Tag Archives: House Shoes

New Joint – Big Shoes (Big Tone & House Shoes)

Big Shoes (Big Tone & House Shoes) – “Homage” (StreetCornerMusic.BandCamp.Com / 2020)

Big Tone and House Shoes relive some 90s Detroit Hip-Hop history on this captivating cut off their brilliant 2019 album “Big Shoes”.

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2019 (Part Five) – Little Brother / 38 Spesh & Big Ghost Ltd / Foreign Beggars etc.

Check Part One, Part Two, Part Three & Part Four.

Little Brother – “May The Lord Watch” (LittleBrotherNC.Com) – An absolute masterpiece of an album, this reunion project from Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh found the two North Carolina emcees offering mature, honest views and opinions on life, career and society, backed by the soulful thump of producers such as Khrysis, Nottz and Focus.

little brother cover

Ded Tebiase & Ash The Author – “Apex” (VillageLiveRecords.Com) – Succeeding in their shared mission for 2019 which was to “step the levels up”, this joint effort from UK producer / emcee combo Ded Tebiase and Ash The Author was full of sublime, drum-heavy beats and sharp, charismatic wordplay. Tebiase proved himself to be a true master of his craft here, blending the influence of golden-era greats with his own sonic personality, whilst Ash remained lively and engaging throughout. Brilliant musical team-work.

apex cover

Sleep Sinatra – “Sources Of Nature” (GourmetDeluxxx.BandCamp.Com) – Delivering more of that “intricately manufactured quality product” that he’s become known for, Sleep Sinatra continued his run of consistency with this Custodian Of Records-produced project. Showcasing his impressive brand of thoughtful, introspective wordplay over melodic, full-bodied beats, the Nebraska-based emcee once again proved himself to be a lyricist who is clearly invested in elevating the art of rhyme.

sleep sinatra cover

Kev Brown & J Scienide – “Drum Machine Tape Cassette” (KevBrown.BandCamp.Com) – The DMV duo shared their undeniable creative chemistry throughout this full-length collabo project, packed with impressive beat science and accomplished verses. Grounded in a satisfyingly raw and spontaneous dusty basement sound, this album proved itself to be a joy for crate-diggers and lyric-lovers alike.

brown scienide cover

Knowledge The Pirate – “Black Cesar” (FXCKRAP.BandCamp.Com) – Following up 2018’s “Flintlock” album, East Coast emcee Knowledge The Pirate dropped more street-related rhymes from an OG’s perspective on this Elemnt-produced project. Detailed, cinematic verses sat perfectly atop a meticulously crafted selection of loops and samples.

cesar cover

Big Tone + House Shoes – “Big Shoes” (StreetCornerMusic.BandCamp.Com) – Years of combined personal Hip-Hop history were poured into this collaborative effort from Big Tone and House Shoes, two individuals who each played a key role in the Detroit Hip-Hop scene during a pivotal period for the city in terms of it receiving attention on a global scale. Aside from dope bars and quality production in abundance, this album resonated with experience, passion and determination.

Ronnie Bosh – “All People Expect” (HighFocus.BandCamp.Com) – Full of character and understated swagger, this long-awaited debut album from London’s Bosh definitely delivered the goods. Mixing punchline-heavy verses and concept-driven tracks with infectious hooks and the well-executed production of Dirty Dike, this was a slow-burner that offered something new each time you played it.

Murs – “The Iliad Is Dead And The Odyssey Is Over” (MursRaps.Com) – Time has proven again and again that when former Living Legends member Murs gets together with producer 9th Wonder, good music is guaranteed. This concise project from the LA lyricist (featuring additional musical input from 9th’s Soul Council) continued that tradition. Murs’ talent for blending humour, social observations and emcee arrogance was in full effect here, backed by brilliantly tailored production which gave his personality-filled rhymes just the right amount of sonic kick.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Bandana” (Madlib.BandCamp.Com) – Following up 2014’s brilliant “Piñata”album,  sonic odd couple Gibbs and Madlib once again demonstrated that opposites really do attract, with Freddie’s Indiana-influenced gangsta rhymes sounding right at home over the eclectic, unpredictable sample-heavy soundscapes of the West Coast producer.

