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Kutt Calhoun Steps Out On His Own

In Clubs, Music
NO MORE: Underappreciated for years at his former label, Strange Music, Kutt Calhoun steps out on his own.

NO MORE: Underappreciated for years at his former label, Strange Music, Kutt Calhoun steps out on his own.

Kutt Calhoun isn’t just going solo. He’s an army of one, and he’s going to war. The no-coast rapper and co-founder of Missouri independent hip-hop label Strange Music, has a new album, a new label and a bone to pick—with his former colleagues and overzealous police.

Speaking on his cell phone as he zips around Dallas, the Kansas City emcee explains his genuine disappointment at not being better known, a fact he blames on Strange Music dropping the ball on promoting and managing his image.

Calhoun, nee Melvin Lewis Calhoun Jr., has a point. He’s been in the game since 1998; he helped build Strange Music—along with lightning-fast Killer City spitter, Tech N9ne—from the ground up; and on his latest effort, the Kuttin Loose EP, he demonstrates a devastating flow, razor sharp wit and some downright nasty Dirty South production.

For years, Calhoun made his disappointment known. The title of his 2011 album, Red-Headed Stepchild, is a not-so-subtle jab at his then-label, he says. Earlier this year, Calhoun made the jump.

“If I stay here, I’m going to stand in place, or I’m going to sink,” he remembers thinking. “I needed to move forward. I ain’t getting that younger.” Calhoun left Strange Music amicably and has since started his own label, Black Gold Entertainment.

His latest single, “On My Own,” details his unique struggles with his former colleagues, while the track’s accompanying music video helps make the song something others can relate to. Featuring a woman in a bad relationship and a man belittled at work, the video shows both characters finding the strength to leave their abusive situations behind and find a better life for themselves

Calhoun has also directed his music at another target—police brutality and its disproportionate number of young black male victims. On “Handz Up (Shut Shit Down)” he explains, in no uncertain terms, that if violence against the black community continues, there will be a violent response. “They wanna wonder why my people get violent/but it ain’t they child under state sheets,” he raps.

For his part, Calhoun isn’t worried about any backlash, as he is certain that he is on the right side of history. “That’s coming straight from the heart,” he says. “This is something that is important to me. More people need to hear.

Kutt Calhoun plays BackBar SoFa on Nov 13, 7pm.

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