Coo Coo Cal broke one of his own rules for "How Does It Feel to Ya," the KayGee-produced single from Cal's first nationally distributed album, Disturbed.
"I had written a totally different song to the beat he made for me," Coo Coo Cal said. "I'd never let somebody tell me, 'Write about something else, do something different.' He told me to do that. I was telling a story about how everything in my career happened, from the beginning to me being right there in his basement doing the song. He asked me to change it and I did. I think I did that because he's my elder, as far as this game goes. Just for this one time, I looked him in the eye, respected him and did it."
The song, which follows Cal's breakthrough "My Projects" single, features guest vocals from Koffee Brown and Midwikid and contains a silky groove that could make it a nationwide radio mainstay. Coo Coo Cal raps about the finer aspects of Midwest life on the cut, while the video models itself on a kitschy musical.
"It's going to put you in the mind frame of 'Grease,'" the Milwaukee rapper said of the video. "We're at a diner that's been in business for like 60 years. We've got old-school 1940s cars with candy paint. We've got a lot of beautiful women. This dude pulls up and catches me talking to his girl. Then he gets to talking crazy and we race, like in 'Greased Lightning.'"
This may be the second time this year lightning strikes for Coo Coo Cal. The first, "My Projects," was an instant smash; the remix featuring Trick Daddy and Kurupt was recorded so quickly it could only be included as a hidden track on Disturbed.
Despite what appears to be his overnight rise to success, Coo Coo Cal released two albums Walkin' Dead and Still Walkin' on Milwaukee-based Infinite Recordings before breaking through with "My Projects." Cal's fiery flow and exaggerated enunciation helped the rapper develop a strong reputation in the Midwest.
"Most people tell me they like my delivery," he said. "Plus, 90
percent of what I'm kicking is real. I know people get tired of hearing it, but it is what it is. You can't talk about something you don't know about and still make somebody else feel it."
Twista, the talented Chicago rapper who appears on Disturbed's "Still Ride Till We Die," is a long-time admirer. "He was one of the first artists who'd been to the level I'm trying to get to that was showing a whole lot of support," Cal said.
Twista's support foreshadowed that of others, from KayGee to Koffee Brown to Trick Daddy to Kurupt to New York DJ Cipha Sounds. The latter, a co-executive producer of Disturbed, was one of many who offered Coo Coo Cal motivation.
"I was getting million-dollar people standing in my face telling me I'm cold, and they're in the business I want to be in," Cal said. "They've got millions and I don't. That's telling me something."