Houseshoes. Detroit, Michigan. …relocated to Los Angeles four years ago. DJ. Producer. Heavy supporter of the Detroit hip hop scene, Detroit hip hop artists, and artists who create good music in general. Kinda the resident DJ for Detroit hip hop from 94/95, up through 2006, when I left. Carried the burden – carried the load.
Okay, so you moved to LA. …what are you doing out there in particular? Especially, what are you doing differently than you were doing here (in Detroit, where the interview took place – in case you hadn’t gotten that memo)?
Not being as burdened by the scene as I was when I was here. I went out there and just kinda lived, you know? I take care of cats that I feel need some help and support from afar, but it’s kind of a real pick and choose situation. Out there, you know, I got a baby, I got a girl – I got a family I’m takin’ care of. Basically, I’ve done a lot more traveling since I went out there. The world don’t really pay attention globally unless – the coasts are a much better platform for people to pay attention. Since I moved to LA I’ve been to Europe, fuckin’ like, 8 times and shit. Australia, New Zealand – it’s crazy, I made a list the other day of like, all the places, all the countries – fuckin’, I’ve been to like 25 countries. It’s pretty wild. In the heat of things, you know, you’re just having fun with it, but then sometimes you sit back and go ‘damn’, it’s really blessin’ to be able to see the world – not only to see the world but see the similar, like minded people all around the world who have a taste and a hunger for the shit that we do in Detroit. It’s definitely a blessin’.
Do people just like – know you everywhere?
I mean, it ain’t no Drake shit, you know what I’m sayin’? It ain’t no commercial platform – but, you know, as a motherfucker who’s basically been a one man show for a long time. …I definitely thank the internet.
So, producing? I’m a big fan of your production – I like what you did with Marv Won, I like what you did with Invincible. …what’s goin’ on with that? Are you working with more people? I heard you put a beat out that I heard on one of your mixtapes a minute ago.
A looooooooooooonnnnggggg time ago! Real talk, I ain’t made a beat in well over two years, you know what I’m sayin’? I gotta lot of shit stacked up. Just recently got a hold of some new shit, so I’m about to get back on the beats. You know I started making beats at the same time I started DJing for the most part – a couple home beats. Making good shit – I paid attention, watched, and learned the ropes, and stacked’em up. You don’t see a lot of my shit on records throughout the years because I come from the school of Dilla, where you gotta pay to play. But shit, you know – there’s definitely more to come. …the Do-Over 10” came out in January, sold out in like two days – 1000 copies, retail 18 dollas’ a pop for a 10” single, so that was dope.
I hear your doing something with Crown Nation? A 12”?
Yeah, you know the homie Quelle, his crib burned up and shit so – when real life shit happens to people I work real well under those situations to help out. Got on the horn, spread the word. Got some money up. …and a cat on twitter hit me up like ‘yo, I got a couple dollars stashed away, I wanna do a Quelle record’ – and, you know, I put out records before so I kinda schooled on him on it real quick, told him how he should do it. So basically it’s a Houseshoes presents – 7/8 joints, a couple instrumentals and really good to have Quelle on vinyl. Quelle’s definitely one of my favorite artists – one of my favorite dudes.
So what’s up with the mixtapes you’ve been co-signing and hosting? Like Marv Won, Crown Nation, etc.
Basically I’ve got a platform that I’ve created. …and I don’t fuckin’ rap – I use my platform to assist those who I respect and have love for. So Marv, Marv’s always been one of my favorites. You know, a lot of cats back home that don’t know how the machine works. How to present your shit to people, get it out, get your buzz up, so – that Way Of The Won album was something that he had been sittin’ on for a minute, and one day I’m just like ‘fuck this shit, lemme hit up Marv and put some heat up under this shit’, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s like, I hit up Frank at Rappers I Know (rappersiknow.com) – he helped me get the word out, did posts on Rappers I Know, and I put the shit out on Twitter, you know. …leaked the Blue Monday shit out on Twitter. Just pushin’ the homies shit. Like I said, I’m not an artist, I’m a producer and a DJ. I play the records. I’m trying to get the records as much attention as possible so that when I play’em they can already be appreciated. You know?
Production wise, you said you hadn’t made anything in a while, but when you were making something, who would have been the person you would really have wanted to rap over your shit? Like, who would have been your ‘I’ll fuck somebody up to have this person rap over one of my beats’?
What, like industry cats?
If you say Drake this interview is over.