DJ Muggs & Crimeapple – “Medallo” (SoulAssassins.Com) – Another fine example of Cypress Hill’s Muggs keeping his ear to the underground, this release found the LA-based producer linking with New Jersey’s Crimeapple, an artist who has steadily built a buzz for himself over the last few years with his sharp lyrical wit. The sparse, stripped-back sonics heard here gave the East Coast artist’s verses plenty of room to breathe, allowing Crime’s skills to be fully appreciated.

MED & Guilty Simpson – “Child Of The Jungle” (BangYaHead.BandCamp.Com) – An entertaining meeting of two sonically like-minded individuals, this joint effort from Cali’s MED and Detroit’s Guilty Simpson was organic, impressive and thoroughly enjoyable. The pair delivered blue-collar bars throughout, backed by some of the finest production of the year from the likes of Madlib, Nottz, Apollo Brown and more.

Griselda – “WWCD” (ShadyRecords.Com) – Having flooded the market in recent times with a string of quality solo projects, Buffalo’s Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine and Benny The Butcher finally delivered the crew album that Griselda fans had been waiting for. Produced by Daringer and the UK’s Beat Butcha, this project was another dose of uncut street music, with the trio showing no signs of running out of hard-knock stories to tell.

Nolan The Ninja – “SPORTEE” (MelloMusicGroup.BandCamp.Com) – Detroit’s Nolan The Ninja rhymes like his life depends on it, and that sense of urgency was felt throughout this 5YNot-produced album; a well-crafted collection of vibrant, energetic verses, broken beats and crackling samples. The Motor City artist’s passion for Hip-Hop could clearly be heard on every track included here.

Micall Parknsun & Giallo Point – “The Magnum Opus” (GialloPoint.BandCamp.Com) – Arguably the hardest working producer of 2019, Giallo Point closed the year out alongside fellow UK representative Micall Parknsun, delivering this epic sixteen-track project packed with robust rhymes, understated, drama-fuelled loops and strong appearances from the likes of Da Flyy Hooligan, Juga-Naut, Jehst and more.

38 Spesh & Big Ghost Ltd – “A Bullet For Every Heathen” (38SpeshAirVinyls.BandCamp.Com) – Continuing his relentless work ethic of recent times, Rochester, NY’s 38 Spesh teamed-up with the mighty Big Ghost Ltd for this impressive display of gritty, street-related beats and rhymes. Vivid verses matched with atmospheric production ensured this project stood-out from those in a similar lane.

Sean Price & Lil Fame – “Price Of Fame” (SeanPriceLilFame.BandCamp.Com) – Tag-teaming like a heavyweight Hip-Hop wrestling duo, the late, great Sean Price and M.O.P.’s Lil Fame delivered some good old-fashioned Brooklyn hard-rock flavour on this rowdy collection of stripped-down beats and New York straight talk. BK all day!

junclassic – “SIZE: Husky” (junclassic.BandCamp.Com) – Veteran Queens, NY emcee junclassic dropped a new addition to his already extensive catalogue of unique Rotten Apple rap in the form of this quality Husky-produced project, which mixed true-school sensibilities with moments of musical experimentation.

Klashnekoff – “Iona” (Klashnekoff.BandCamp.Com) – UK rap legend Klashnekoff has always had a talent for injecting heartfelt emotion and personal experience into his verses, but on this particular project (his first for seven years), the London emcee proved that his pen game had elevated to even higher heights since we last heard from him. A concept-driven album, based around the loss of his mother, K-Lash poured raw honesty and feeling into every track here, resulting in a genuinely soul-stirring listening experience.

Pounds x Buckwild – “Trafficante” (Pounds.BandCamp.Com) – Rochester, NY’s Pounds paired his gruff, street-savvy delivery with the dusty-fingered production of Diggin’ In The Crates legend Buckwild for this brooding collection of East Coast head-nodders. Appearances from Roc Marciano, Benny The Butcher and Crimeapple added further lyrical weight to the project.

Foreign Beggars – “Matriarchy” (ForeignBeggars.BandCamp.Com) – Since the 2003 release of their classic debut album “Asylum Speakers”, London’s Foreign Beggars crew have built a strong reputation for delivering genre-blurring beats and rhymes of the highest standard. This final long-player from the group was a brilliant blend of styles, offering a grateful nod to the late-90s / early-2000s UK Hip-Hop scene the Beggars came out of, whilst embracing the more contemporary sounds of the present day. Sonically refreshing and lyrically inspiring, this was a fitting way for the FBs to say farewell. Thanks for the musical memories!

