Long time collaborator of J Dilla and Big Proof releases debut album on TRES Records. It feels wrong, though, to call this a ‘debut’ record because it doesn’t sound like a first-try. Official debut, or not, House Shoes is not new. He released the now treasure-hunted Jay Dee ‘Unreleased EP‘ (1996), and Phat Kat‘s classic ‘Dedication to the Suckers‘ (1999) on his own imprint. He’s produced for the late Big Proof (D12), J Dilla, Elzhi, and Danny Brown. He’s DJ’ed for Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Mayer Hawthorne, Slum Village, and too many more to list.
Technically, however, this is his debut album. One that hip-hop ‘know-somethings’ have been asking for (for years). One hes been holding on to for a while. One hes finally letting go. ‘Let It Go‘, features two discs. The first is a full-length album boasting features by the ‘heavyweights’ and the ‘hungry’ alike; balanced between artists accustomed to hip-hop limelight, and those still chasing it.
The project bats with a heavy-handed Motown roster. Detroit-bred collaborators include Big Tone, Moe Dirdee, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, and Danny Brown, among others. Los Angeles (Oh No, MED, The Alchemist, Co$$), Norfolk (Nottz), St. Louis (Black Spade), New York (Roc Marciano), and Chicago (Chali 2na, of Jurassic 5) pinch-hit throughout the project.
The second disc houses the instrumental versions. It showcases the claps, snares, kicks, and soul-filled samples that House Shoes plates for ‘Let It Go’ (and that might be overlooked next to the features, otherwise).
Songs like ‘Dirt‘ ft. Greneberg (Oh No, Alchemist, Roc Marciano) and ‘Everything (Modern Family)‘ ft. Fatt Father is tough to picture on the same project if listened to separately. In the context of ‘Let It Go’, however, they feel blood related and well placed.
‘Time‘ features Big Tone over a beat that’s already been hailed as a highlight of 2012. Using Steve Miller‘s ‘Fly Like An Eagle‘ the head nodding beat will be smashing club floors all summer.
Shoes delivers an album that sounds like an album and not a mixtape, no small feat in the topography of todays music. He blends the songs, instrumentals, and interludes into a sequence that sounds like they all belong to something bigger than their time stamp and signature. Individually, the songs are strong; soaked in that neck-snapping, gritty-drummed, trouble-water-soul sampled thing that makes hip-hop magnetic. To dissect the album into its parts would miss the point, though. The triumph of ‘Let It Go’ is the full hour of music, not any fraction of the 60-some-minute run time.
01. Let It Go ft. Shafiq Husayn
03. Goodfellas To Bad Boys ft. Moe Dirdee
04. Dirt ft. Greneberg (Oh No, The Alchemist, and Roc Marciano)
05. Time ft. Big Tone
06.Crazy ft. Black Milk and Guilty Simpson
07. Last Breath ft. Nottz, Oh No, and MED
08. Keep On ft. Co$$ aka Cashus King
09. Sweet ft. Danny Brown / Noodles
10. So Different ft. Chali 2na / Moody Interlude
11. Everything (Modern Family) ft. Fatt Father
12. Sunrise ft. Black Spade
13. Trouble ft. Moe Dirdee and MarvWon
14. Nails ft. Quelle Chris and Guilty Simpson
15. Castles (tHE SKY IS OURS) ft. Jimetta Rose
16. Cry Now
17. Roller Coaster ft. Self Says and Fat Albert Einstein
18. Empire Reprise ft. Sam Beaubien of Will
Sessions (Bonus Track)