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.Shoes delivers an album that sound like an album (and not a mixtape) – no small feat in the topography of today’s 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-soulsampled
thing that makes hip hop magnetic.
The first record 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 from the record. It showcases the claps, snares, kicks, and soul-filled samples that House Shoes plates for Let It Go