 

New Joint – Big Tone + House Shoes

Big Tone + House Shoes – “From My Mouth To Gods Ears” (@STREETCORNERSCM / 2019)

Thought-provoking, street-smart rhymes and speaker-slapping beats from the Motor City duo’s dope collabo album “Big Shoes”.

New Joint – Big Tone & House Shoes

scm logo

Big Tone & House Shoes – “From My Mouth To God’s Ears” (@StreetCornerSCM / 2019)

Thick, speaker-vibrating drums, melodic samples and masterful rhyme skills combine on this dope lead single off the forthcoming “Big Shoes” album from Detroit staples Big Tone and House Shoes, a project which is sure to add another worthwhile chapter to the Motor City Hip-Hop history books.

 

New Joint – Crimeapple

crime pic

Crimeapple – “Neighborhood Robert Englund” (_Crimeapple_ /  2018)

The New Jersey emcee stamps his lyrical mark on a House Shoes loop – don’t sleep!

Bits & Pieces (The House Shoes Mixtape) Stream – Finale

finale cover

Prior to the Mello Music Group release of his forthcoming “Odds & Ends” album, Detroit’s Finale teams-up with hometown hero House Shoes to give those who slept a chance to wake up and peep his impressive back-catalogue.

House Shoes Presents: The Gift Vol. 8 Album Stream – Raj Mahal

raj mahal cover

House Shoes, certified Detroit legend and all-round supporter of quality music, drops the latest in his “Gift” series highlighting the soulful, futuristic thump and instrumental abstractions of fellow Motor City-raised maestro Raj Mahal – listen here.

Dreams – B.I.G. Re:Imagined Mixtape Download – House Shoes / Nottz / 14KT etc

House-Shoes-Presents-DREAMS1-640x640

Inspired by the recent March 9th anniversary of Biggie’s untimely death, Detroit’s House Shoes enlisted the help of fellow producers Nottz, 14KT, Waajeed and more to remix a selection of Notorious classics including “Kick In The Door”, “The What” and “One More Chance” – download here.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2012 (Part One) – Roc Marciano / Mystro / House Shoes etc.

vinyl rack pic

With 2012 almost out the door, it’s about that time for magazines, websites and blogs to take the customary look back over the last twelve months to highlight those releases most worthy of recognition for really hitting the sonic bullseye during the course of the year.

Whilst the usual debates concerning the state of Hip-Hop have continued to rage on street corners, social media sites and everywhere else music fans may congregate, inbetween the vast amount of mediocre and downright terrible music that’s come from the mainstream / underground rap worlds during 2012, there’s also been a decent number of impressive album and EP releases from various corners of Planet Rock which have all delivered in terms of quality, creativity and overall dopeness.

As I always say when putting a list like this together, the projects and artists included in this 2012 round-up aren’t the only names and releases that were worth checking over the last year, but they are the ones that spent the most time booming out of my headphones and speakers.

So, in no particular order…

Roc Marciano – “Reloaded” (Decon) – With the release of 2010’s “Marcberg” album transforming Strong Island’s Roc Marciano from respected underground emcee to Hip-Hop cult hero, the former UN member refined his Rotten Apple sound even further on this sophomore solo shot, delivering a relentless barrage of vivid wordplay over melodic, minimalist production.

roc marci cover

Nas – “Life Is Good” (Def Jam) – Arguably Queensbridge’s favourite son’s most cohesive and consistent body of work since 1994’s timeless “Illmatic”. Nas might not have chalked-up another universal classic with his latest album, but he did sound more comfortable in his own skin on this project than he has done in a long time, as he reminisced about 90s New York, dealt with parental responsibility and reflected on his recent marriage problems.

nas cover 1

Mystro – “Mystrogen” (Don’t Bizznizz) – Having started 2012 amidst rumours of retirement, veteran London emcee MysDiggi laid any such talk to rest with the release of his long-awaited debut full-length, lacing a varied selection of up-beat production from the likes of Mr. Thing and Black Einstein with his witty verses, leftfield life observations and sharp humour.

mystro pic 3

DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles – “Kolexxxion” (Gracie Productions / Works Of Mart) – The infamous Freddie Foxxx teaming-up with hardcore composer DJ Premier for a full-length project was always going to result in something memorable and “Kolexxxion” definitely lived up to expectations. Bumpy proudly displayed his OG stripes, schooling upcoming artists on the rules of the game and giving his opinion on the state of the culture, whilst Premier crafted an impeccable selection of thoroughbred bangers tough enough to crack concrete.

