Pascal Chibuike Metu, “Kutee Lee”, is an artist whose music speaks of defiance and bleeds for nature.
Formerly a budding medical practitioner, Kutee Lee now expresses himself as an emo hip hop artist with a diverse sonic range, exploring themes of family, love, and betrayal, amongst others.
With Afrobeats hitting the global stage in recent times and several budding and equally talented artistes debuting each day, Kutee Lee has carved a niche for himself; a sound which is not only unique but also reflective of who he is, as an artiste and a person.
He is set to take the world by storm with his boundless talent and tenacious collective—Black Federation. Kutee Lee sat with TXT, giving us insights into his journey as an artiste;
TXT: How would you describe yourself to a total stranger?
Kutee Lee: This is difficult to answer, but I’m basically a chill guy that has a story to tell. I could say I’m a reserved person. The exciting and fun part of me is around my family, my few close friends and loved ones.
TXT: At what point did you know you wanted to make music?
Kutee Lee: When I was 14 years old, I’ve always wanted to create a feel with my story, and I knew the only way to get my words out there was through music, but I didn’t know how to go about it until I was introduced to my collective—Black Federation.
TXT: How would you describe your growth from your very first record?
Kutee Lee: I’m not close to the height I want to attain, but it’s been a huge growth, which has helped my confidence a great deal.
TXT: How did you get into the music scene, and how has the journey been so far?
Kutee-Lee: It’s actually an interesting story. I’ve always been a music lover who also happened to be curious about the process of creating it. My environment (where I grew up) at the time didn’t present me with many opportunities (you know what a typical African parent thinks about music) but I kept on writing stories just for fun, with no intention at the time of making them into songs. Until I met Momos (Dalton Foh).
He heard me freestyle and encouraged me to take the music more seriously. He signed me to the indie record label Black Federation. The journey so far has been fair but wasn’t anything close to what I expected it to be. I’m learning and getting used to it all.
TXT: Let’s talk “Need for Speed.” What was your creative process for writing and recording?
Kutee Lee: Need for Speed is—and this is a fact—the fastest song I’ve recorded.
I was in a session with Clogz and Miickey Metro when the idea came. It was a smooth recording session. ATAISI OGUTE was also present. He was the one that came up with the song title after he heard the hook.
TXT: What was the inspiration behind “Need for Speed”?
Kutee Lee: As a result of my experiences, my time on the streets, you always need to make a fast move. A fast ride is a necessity.
Like “Need for Speed” with my best friend Miickey Metro; sometimes we get high, hop into the car, hit the road in the late hours of the night and speed off in sports mode. In all, at this phase, we’re making progress, which is a win.
TXT: You have such great songs like “My Drug,” “Done Did It,” and “Need for Speed.” What is your favorite release so far?
Kutee-Lee: It’s probably between “My Drug” and “Need for Speed”. It’s very close to a tie, but I will go with “Need for Speed” because of the creation process, roll out plans, and general effort from everyone that worked together on this one with me.
TXT:How would you describe your musical style?
Kutee Lee: I’d say it’s calm but could still shake up the room when necessary. I love calm emo beats with dark melodies and storytelling hip hop. I also like fusing jazz sounds with hip-hop drums and dark melodies.
TXT: Who are your inspirations and influences in the music scene?
Kutee-Lee: I draw inspiration from many artists because I listen to a lot of genres, but a few stand out; Wizkid, Burna Boy, Kid Cudi, Kanye, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Peep.
TXT: What is the industry lesson you would give your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Kutee Lee: Though I’ve got a long way to go, so far it’ll be “Patience is key.” No matter what you’re going through at the moment, always remember that “this too shall pass” and I can’t stress enough the importance of a solid team, which is the most important thing. Everybody on your team should be a big fan of your work and believe in it as much as you do. Then, make certain that you trust each and every one of them with the role(s) they play in your career. Keep good relationships with everybody you’ve worked with; producers, engineers, artists; ‘cause it goes a long way.
TXT: Who did you listen to growing up? And how has that impacted your journey?
Kutee Lee: I listened to a lot of highlife music, gospel, and blues because of my dad. He’s a big music fan. I also listened to a lot of hip-hop and Afrobeat music, courtesy of my big brother. Their taste in music inspired mine. My greatest musical influence is Wizkid; he’s the reason I believe it’s possible for young African youth to make it via music and travel globally.
TXT: What’s in store for 2022? Should we expect a project maybe?
Kutee Lee: 2022 is a big year for me and my career. I will be dropping a series of EPs; two solos and a joint tape with Miickey Metro.
TXT: Are there any collaborations we should watch out for?
Kutee-Lee: Yeah, definitely. A lot of them, but spilling them would kill the fun and suspense.
TXT: What is the process of your production? Is there any ritual you do before you start working or while working?
Kutee-Lee: Nothing really. As long as I’ve got my joint and best buddy Metro with me, I’m good.
TXT: The music business can be hectic and chaotic at times—how do you unwind?
Kutee Lee: I will read more books to understand it than I already have, learn from my mistakes, and ask questions from folks that know more than I do know.
TXT: What would you call the best album of all time?
Kutee Lee: This is a tough one for someone like me who listens to a lot of artists and different genres of music. I think I will skip this one, lol.
TXT: What’s next for you?
Kutee Lee: Releasing a series of short projects that I made during my discovery phase. Thereafter I will focus on the sound I want to be identified with.