FREE BLCK. INTERVIEW “IT’S UNPLUGGED ART.”
Free Blck. was first introduced to us as the next big that will come out of Dallas. Upon meeting them and working with them on our SOUNDCHECK Session we have to say we agree. These guys have everything it takes from talent to charisma. Their live session we recorded was so good we had to make sure we put in the intro that it was a live take so people didn’t think it was pre-recorded…. need we say more? Well, we will because we sat down and talked to them to get the low down on everything in their life musically and personally. We will say however, after this interview, we went on to record said SOUNDCHECK Session and ended up spending a good amount of time with these guys. free blck. and their families welcomed us in with open arms (and mimosas) and it was a truly great experience that will go down in The Honey history. These guys are special and it won’t be long before everyone else catches on.
THE HONEY: WHEN DID FREE BLCK. START?
KAAMO: “As a group, probably the top of the year, January. But we always been collabing and I’ve been knowing them for ten plus years.”
UR HIGHNESS: “He’s the X-Factor” (Kaamo)
KAAMO: “I’ve been knowing Highness since second grade and Scuttino since seventh grade.”
THE HONEY: SO WHERE DID Y’ALL GROW UP THEN?
FREE BLCK.: “Oak Cliff.”
KAAMO: “We (Scuttino and Kaamo) went to the same middle school and my mom and his mom are best friends (Highness and Kaamo). That’s my brother right here.”
THE HONEY: BEFORE Y’ALL WERE DOING THIS TOGETHER, WERE Y’ALL PURSUING MUSIC INDIVIDUALLY?
KAAMO: “Yes, but I don’t feel like I was taking it seriously. I’ve only been rapping for like four years.”
HIGHNESS: “I’ve been rapping for like ten years.”
SCUTTINO: “I’ve always been rapping since I was a child.”
HIGHNESS: “Yeah, I started taking it seriously around 2014/2015”
SCUTTINO: “I started taking it seriously in March, when I dropped the tape-”
KAAMO: “Oh yeah, please go get that ‘kid tape.'”
THE HONEY: SO Y’ALL ARE STILL DOING STUFF INDIVIDUALLY?
KAAMO: “Well yeah, that’s what free blck. is.”
THE HONEY: OKAY, SO WHAT’S FREE BLCK.?
KAAMO: “free blck. is… first of all it’s unplugged art and from there we do whatever we want. We’re not confined to nothing. That’s the whole point of the free part, we do whatever we want.”
THE HONEY: SO WHAT MADE Y’ALL WANT TO COME TOGETHER?
SCUTTINO: “I forced myself in because they had it together already and I was like I want IN.”
HIGHNESS: “No, it was still in the process…”
KAAMO: “It was look… yo, we didn’t have it set in stone. The free blck. name; I had already come up with it and I was talking to him (Ur Highness) like ‘let’s do a duo’ and he said ‘let’s do it’ but all three of us… I always keep him (Scuttino) in the loop. My momma and my auntie have been in the music industry for like 30 plus years.”
KAAMO: “So, when they heard him they were like ‘bring him along anytime.’ My momma treat him like a son, so every time we had meetings with producers and stuff we take him along. But they were always like ‘y’all need to be a group.'”
THE HONEY: YOUR MOM AND AUNT?
KAAMO: “Nah like people in general. Everyone said ‘y’all need to be a group.'”
SCUTTINO: “But there’s a lot of us. We gonna start our own label eventually. We got like a collective; out of everyone that we had, they were like ‘y’all three need to do something.'”
KAAMO: “He (Scuttino) came at us with the pitch of the decade and we had to do it.”
THE HONEY: WHAT WAS THE PITCH?
KAAMO: “You had to be there. We was like some women he just met; everyone in the room was like…(looks around) I don’t see why not.”
SCUTTINO: “I was just spitting game, like ‘please bro just let me in here.’ It’s been a wrap ever since.”
