Strange Music recording artist Kutt Calhoun is back with his fourth full-length album, Black Gold. Black Gold is a multi-faceted release that tackles topics that range from humor and humility, lust and love, to family and fun.
Black Gold features appearances from Krizz Kaliko, Brother Lynch Hung, BG Bulletwound, Snug Grim, Bishop Don Dotta, Ben-G Da Prince of Soul, The Popper, Ron Ron, Nesto the Owner, and Tech N9ne. Black Gold is produced entirely by Seven with one track contributed by Beezerdidit.
Kutt Calhoun spoke to snaptwig.com about the perks of being on an indie label, his participation in the upcoming Independent Powerhouse tour, and his new album, Black Gold.
SS: Explain the title of your new album, Black Gold.
Kutt Calhoun: Black Gold is a metaphor that I wanted to use. Black gold is one of the highest resources, of course that’s oil. I wanted to make this album and present it as if it’s my first album to date. I go after each album like that. I did with my first album B.L.E.V.E., Boiling Liquid Expanding Vicious Explosion, Feature Presentation, you got your previews of what’s to come but the Feature Presentation is what everybody is waiting to see. And then Raw and Un-Kutt I was giving you 100% of me raw and uncut with no filters. No we got Black Gold and with Black Gold I’m still trying to make the same statement that I’ve made with each album. We have wars over black gold and people die over it. Not to compare myself with people dying but I just want to stress the importance of what the metaphor meant. Black Gold is the hottest thing out there.
SS: Tell me about the single ‘Self Preservation’.
Kutt Calhoun: ‘Self Preservation’ is just saying “I got myself together.” It speaks for itself. I got myself established as an artist and entertainer in this music industry. Even though I haven’t been on 106 & Park or the Sucker Free Countdown I feel that myself and my label mates are at the same caliber of the craft or better than the big industry stars are now. I’m just making a statement that I got myself together and I hope you do. What I’m standing on I’m standing firm behind it. I’m ready for whatever. When this stuff blows in the industry and when it’s my time to get the light shined on me and have mainstream appeal, I’m ready. I don’t have to get ready, I stay ready.
SS: Do you think it’s detrimental to be on an indie label if you’re hoping to achieve that kind of status?
Kutt Calhoun: No, I don’t think so. What Strange Music does have is a lot of die-hard fans. Me, Tech, and Kaliko have had to explain to the fans several times that they want us to themselves but the whole thing of it is the bigger picture is to get into this to do what you love and to reach a status to where you’ll be able to take care of yourself and your immediate family but you want to be able to do well enough to take care of your kids’ kids. With that it means more money. It’s not all about the money but what are we in this for? Everybody goes to work because things cost in life. You want your kids to go to the best schools and you want to live in a nice house. Money is not the main objective. The whole objective is to reach out to a mass audience and I would like to reach out to the world. To reach out to the world you’re going to be under the microscope of the mainstream. All the mainstream means is you’ve done so much and are so big on the underground level that you’re no longer underground because you’ve caught the attention of so many people. I don’t know of an underground artist who has the whole world buying their albums. I don’t think it’s going to be detrimental at all. It’s not going to do anything but help. With the type of music that myself and my label does the caliber and status of it is mainstream. We just haven’t broke through yet—that’s coming.
SS: What’s the best piece of advice Tech N9ne has ever given you about the business?
Kutt Calhoun: Be yourself. Don’t ever conform, change your music or adapt to satisfy anybody, whether that be fans or whoever. He’s been a prime example of that with him not conforming or trying to do anything different to get into the industry on a mainstream level. Just be you and you’ll get respect at the end of the day for who you are.
SS: I’m from Chicago and you’re from Kansas City, why do you believe the Midwest has not had a dominant run in rap like the South, East, and West has had?
Kutt Calhoun: Because of the camaraderie. Atlanta supports each other. You go down there and they’re playing local music on the radio station, plus they have more than one radio station. They support each other tough. Florida sticks together, New York sticks together, and Texas sticks together. All of these places have radio stations that play locals and they’re not just repeating the same cycle of music every week. California had their run, too. California and New York are bigger markets than the Midwest, so is Atlanta. It’s bigger and a lot more opportunity in those places.