kolexxxion cover

Keith Science – “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” (Central Wax Records) – A polished collection of instrumentals from the New Jersey-based producer, this album encompassed a number of different musical vibes and emotions, ranging from jazzy optimism to aggressive boom-bap, with each track maintaining its own unique sonic personality thanks to Science’s mastery of true-school Hip-Hop production.

keith science cover

Apollo Brown & OC – “Trophies” (Mello Music Group) – Having built himself a solid reputation as the go-to man for drum-heavy underground production, Detroit’s Apollo Brown tested his talents to the limit by joining forces with legendary D.I.T.C. emcee OC, resulting in a quality concept-driven album full of head-nodding beats and lyrical jewels that contained enough creative chemistry to make the uninitiated think the pair had been recording together for years.

trophies cover

Timeless Truth – “Brugal & Presidentes” (Timeless Truth) – Steeped in Rotten Apple heritage, Queens, NY brothers Solace and Oprime39 paid homage to their city’s traditional boom-bap sound on this EP unleashed at the top of 2012 without sounding like they were simply chasing the musical ghosts of a lost era. The duo’s intense, sample-heavy style and ferocious verbal artillery kept heads salivating all year for the release of their recent full-length “Rock-It Science”.

timeless truth ep

Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought – “Attractive Sin” (Parallel Thought Ltd) – Ice Cube’s cousin has faced criticism in recent times for being just a little too off-the wall on some of his solo material, but whether it was a conscious decision or just natural creativity, on this Parallel Thought-produced project the Hiero emcee sounded more focused than he has in a long time. Backed by beats ranging from anthemic West Coast funk (“On Momma’s House”) to breakbeat-driven old-school flavour (“1520 Sedgewick”), Del delivered a potent lession in lyrical excellence that recalled the brilliance of his early critically-acclaimed work.

del album cover

DJ Format – “Statement Of Intent” (Project Blue Book) – A rejuvenated Format returned to burn on his third album, pulling together musical influences that ranged from old-school New York block parties and 80s electro to golden-era greatness, creating a diverse but ultimately-satisfying musical mosaic featuring the likes of Edan, Mr. Lif and Phill Most Chill holding down microphone duties. An entertaining sonic journey back to the future.

dj format cover

House Shoes – “Let It Go” (Tres Records) – A close friend of the late, great Dilla and a talented producer in his own right, Detroit’s House Shoes pulled together an impressive line-up of Motown talent such as Black Milk and Guilty Simpson plus a few out-of-towners (Roc Marciano, The Alchemist etc) to ensure his official debut album was something to remember. Clearly feeling he had something to prove to the non-believers out there, “Let It Go” wasn’t just the sound of a producer putting together a typical compilation-style album, this was the sound of a man on a musical mission.

house shoes album cover

Ryan Proctor

Part Two coming soon.

New Joint – House Shoes / SelfSays / Fat Albert Einstein

House Shoes ft. SelfSays & Fat Albert Einstein – “Roller Coaster” (Tres Records / 2012)

Taken from the Detroit champion’s recent album “Let It Go”.

New Joint – House Shoes / Danny Brown

House Shoes ft. Danny Brown – “Sweet” (Tres Records / 2012)

Taken from the Detroit producer’s recent critically-acclaimed album “Let It Go”.

New Joint – House Shoes / Jimetta Rose

House Shoes ft. Jimetta Rose – “Castles” (Tres Records / 2012)

Soulful vibes from the Detroit producer’s recent album “Let It Go”.

New Joint – House Shoes / Big Tone

House Shoes ft. Big Tone – “Time” (Tres Records / 2012)

Taken from the Detroit producer’s impressive album “Let It Go” which also features Roc Marciano, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk and more.

Album Review – House Shoes

House Shoes

“Let It Go”

(Tres Records)

A longstanding influence in the Detroit Hip-Hop scene, close friend of the late, great J. Dilla and a talented producer in his own right, Motown’s House Shoes is already something of a legend in his own time. From releasing hometown emcee Phat Kat’s classic “Dedication To The Suckers” single on his own indie label in the late-90s to more recently acting as tour deejay for the likes of Black Milk and Elzhi, House Shoes’ limitless passion for Detroit music and his desire to see local talent exposed has led to his name becoming synonymous with quality D-Town beats and rhymes, whether he’s playing them, tweeting about them, or making them himself.

