans that were missing me, I’m looking forward to please the brand new ones that have never seen me at all. I just want to blow everybody’s minds and let them know what all the talk is about. Ain’t nobody just talking, I’m not going to just toot my horn, the fans, these people talking, they just tooting they horn man. The proof’s in the pudding. I’m from the show me state and I’m going to show every motherfucker what the fuck the Kansas City Chief has to show.
What is the thing you like most about being on the road and what is the thing you dislike most about being on the road?
The thing I like most about being on the road is traveling back to all these places that the fans have love. It’s been many years that I’ve met fans and they know that I’m not guarded, it’s not hard to get to me, it’s not hard to talk to me. I’m always out there in the crowd, I’m at the bar doing shots with people, outside smoking with people, man. I can’t wait to get back out there and get the feel for these fans again.
What I dislike is days off and being away from home for so long, being away from the family. It’s hard being gone for so long. That’s the only thing that I dislike most about being on tour, but it’s all good because they understand that I’m out here making a living and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. They’re showing appreciation for it, the love that they’re giving me I’m just giving it back in return, so it’s all adds up to an even even.
What do you think you bring to the stage that’s totally yours that nobody else does?
Since there is only one Kutt Calhoun I think that sticks out the most. Nobody do what I do you know. I bring my own individuality and my own aura. When you see me Tech and Kaliko on stage I stick out because I do what I do. I’m me. The show wouldn’t be complete if it wasn’t Kaliko, Tech and myself. If there was somebody else up there trying to replace me it wouldn’t be the same because I only do what I do man. That’s all that I’m going to be bringing, my own aura. I’m going to be bringing Kutt Calhoun to that stage and everything that consists of him: whether that’s the b-walking shit, the way I move, the way I rap, from taking my shirt off how I jump in the crowd, how I jump down in there and fuck with people, I mean whatever it’s going to be it’s going to be me man. It can’t be duplicated or replicated, it’s just gotta be appreciated.
I know you can’t reveal your whole set but what can fans expect from your show?
People can definitely look forward to a lot of the shit that I’ve been hearing about on Twitter, “501s And Rightsides”, “That’s My Word”, I gotta do “See What Happened Was” because motherfuckers is loving that plus it hits so hard. I’m thinking about doing one or two things from The Flamez Mixtape. People have been asking about it. I know I need to make up and press some more copies of The Flamez Mixtape but I just seen somebody on Twitter saying that DatPiff has The Flamez Mixtape to download so if I’m not able to upload it to y’all, y’all can go on DatPiff and The Flamez Mixtape should be available on there to download. Of course some Kelvin shit. I only got 30 minutes so I’m going to try to squeeze everything in there. I’m not going to be able to do full songs of everything but I’m going to try and squeeze a whole lot of songs into these 30 minutes so that I can please everybody. That’s what it’s all about: keep your ears to the streets and pleasing your fan base and do what you need to do out there.
I want to talk about 2013 and some things that are coming up, this year marks the arrival for a lot of projects for newer acts as well as anticipated releases from the veterans. How excited are you for this year?
I’m very excited about everyone’s release, not only mine but everyone’s. It’s a camaraderie at Strange Music, it’s a family up there and everybody from the staff to all the artists, we’re all pushing each other so that we can be the best that we can be and build this conglomerate on top of what we already got going, to build it to an even bigger plateau. I’m excited for everybody’s shit. Tech’s shit Something Else, Big Krizz Kaliko’s Son of Sam, ¡MAYDAY!, Wrekonize, Rittz – I’m excited about everybody’s shit. I’m going to be on the veteran’s shit, they’re my brothers so of course. I couldn’t get on Rittz’ album, we in two different cities and states and had shit going on but hopefully he’s going to be on my next one and I’m going to be on his too. Stevie Stone with 2 Birds 1 Stone, that’s my little brother, that’s my nigga. I’m going to support their shit just as hard as I’m pushing for my own stuff. With each release that comes out you’re going to see Kutt Calhoun at the top of the list supporting and pushing people to go and buy their shit too.
Speaking of veterans I wanted to talk to you about your collaboration with Lynch on Black Gold. Some fans might not know about your guys’ backgrounds but I want to know, what makes this collaboration significant?