KAAMO: “Then, we recorded our first official song which was No ID. We did that like two or three months after we formed. It was like ‘lets chill and make some music.’ 10 to 15 minutes and it was done. We was like ‘let’s do a video’ and then we dropped a video and that was the start of free blck.”
SCUTTINO: “It’s lit bro, look at us!”
THE HONEY: YOU (KAAMO) WERE SAYING SOMETHING EARLIER ABOUT WHAT FREE BLCK IS….”
KAAMO: “It’s really unplugged art. It’s like one mans trash is another mans gold.”
HIGHNESS: “Like do you know what I can do with this?”
KAAMO: “Yeah, we can turn those scraps into… like that’s what we is; we came from where we came from. We all have stories that we will eventually tell one day.”
HIGHNESS: “You know what I can do with that?”
SCUTTINO: “Seeing something old, it’s just understanding there’s some type of story behind it. You don’t know exactly what it is; there’s some story behind an old ass car, behind just a rusty ass pair of scissors…”
KAAMO: “It didn’t just come out rusty.”
SCUTTINO: “Facts. It went through some shit.”
KAAMO: “On my momma, that’s how we are.”
THE HONEY: SO, WHAT’S Y’ALLS STORY?
KAAMO: “We’re gonna hold some of that because that’s the mystique behind it. We’re trying to bring some mystique back to the game at the same time. We aren’t gonna tell y’all everything.”
SCUTTINO: “Y’all be catching messages in the music.”
KAAMO: “Yeah, we throw a lot of messages in the music, like personal and everything. Y’all just have to listen.”
THE HONEY: SO WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MESSAGE YOU CAN SHARE FROM YOUR RELEASE NO ID.?
KAAMO: “Flesh is only for the eyes; it’s deeper than that. It’s just for us to see; no i.d. no identification. Free.”
UR HIGHNESS: “Free.”
SCUTTINO: “That’s just the vibe. You gotta admit, just the song is a vibe in itself. Most people don’t even know why they like it and it’s because it’s hard, you feel everything.”
KAAMO: “It make you feel like you’re free. If you ain’t got no ID and the police pull up on you, your adrenaline starts rushing and you’re like ‘damn I aint got no identification.’
HIGHNESS: “Then theirs start rushing too because they’re like who is this?”
KAAMO: “The uncertainty is everything. I love adrenaline. We in-the-moment people so, whatever we feel in that moment we do it.”
THE HONEY: IS THERE A LEAD?
KAAMO: “Nah, we just free.”
THE HONEY: HOW OFTEN DO Y’ALL RECORD?
SCUTTINO: “Every chance we get. It’s been a little scarce lately.”
KAAMO: “We’re fathers.”
KAAMO: “Each of us have two plus. All together we got like nine.”
HIGHNESS: “Yeah, let’s keep the mystique there.”
SCUTTINO: “That’s fine, you figure out who got who. On God, I was about to start saying how many each of us got. Pay attention and you will find out.” (All laughing).
THE HONEY: “WAIT… HOW OLD ARE Y’ALL?”
SCUTTINO: “He’s 160”
KAAMO: “He’s super mysterious. He’s the real mysterious one. I’ll probably let you in more than anyone.”
SCUTTINO: “Depends on what it is, depends on my mood. I might.”
THE HONEY: WHY DO Y’ALL WANT TO BE MYSTERIOUS?
KAAMO: “Because social media, it gives you access to everybody and makes everyone seem famous. I’m not saying that we want to be famous but growing up, I felt like I couldn’t touch Usher or I couldn’t go up to or message Chris Brown or Lil’ Wayne. Like, I couldn’t do that but now I’m like ‘shoot, let me go DM Lil’ Wayne.’ He might not look at it but let me go do that. I didn’t have access to that back then.”
SCUTTINO: “Ultimately, you’re more intrigued on something that you don’t know much about.”
KAAMO: “Frank ocean, one of the most intriguing artists ever. Rihanna…. them artist really love the art and I love the art.”
HIGHNESS: “And I’m a pisces too, I’m just throwing that out there.”