I fuck with Drake – I can’t even front, I fuck with Drake.
(laughter breaks out)
Do you REALLY?
I’m not about to – I’d be really. Shit, it’d be dope as fuck to have a song with Drake, I can’t front. That’s fuckin’ – a million people that would know my name.
But uh – Guilty, Quelle, Jay Electronica, Moe Dirdee. …me and Moe Dirdee workin’ on some shit. Royce. I fuckin’ LOVE King Gordy. Motherfuckers don’t know about King Gordy. King Gordy’s a fuckin’ monster.
Yeah definitely. You gon’ see some records, I’m trying to get these old catalog beats out – keep increasing my platform production wise, so when I do drop a record with an artist, I won’t have to – it’s not gonna be as much work, you know what I’m sayin’?
So, I think, in my personal opinion, the most talent in hip hop is coming out of this area that we’re in right now (Detroit).
…it’s been goin’ on like that for 15 fuckin’ years.
BUT, my question is, why doesn’t anybody else know? Like, why isn’t it looked at as a place like New York or. . .
The funny thing is that it is – among the artists it is. Like motherfuckers know that Detroit got that shit, they scared. It’s just for some reason the labels haven’t ever taken advantage of the jewels we have in this city for some odd reason. You know, you got Em, you got Royce, but it’s a fuckin’ – such a heavy squad here in the city. That for some reason – I mean you know, cats in Detroit just really are not business minded.
Is that what it is?
Yeeeaaaahhhh – really not business minded at all. It’s just a wild fuckin’ city, and the life is heavy around here so, a lot of cats is on some day to day, week to week, month to month shit. When you deal with all that stress and drama it’s hard to get your head in a position, like – on some business 101. Shit that’s real easy to me is so far out of someone else’s mind. They’re worried about fuckin’ getting’ a couple dollars up for studio time ‘hopefully this motherfucker will give me a beat, or this guy will give me a beat. Should I even approach them and ask them to give me some shit for free or should I just fuckin’ try to stack up for a couple months – cash out’, so. You’re definitely gonna see – it’s funny man, cause in America these motherfuckers don’t know shit. It’s so cliché when you talk to underground artists, these motherfuckers don’t know nothin’. Fuckin’ rats chasin’ the cheese. …but on a world wide scale – the first time I went to fuckin’ Paris, I walked up in the club at like 10:30 and the DJ’s playin’ Marv’s joint off Sound Of The City, and motherfuckers is reciting the hook. That shit damn near brought a tear to my eye, just knowing that motherfuckers is back here and they have no idea that they gettin’ love half way across the planet.
In Detroit, there’s no support – there’s no radio support for this real shit. Motherfuckers don’t know who Slum Village is, they don’t know who Dilla is, they don’t know none of that shit. You Know?
That shit hurts my feelings – I mean, I expect that where I live at, but not here.
Oh no, Cali motherfuckers no the deal all day. …that’s why J (Dilla) went out there, because between Toronto and Cali, you know, they gave Slum so much love when they first got on. J was anonymous in this motherfucker – he moved to LA. …signin’ autographs at McDonalds.
If you go to a liquor store (in Detroit) and ask a motherfucker who Black Milk is, he’ll be like ‘Chocolate milk!’.
(death inducing laughter breaks out)
‘like what is that shit?’.
Fuck that – you don’t do shit for your city, you gotta make global music.
Yeah, you’re def right – a lot of Detroit music is REALLY localized.
You can spend your whole fuckin’ life tryna’ get a motherfucker two blocks over to know who the fuck you are when you got motherfuckers in Austria and Germany and Amsterdam and Paris, fuckin’ Australia that know every word of your shit.
So who are some producers that you like? …who are you favorites?
Black Milk, Quelle, 14KT all day, ALL DAY 14KT, great dude. Chanes – just produced Miz Koronas whole album, he’s real dope.
Damn, I hate that question because afterwards I always think of people like ‘I shoulda’ said him, I shoulda said him’.
You didn’t name any of the classics – that’s usually who people go for first.
Everybody knows that. Pete Rock, Premier – I try to keep up to date with who the next motherfuckers are. …ain’t no point in beating old ass 20 year old records into the ground, I’m tryna’ try to represent motherfuckers that will be playin’ 20 years from now that just came out, know what I’m saying?
I fuck with Dakim. I don’t know where the fuck Dakim is at, but Dakim got some shit. Oh yeah, this guy Dilla. …you might have heard of him. Jay Dee or some shit.