I came up listening to Brotha Lynch, Season of Da Siccness, 24 Deep, Loaded, all that shit. Lynch is a well-known crip from the Garden Block. I’m known as the opposing gang affiliation of the Bloods. The thing is so crazy because we’re label mates now. So you’ve got a Crip and you’ve got a Blood who’s usually not supposed to get along in the eyes of society or get along with other ‘s opposing gangs and what makes it so special is that you’ve got this Blood motherfucker that B-Walks, red flags hanging everywhere, throwing up the signs and this and that and this you’ve got this well-known crip motherfucker collaborating together as a unit and as brothers, making this money and making these motherfucking hits. For people that don’t know, that’s an amazing thing because you don’t have too many people that do that. You weren’t having Snoop Dogg collaborating with one of the biggest bloods. You know? Snoop Dogg and Mack 10 all like that together. You didn’t have C-Bo collaborating with Blood motherfuckers so to see that happen, for us to unite as one and to do our thing, not only because we’re label-mates, shit you’ve got people that were on major labels with each other blood and crips that never were on each other’s shit. For this to happen is a big deal. That exposes myself to Lynch’s fans and vice versa and that just lets them know that no matter where you come from or what your background is or what your affiliation is, you can come together and do good music and put all that silliness aside. At the end of the day it’s all about seeing your family and taking care of yourself and loving one another. We can’t change who we were and we can’t change where we come from but we can do something about it in the present time and that’s what Lynch and I are doing. “Dark Knights”, one of the coldest street gangster songs out there to this day. Put some songs up against it if you want to, it ain’t competing with it. For us to come back a second time on “501s and Rightsides” and for Lynch to put it down like that, I’m talking about blood shit in my verses and he’s a well known crip nigga talking what he talking in the hook man, it’s a beautiful thing and people need to get on it. Put that silly shit aside and get on it and understand that beautiful music is what it’s all about.
We also have CES Cru’s full length debut coming up Constant Energy Struggles, I wanted to know what you thought of those guys and do you see yourself collaborating with them in the future?
I definitely see myself collaborating with them in the future. I wish I could’ve collaborated with them in the present. Godemis and Ubiquitous man, those dudes is cold. They’re some lyrical motherfuckers. They some real lyrical motherfuckers. If y’all didn’t hear the motherfuckers on “Unfair”, y’all are sleeping. They are dope. Constant Energy Struggles is going to be dope man. The single “Juice” is the shit. Them dudes can rap they asses off and I’ve got ideas for those cats man, the shit that I’m going to want them on, but sure enough whatever they’d want me on, I’ll gracefully do it. Get on there and kill it. You’ve gotta bring your A game with them cause them motherfuckers don’t play with their wordplay man so yeah I’m really excited for their album to come out too, they’re some cold motherfuckers.
Do you think that this is going to be the year that hip hop fans are going to acknowledge how diverse the music is that comes out of Strange Music?
Aw yeah they’re going to have no choice but to. If we all do what we’re supposed to do and take this fan base to another level and get our music in the ears of a whole lot more people, they’re going to have no choice but to understand the diversity of it, because each artist is different. CES Cru is different. Rittz is different. Stevie Stone is different. Tech is different. Kaliko got his shit. I’m different. So we’re all left and right and up and down. Our whole entourage’s catalogue is totally different, nobody’s the same so once we get to that mass audience they ain’t going to have a choice but to recognize that…or pretend to be blind.
What are your personal hopes and goals for this year?
I’m through hoping. My personal goal is for Black Gold to be very successful, to achieve minimum 10K the first week. For it to do four times that throughout the rest of this year. My personal goal is to connect with hundreds of thousands of more fans to spread this Kutt Calhoun brand, to spread Strange Music to a lot more people. to get more people infected with what they’re missing out on. The industry got a couple of hot motherfuckers out there but the industry ain’t got a collage of hot motherfuckers like Strange Music has. My goal is to get myself as well as our label out there to as many people as we can and take over. I want to do a Strange Music takeover, a Kutt Calhoun takeover. To be able to look back on this and really show the fans how much I appreciate them for the support, I want to be able to do that.
Anything that you want to tell the fans before we wrap this up?
I just want to tell them I appreicate y’all so much for all the love and support that you’ve shown me thus far. I just want them to know that I’m not going to stop and it’s because of them that I do what I do and why I’m here. I’m not going to let anybody down with my music, I’m not going to let anybody down with my performance. When you see me, you know what you’ve got, you see what you get. You get what you see and that’s the real down to earth dude, Kutt Calhoun and if you have not, go out and get Black Gold, FYE, Best Buy, iTunes. Spread the music, keep on doing that support and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.
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