SCUTTINO: “That boy know his astrologies.”
KAAMO: “I do too, Aquarius game.”
THE HONEY: “Oh okay, I was going to stop asking personal questions.”
SCUTTINO: “That’s what it is. You’re gonna get a left handed answer but you’re gonna get an answer. I’m a cancer though what are you?”
THE HONEY: “Aries”
SCUTTINO: “One of my daughters is an Aries.”
KAAMO: “Ooh, he giving it away. You said one of my daughters, you’re giving it away. She’s gonna go back and listen to this.”
THE HONEY: WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR FREE BLCK. FOR Y’ALL?
SCUTTINO: “Life, art, everything. I think that gold thing look cool right there. That can inspire me on how free it is. I hear someone sneeze a certain way and I like it.”
KAAMO: “Facts. This whole room is free.”
THE HONEY: SO, WITH SUCH AN EMPHASIS ON FREE AND BEING FREE… HAS THERE BEEN A TIME FOR EACH OF YOU WHEN YOU HAVEN’T FELT FREE? AND THAT’S WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO Y’ALL?
KAAMO: “Mannnnn, on God. I felt constricted all my life.”
SCUTTINO: “I haven’t felt that all my life. Until we formed like, well, probably a few years before… and then we started having in-depth conversations with each other and I was like ‘bro me too, I feel the same way.'”
KAAMO: “We be connecting and we was like, lets be free blck.”
SCUTTINO: “Yeah that’s what really made it for the most part but I feel like for me personally, there was a long amount of time when I felt like just it was hard to be kind of accepted. So, when I stopped trying…. You know what I’m saying….”
KAAMO: “Facts. I feel like that’s too easy with work being one of the most important ones making me feel like I ain’t free. Everyday I have to wake up and go make some money for somebody else. I was like man I’ve been working at [this one place], and I was really making good money. I’m not gonna lie.”
SCUTTINO: “But it was confining, it wasn’t fulfilling.”
KAAMO: “I was getting these good ass checks and I was like ‘man, I have no desire to do shit.’ So, I said ‘man forget that shit’ and I quit. This was prior to knowing I wanted to rap for real and I was just feeling it out and then I was like ‘let me attempt something.’ Music was always in me.
SCUTTINO: “What made you want to rap bro?”
HIGHNESS: “Oh was that the question?”
KAAMO: “No but now we gave her a story.”
HIGHNESS: “My little story is that growing up, we always hear it’s a free country and then we all realize it ain’t really free. That’s the narrative they push but hello, hello you gotta pay for that. It ain’t free. But I mean I had to unlearn a bunch of shit and once you start seeing shit for what it is. Like learning shit and unlearning shit…”
THE HONEY: LIKE WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
HIGHNESS: “Just like all the regular, the norm.”
KAAMO: “The system, the way of the world.”
SCUTTINO: “And then you figure out, ‘I can make this shit happen the way I want it to. I don’t have to abide by your rules. I don’t have to do shit this way, I don’t have to go this way.'”
HIGHNESS: “You know how growing up, they use to make fun of the kids that were like ‘why, why, why?’ That was really the question! Why? They didn’t have no answers but once you go up and start figuring why to all the questions to why.”
SCUTTINO: “My little ones anytime they have a question, I’m gonna answer it.”
KAAMO: “And if not I’ll Google it and be like ‘let’s figure it out together.'”
HIGHNESS: “It use to be why, why? Shut up!”
KAAMO: “Yeah that’s how they did us! I’m not doing that to my kids.”
SCUTTINO: “In a sense, like how we came up, is the reason we’re so free now because we just want to know more. Like, it was restrictive even in school; they want you to learn this certain stuff.”
THE HONEY: IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR FAMILIES ARE SUPPORTIVE… OR DID YALL HAVE TO PUSH AGAINST AND TELL THEM YOU WANTED TO PURSUE THIS?
SCUTTINO: “It’s always like that in the beginning.”
