I had a chance to catch Kutt Calhoun in Denver during the Strange Noise Tour right after the release of his album Raw and Un-Kutt. I got to catch up with him about the success of his big album and actually took it back to where he started and how crossing paths in a local studio in K.C. with Tech landed him on the biggest independent label out there today!
By 98 when Kutt was working on a project Mass Acre in Icy Roc’s Cradle in a KCMO studio called the Roc Pit. At this time before Strange, Kutt Calhoun was in the streets doing what he had to do to get by. In and out of town on street business, he had already been shot 4 times. No stranger to the streets he had a knack for trouble but decided putting his inspiration towards music was the only way to better his future. During a session with Icy Roc while he was recording a song called “Deeper” for his solo album, Tech N9ne happened to stop in. While passing through he heard the song Kutt was working on. Tech’s ears perked up and he asked Kutt if he has a hook for it yet. Kutt replied, “Yeah, but I didn’t lay it down yet”… Tech said, “Let me do it!” At the time you had to pay Tech to get on a track and the fact they didn’t know each other from Adam, Kutt was like, “Hell Yeah Go Ahead!!!”
Tech liked the song and was coming up on the Spirit Fest in 1999 and needed a hype man. He remembered Kutt from the studio and hit him up and asked if he knew his lyrics. Kutt said, “Yeah” and that was that Kutt popped his cherry at the Spirit Fest for the first time doing a show in front of 15-20,000 people with Tech N9ne. It wasn’t til 2000 that they met Travis and Strange Music’s multi-million dollar empire was about to begin. Krizz Kalico lived around the corner from The Roc Pit and also recorded there. Before 98 the three of them had never met in their lives and 3 years later became the foundation of a mega label.
What’s the meaning behind the name of your album Raw and Un-Kutt?
It’s 150% Raw and Un-Kutt like Peruvian dope! It ain’t been mixed, it ain’t been stepped on! It’s like a metaphor for real. It’s like bein’ on a drug… the music itself: The Metaphor is the drug is the music! Raw and uncut as if it was some uncut dope. That’s what the dope is… it’s the music! No additives… No preservatives.
How did you pick and choose your collaborations?
With Strange we have creative control over our projects. We don’t get censored on what we say and feel. I hand picked every one of the artists on my album. I didn’t put Brotha Lynch on “Dark Knight” because he’s on the label I put him on because when I heard the beat that Axis made me I said this is perfect for him! The certain beats I picked I heard specific people on there. Too Short was one of the last ones to get his verse to me I almost didn’t get him on there and literally the last night before we were going to turn it in he sent it.
The success seen from the Raw and Un-Kutt reached the The Billboard Charts at 15 in Hip-Hop, 45 on the Top 200 and 27 on the Independent. When I asked Kutt what he thought of his numbers he only had one word for me… “Immaculate” for what the music industry is today that’s exactly what it is!
Since then Kutt has continued to tour with Strange non stop as usual. Right now his new EP Red Headed Step Child is available at www.kutt.com. To kick off 2012 Kutt prepares for his big solo tour “Calling My Name” Tour. Recently following Kutt Calhoun’s announcement of a solo tour, fan favorite Flawless Real Talk has taken to Twitter to a make it all official and confirm his spot on Kutt’s “Calling My Name” Tour. Stay tuned for scheduled tour dates and more hot music from the Kansas City Chief Kutt Calhoun!
Interview by Breez
Photography by Wyl Williams