DJ House Shoes is a living relic of Detroit hip hop. Perennially underrated as a city, the capital of the Murda Mitten has silently been giving birth to some of the most innovative modern music in many genres — from hip hop to techno to soul — and House Shoes has been a raging bastion for his city’s hip-hop scene since the 90s.
One of the very first to champion the late great J. Dilla, he famously got a DAT tape (Google search that one, kids) of the classic Slum Village song “Players” right after it was cut in the studio and played it at the club. He hipped Peanut Butter Wolf to his genius beat-making friend and got the ball rolling on history. On his own House Shoes Records imprint, he released the classic 12″ by Phat Kat and J. Dilla, Dedication To The Suckers.
He also held down St. Andrews Hall, a legendary venue in the city, for 12 years as the premier resident DJ, influencing the taste of a city that in turned influenced the world.
All the while, he was quietly hammering away at the beat machine in his own right, creating his own take on the gritty soul that his city was known for fostering. He produced a classic record with the late great Proof. He had the aforementioned Dilla tap him for a beat for his famously unreleased MCA album Pay Jay (that cut didn’t leak when the majority of the LP did a few years ago, in case you Internet nerds are doubting my claim). Pretty much anyone worth their salt in the D could vouch that without the man known worldwide as House Shoes, the city wouldn’t shine quite as bright today.
This June, after a lifetime of connecting dots for other people and making sure his city was represented properly, Shoes is finally stepping out fully on his own with his debut LP, Let It Go, to be released this June on TRES Records. Eighteen tracks completely produced by the man himself, the album boasts a who’s who of underground hip hop.
The first leak, “Last Breath” features Virginia’s own Nottz (responsible for beats for Kanye West, Scarface and Lil’ Wayne), Madlib’s brother Oh No, and Oxnard OG MED aka Medaphoar. A chilling composition made even more macabre by a classic Prodigy sample, every MC comes with it on here.
A great indicator of what to expect from Let It Go, the song is grown man hip hop that has not grown soft. Behind the scene for years, House Shoes is ready for his motherfuckin’ close up.