Kutmasta Kurt - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
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Best known for his work with the legendary Kool Keith, artist/DJ/producer Kutmasta Kurt has long been revered as one of the undergrounds hidden talents. While he has dabbled in the limelight by producing classic remixes for the Beastie Boys' "Body Movin" and Linkin Park's "In The End", Kurt has remained a relative mystery to the average Hip Hop fan. Looking to help change all of that is Kurt's "Redneck Games", a compilation full of his best work over the years. For those not familiar with Kurt's work, "Redneck Games" is a perfect place for you to start. MVRemix spoke with Kurt about his new album, as well as some other light hearted issues. The interview was conducted by Low-Key in November of 2004.
MVRemix: Where were you born and raised, and what was it like growing up there over the years?
I was born In Kansas-Tucky. Yeah you may have heard of it, itís where we have the Redneck Olympics every 4 years. I used to admire a guy named DJ Cletus, he had mad skills in the field, and won the Tractor Pull year after year. I always wanted to be like him, and now since I won the event myself this year, I feel like Iíve finally accomplished something in life worth living.
MVRemix: How did you first get into producing / DJing?
We used to set up speakers in the corn fields and invite the whole town to hip-hop all night long. My favorite record was Rappiní Duke, and that inspired me to start producing. The first Rapper I worked with was MC Gomer G, heís currently in prison for bestiality
MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?
Sugarhill gang. They were rapping to a popular song called good times by chic I was like hey what's going on here, this is kind of like country music but in a talking form and from a street perspective. It was very familiar to me because of itís similarity to country music. Now itís funny to see how rap is all down south and country, itís came back to itís roots. Hip-Hop has become black country music!
MVRemix: How are some of the artists or groups you grew up listening to?
Kenny Rodgers, The Beatles, Miles Davis, Pat Boone, Steve Miller Band and of course Van Halen.
MVRemix: How did you take your producing/DJ skills to the next level and start to get your foot in the industry door? Who was the first artist you sold a beat to?
I utilized my connections in the music biz. Most of the Music Biz is on Coke and I was selling mad coke for many years! Iíd sell them an 8 ball and then give them a tape of my own remixes using acapellas for the current singles I liked. All this mosh up/ grey album shit..I was doing that in the early 90ís! The first artists I sold a beat to was MC Gomerís brother, or was it his dad Def Jed. He has his little tape out in the late 80ís but didnít sell very many copies. The fist Major label remix I did in 91í was actually a radio version for Fuck Compton by Tim Dog on Ruff House/Columbia. I invented this technique of not only removing curses from records, but then adding sound effects or different words from other records in their placeÖdamn I was ahead of my time!
MVRemix: How did you hook up with Kool Keith and what has it been like working with him over the years?
I met Keith while doing long hauls cross country. I stopped at a flying jís to take a piss and eat fried chicken, when low and behold, who was there in the stall next to me but Kool mutha freakin Keith?! I gave him a beat tape and we kept in touch over CB for a couple years. Later we finally recorded some demos which landed us a deal here in LA on Capitol Records. Iíve been here in the big city10 years now, and Keith just recently moved back to NYC.
MVRemix: You have produced tons of classic material with Keith, as well as other artists, but do you feel you get the credit you deserve?
Of course not, but thatís why I dropped this here album. You gotta go out there and take the credit, b/c most artists arenít gonna give it to you. They have even tried to use the success Iíve helped them achieve to further their own production careersÖHA, HA, but the joke is on them when they ask them back how come your beats arenít what I was expecting?
MVRemix: Let's talk about "Redneck Games", which was originally supposed to be called "Redneck Olympics". So what happened with that whole situation? Do you find it flattering that the US Olympic Committee would go through all this trouble just to change the title of your album?
Flattering yes, but very stupid! they got a special provision from the US Supreme court which gives them right to the words Olympics, Olympiad etc which extend way past that of any other company or organizationís trade mark or copy write laws.
The other countries are not so anal, just us, so the other versions are still RNO!
MVRemix: What inspired you to release "Redneck Games"?
It was time to release the biscuits. Let people know what time it is with Kutmasta Kurt, and do it in a creative way which shows the world who I really am, and what I do.
MVRemix: You have tons of great cuts on the album, but if you had to choose three tracks on the album, which ones are your favorite?
1,2,3,4 by Titan
Body Movin - Beastie Boys
Wildin' Out Remix by Mos Def & Diverse
MVRemix: Since you work with a lot of west coast artists, what is your feeling about the west right now? Because a lot of people feel the west is dead.
The reason itís dead is because people pigeon hole what West Coast Hip-Hop is. They try to say Snoop is the only thing on one end of the spectrum, or J5 on the other. There's lotís more out there then that, but peopleís minds and ears are closed. In reality itís all about the South now, and LA is the South, go 150 miles further down and your in Mexico!
MVRemix: Who are some of the artists you are feeling right now?
Iím feeling Myself right now, oh is that too explicit? Iíd Like to feel Beyonce!
MVRemix: I am just going to name a few producers, and you tell me what you like or dislike about them.
Nice guy, really great producer, but he plays the wigger role too much (to me) for being a graduate of Beverly Hills High School, but hey it works! I mean being a rich kid isnít very marketable is it? No harm intended, you know Iím just giving you a hard time Alan...keep up the big beats.
MVRemix: B) Lil Jon
Hey did you see his high school year book picture..what a nerd!. He has little musical skill, but is great at marketing himself. Iím going his route next year! Look out for little Kurt, I got my dreads growing now!
MVRemix: C) Necro
I donít dislike the guy personally, because I donít know him, but he seems to be a big Kool Keith Fan. Heís Rather Stuck on Sex Style...oh and his new album cover is strangely similar to The Dopestyle 1231 cover
MVRemix: D) Just Blaze
Never heard of him.
MVRemix: E) Fredwreck
Heís an old friend from the Wake-Up Show and Bay Area crew. Iím happy to see him have success, no diss but I honestly couldnít tell a Fred beat apart from the others. Keep doing your thing Freddy!
MVRemix: Switching gears, what are your thoughts on President Bush getting re-elected?
The Redneck always Wins! If the democrats were serious about trying to beat Bush the would have got a redernecked okie to run. Shit I know plenty! Their choice for Kerry to run was plain stupid!
MVRemix: What else do you have going on in the immediate future that you would like the fans to know about?
Working on Motion Mans second AlbumÖItís coming along dope!
MVRemix: What artists have you recently worked with (or sold beats to)
Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Cher.
MVRemix: Anything else you would like to discuss that we haven't covered already?
Iíd like to discuss my disgust with the alternative rap label and crowd. Fuck that shit it's the new trip-hop!
MVRemix: Any last words, shout outs, plugs, etc?
Check out my label web site www.threshrecs.com, dope videos, merchandise, the message board and more.