I don’t – I don’t know about that. I don’t know who that is.
My boy Paul White, he got some shit.
Houseshoes got some shit – if he ever made beats. Khalil – Khalil is a fuckin’ monster, outta LA. Of course Madlib, of cours Oddisee, Khrysis. I can’t front, I like Drake’s producer – with that emo shit. …I fuck with that shit.
I liked you so much before we started the interview.
I don’t fuck with that whole album, but he got some joints on there that I do fuck with.
That’s about it.
So you’re a highly regarded DJ, what’s it like just to do what you love? You get to play music for people for a living – how is that?
I just find good music I like and I play the shit for motherfuckers that like good music. I don’t play radio shit – like, there might be a radio joint here or there that I might like, I’ll play the shit. I’m not like ‘I’M NOT GONNA PLAY ANY RADIO SHIT’. …there’s some good shit on the radio.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell yeah – Fireworks! I fuck with that. Fireworks is my shit. …I wouldn’t play that shit though. That’s the difference, stuff you fuck with at the crib – you know?
What do you love about it and what do you hate about it? What is it to you besides just playin’ music?
It’s just runnin’ shit. Like, you in control and shit. Like, you got a room full of 300/400 people and they’re at your mercy. …and, you know – I mean c’mon, I get paid fuckin’ thousands of dollars to fuckin’ play a record.
Records that I LIKE.
I would gladly trade places with you.
I get paid thousands of dollars to play this shit that everybody, quote, unquote, wants to hear. I’m a big fan of everything I’ve ever played – that’s a fuckin’ blessin’.
The travel shit is kinda – it can be fuckin’ stressful. It’s fuckin’ fathers day, I’m in Detroit, my babies back at the crib (in LA) – that’s some bullshit.
So, what’s your take on the Detorit music seen? What are your thoughts?
Well, we are the best, let that be known.
It ain’t just rap shit, it’s everything. Even back in Motown and all that shit. …it’s just fuckin’ – it can be real irritatin’ knowing there’s so much talent in my city and have it go undiscovered. Unfortunately it probably will not be discovered, just due to the forces that be, and due to the machine, and what not. Cause musically and lyrically this city is so far ahead.
What do you think makes you guys so much better?
Cause we don’t give a fuck. …we don’t, you know? I’m sayin’ like, New York, New York fell off when they started followin’. That’s who everybody else looked to for guidance over the years – then you had New York motherfuckers makin’ down South records. Fuck that. We don’t do that shit. We’re gonna fuckin’ make some shit that’s gonna make your face scrunch up, it’s an escape – you know? We give you an escape from that real life shit out here. So when we do that we’re not gonna point it towards the mainstream when it’s strictly for us.
If you wanna get your shit together, ask somebody whose shit is together. …they can tell you some shit, you know? We the elders in this shit. You know? Detroit is – I call my shit humble arrogance. We’re an arrogant city, but at the same time, it’s a lot of humility in the city too. It’s real people. It’s a real regular crowd – it ain’t that funny Hollywood shit, you know what I’m sayin’? At all.
That’s why I like it.
Blogger note: There was a question here about Dilla, but given recent events with people acting stupid and reckless with regards to Dilla, it was asked that this part of the interview be omitted. …all I can say is, at least I got to hear it, and, respect the legacy people.
The name. …is it as obvious as it seems?
I used to wear house shoes all the time.
I had to ask.
What do you want people to know about Houseshoes?
Pay attention. …you know? That’s a very multifaceted statement. Pay attention as in, if I’m in your city, pay to come see me. If I got a record out, pay for that shit. If I got something on the internet, iTunes, pay for that shit. Just, listen to what the fuck I say, cause I don’t waste my breath. I speak my mind 100% – Imma very honest person. …and, you know, you might see me go on some rant shit, but within that rant is a very good point. I don’t fuckin’ wild out over petty bullshit. You know what I’m sayin’?
Ummm. …I have good taste in music. And it ain’t just with rap shit. If I tell you to listen to somethin’, listen to what the fuck I’m sayin’.
I’m the shit. Period.
…it’s that simple. You ask any of these motherfuckers man, like – I gotta big family out here. I gotta big family around the world, you know? It’s a reason motherfuckers fuck with me.
So that concludes my interview with the illustrious Houseshoes. …dude REALLY was droppin’ knowledge, shit that people in Detroit and beyond could learn from, so take the mans advice and pay attention. Also, follow him on Twitter – and check out his pod casts. PEACE!