Nelly blew it up here when he came out. J-Kwon was a writer/rapper himself and you have Chingy who came up outta there. It can happen; it’s just a matter of getting that right person to hear you at the right time. I guess that’s what’s been taking so long but I believe that it’s the Midwest’s turn. Kanye is doing it real big out of Chicago. You got Chief Keef breaking out, and my girl Shawnna. It’s hard to breakthrough from the Midwest but it’s far from impossible. It’s just going to be a matter of that right song catching on and before you know it, boom, you done blew up overnight and you can put where you’re from on the map. My album Black Gold has those qualities; it’s just a matter of getting out there.
SS: What inspired the song ‘That’s My Word’?
Kutt Calhoun: ‘That’s My Word’ came from years of doing what I’m doing and being a rapper, a father, and a friend. Over the years my best friend, my wife, my mom, and the fans have been with me when I didn’t have nothing. I’m fortunate enough to say I haven’t had to work at a 9-to-5 job since 2000. Music has been my job and has been paying my bills, my child support, helping me take care of my mom, and putting a roof over my family’s head. The fans themselves have been the motivation for me to keep doing what I’m doing. If you can reach one person that’s all that matters. That’s what you’re in this for to reach someone and hope that they relate. ‘That’s My Word’ is letting my fans, family, and friends know that you’ve been with me when I didn’t have anything and when I get more you will not be forgotten. I just wanted to let everybody know that I appreciate them for the love that they gave me.
SS: What do you have in-store for fans on the Independent Powerhouse tour?
Kutt Calhoun: I just want to blow their minds. I always give it 150% on tour I just didn’t go on the big tour last year with MGK and Tech. I wasn’t able to go on that tour because I didn’t have an album coming out. That was a big tour, 90 shows in 100 days and I missed out on it. The fans were missing me and I missed it, too. Even though I was still doing shows on my own I missed out on a lot of new fans that didn’t even know Tech because he gained some new fans. It’s a lot of people that are going to be out on this Independent Powerhouse tour that didn’t get a chance to see me last year so I’m going to give a little bit more and give 200% instead of 150%. I’m going to do my best to put on a good show, give a good selection of songs and keep it up-tempo and hype. I’m going to get my presidential politic on, get out here and meet these fans and kiss babies to try to get this album sold so they can go out and tell people that they know that have never heard of me what they’ve seen and what they’ve heard so we can keep spreading.
SS: What do you hope to accomplish with Black Gold?
Kutt Calhoun: It’s what I hope to accomplish with each album. I’m thinking Black Gold can be a game-changer for myself. What I’m hoping to accomplish is to give people a break from the norm. I’m not going to say any artists name but over the last couple of years the industry has been really saturated with simple stuff. I’m not mad at simple at all, we need that, but when it becomes too saturated that knocks out the people that have subject matter, substance, and content, in their lyrics. Not only do you miss out on the good songs with the dope beats from a rapper that’s actually talking about something that a lot of people can relate to, but the whole world can’t relate to rims and Bentley’s because that’s unachievable—it’s not even reality for a lot of people. Like I said, we do need that but we also need good music that people can relate to.
Black Gold has songs that a lot of people can relate to about things that are going on all over the world. That’s what’s missing and I’m just trying to bring that back. I’m trying to give a breath of fresh air to the masses and a break from what’s been going on all these years. This is some real good quality music. Not to say that the music out here now isn’t good quality but I’m going to speak for myself and from what I grew up on and how I view music. Music should be full of partying, real life topics, problems that are going on, dark topics, drinking with your friends, and kicking it with chicks. It should be all of that and not just one thing. I hope the masses get to hear this and understand what it’s like to purchase and hear a well-rounded album because it’s been so long. It’s only a couple of people out here that are still doing that. I just want to be one of those ones that influence other artists that are up-and-coming or just let people exhale and say, “Wow, I ain’t heard this in a long time.” I just want the album to be successful. The music speaks for itself, I just want the masses to hear it because I do know my self-worth and the type of music I do make. It would be a shame if the rest of the world didn’t get to hear it.
Purchase: Kutt Calhoun – Black Gold