KAAMO: “You gotta have some good product to back it up. If I was trash, my momma would be like ‘nah go get a job.'”
SCUTTINO: “My momma, whatever I wanna do she’s like okay do it but my dad was like ‘oh hell nah,’ but when he was on board that’s when I knew. There was one day, I played something for him and he was like ‘do you know what you got?'”
KAAMO: “They never be overly excited, they gotta hold that shit in.”
SCUTTINO: “Now when I send my dad some shit…. he gets super excited, he calls me and is like ‘HEY you know what you did???’ That’s how I know it’s progress.”
KAAMO: “My momma, when I send her a song, she gonna call me and critique it, each line, each verse, each bar like ‘now why did you say this right here, well I guess I liked it….” I know her bro.
HIGHNESS: “I dont send my momma nothin, she will find it if she wants to hear it.”
SCUTTINO: “I dont send it to my momma cause it’s not really her type of thing. But she’s on social media bro.”
SCUTTINO TO HIGHNESS: “Your momma be like, ‘now why are you talking about weed?'”
HIGHNESS: “Nah she’s past that.”
THE HONEY: HOW DO Y’ALL FEEL ABOUT PURSUING MUSIC IN DALLAS, TEXAS?
SCUTTINO: “A lot of motherfuckers think we’re out here competing but we’re not. Of course we’re gonna do big features with certain people that we already know but we’re gonna be up there and have a lot of Dallas people up there with us. It’s a big-ass gate bro but even if we have to make a chain of people to pull everybody one by one…”
KAAMO: “Everybody been stealing our (Dallas) swag for so long… for years, for so long.”
SCUTTINO: “Before you were even born bro! But this is where you come when you want the sauce; you come to Dallas but everyone wants to leave.”
KAAMO: “Sometimes they be hindering our city at the same time.”
SCUTTINO: “Facts, because if like…. if you link with a person who’s supposed to be putting everyone in position and you one of the fake ones, one of the not-genuine ones….It’s making everybody look bad.”
HIGHNESS: “That’s why we always have that stigma that Dallas don’t support Dallas.”
SCUTTINO: “Yeah and we gotta stop arguing. Every fucking day bro, I see some artists going at each other and that shit lame bro.”
KAAMO: “It’s already hard enough just to get a light on us; don’t mess it up by arguing with each other. Like man, let’s do this. We gonna get to that level where everyone grown and everyone’s rich but right now we just gotta climb.”
SCUTTINO: “We got a destination bro and right now, standing right here like in the same spot that you’re in and going at each other just fueding….”
KAAMO: “Some of that is just some miscommunication too bro.”
HIGHNESS: “Like just rap about it or sing about it.”
SCUTTINO: “If you gotta think it’s about you, it’s about you. One thing about me, you gonna get these bars. You say something left handed to me on social media, I ain’t gonna reply but you’re gonna get these bars.”
KAAMO: “I got kids… I ain’t got time to argue. I’m arguing with my kids… I can’t argue with nobody else kids. I’m all about positivity and love… and thats it.”
SCUTTINO: “That’s fire bro.”
HIGHNESS:: “We don’t want no devils in the house!”
SCUTTINO AND KAAMO: “Yeah and thats it!”
THE HONEY: WHAT IS Y’ALLS DESIRED DESTINATION? WHAT DO Y’ALL WANT FROM FREE BLCK.?
KAAMO: “It’s surface but it’s deep. You gotta look into that like what free really mean? It’s not about the money, I’m just tryna tell people y’all can be this too. I aspired to be a rapper, I did it. You can aspire to be a doctor… do it.”
SCUTTINO: “I think all of us as a collective aspire to show a lot of the youth that ‘look we did it, why you can’t?'”
KAAMO: “We all came up from the same place.”
SCUTTINO: “Same place you at right now… giving hope, you know, giving everything that we can. And as many people that we can bring with us, let’s bring em.’ This a 15 passenger van lets put 20 in it.
Follow along with free blck. here.
Interview by Milan Merlo