“Let It Go”, House Shoes’ debut release for Los-Angeles-based imprint Tres, has been a long time coming, a project that both fans and no doubt the Midwest native himself have been desperate to see drop. An opportunity for House Shoes to fully showcase his production skills, draw attention to underground Detroit artists and also work with established figures from across the US, “Let It Go” sounds like the producer is doing just that, exhaling years of hard-work, struggle and determination throughout the eighteen-track set.

The main strength of this is album is that, irrespective of the long list of featured artists, as producer, it remains House Shoes’ project at all times. The main problem with many producer-led albums is that the individual behind the boards can sometimes appear overwhelmed by the diversity of styles brought to the table by their rhyming counterparts, leading to a producer bending their trademark sound to fit featured guests, which can result in nothing more than a patchy compilation rather than a cohesive body of work guided by the direction of one musical mind.

The sonic personality of House Shoes, however, is stamped all over “Let It Go” and is strong enough to constantly remain the driving force behind the project. No matter who’s on the mic, it’s House Shoes’ quality production that remains the primary focus of each track.

The instrumental “Empire / Get Down” officially begins proceedings, a melodic blend of swirling synths and knocking drums that builds into a stirring symphony of epic, bass-heavy brilliance, creating a feeling that the listener is on the verge of hearing something monumental as the remainder of the album unfolds.

After the ethereal vibes of that opening track, the Moe Dirtee-assisted “Goodfellas To Bad Boys” drags the project straight back into the streets of Detroit, with the upcoming emcee delivering gritty-but-witty gangsta rhymes over cinematic production that brings with it an atmosphere of drama and urgency. The subtle “Dirt” (featuring The Alchemist, Oh No and Roc Marciano) is built around a muffled bassline that sounds like it was recorded through a wall from the studio next door, with NY’s Marcberg dropping one of the best verses on the album, rhyming himself into a syllable-crazed frenzy with his usual mix of vividly rugged street observations and delicate wordplay.

The sparse “Crazy” features Black Milk and Guilty Simpson combining forces with House Shoes to create another certified Motor City banger, whilst the short-but-effective “Everything (Modern Family)” finds Fatt Father navigating the complexities of a broken relationship over a simple, string-laden soul loop that injects further emotion into the lyricist’s sincere rhymes.

St. Louis artist Black Spade delivers a brilliant performance on the effortlessly dope “Sunrise”, searching for success and enlightenment over hypnotic jazzy vibes and rolling drums expertly chopped by House Shoes (“Wanna be in the place where they like ‘Black Spade run it’, Like when Biggie was on The Source awards saying ‘Brooklyn we done it'”).

“Castles (The Sky Is Ours)”, the previously-released dedication to House Shoes’ friend J1, takes the album in an unexpected-but-welcome direction, a heartfelt track featuring vocalist Jimetta Rose turning the tragedy of losing loved ones into beautiful music, using memories of good times shared as inspiration to push on through life and honour those no longer with us.

It’s not overly dramatic to say that you can literally hear the heart and soul of House Shoes seeping through the beats of every track on “Let It Go”. His ability to work easily with artists as varied as the unpredictable Danny Brown and animated Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 fame without losing any of his own style and musical approach is evidence of both his vision and talent as a producer.

A definite triumph, “Let It Go” is a strong release that should finally see House Shoes being given the same well-deserved exposure he’s fought so hard to see other Detroit artists experience over the years. Salute!

Ryan Proctor

House Shoes ft. Nottz, Oh No & MED – “Last Breath” (Tres Records / 2012)

From Detroit To LA – House Shoes

In preparation for the release of his forthcoming album “Let It Go”, this mini-documentary features Detroit legend and talented producer House Shoes discussing his musical history.

 

New Joint – House Shoes / Nottz / Oh No / MED

House Shoes ft. Nottz, Oh No & MED – “Last Breath” (Tres Records / 2012)

Heavy beat science from the Detroit legend’s forthcoming album “Let It Go”.

The Makings Pt. 2 Mixtape Download – House Shoes

In preparation for the Detroit legend’s forthcoming album “Let It Go” the crew at Tres Records have compiled this second collection of previous House Shoes-produced tracks from Elzhi, Quelle Chris, MarvWon and more – peep it here.