Kutt Calhoun

Kansas City’s Strange Music is a hardworking label. Rarely does a calendar page flip without someone on the Strange roster dropping a new joint into hip-hop’s shadowy underground. Kutt Calhoun’s Raw and Un-Kutt is the rapper’s third studio album, and it’s an evolutionary step in Calhoun’s career. (So far, he’s best known to many fans as Tech N9ne’s sidekick.) Raw and Un-Kutt positions him as a hard-partying, gangster alternative to the Freudian playgrounds found in the music of labelmates Krizz Kaliko and Tech N9ne. Kaliko and Tech corner the market on weird, but Calhoun owns the street. His standout bravado and raw energy inject supersized life into the album’s 10 tracks. Words are rarely minced in Calhoun’s deliberate, Ice Cube-like delivery, from bragging about bitches (“Buy the Bar”) to bragging about recessionary riches (“That’s Kutt Calhoun”). Calhoun’s disc enforces an important truth: It’s not what you say — it’s how you deliver.

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