Re Up: House Shoes
If you know anything about anything, you fucking know House Shoes. …and if you know music, then you definitely know Shoes, as he is at the epicenter of so much of what is good and pure in music. There are few people that are involved in this music shit whose opinion I trust more, whose opinion is worth more, and, frankly, who know more than this man. If you are at all interested in music, not just hip hop, rap, whatever, but music as an art form, this is a voice you need to have in your head. In this interview we cover topics ranging from what he’s bringing to the periodic table, the artists he’s working with, why he’s such an asshole, and much more. Enjoy.
Who are you, where are you from, and what the fuck do you do?
House Shoes. I’m from Detroit a long time ago, but I live in Los Angeles, California. I do many things. I’m an advocate for advocation.
What’s your main focus right now?
Street Corner Music.
…tell me more.
Street Corner Music is my newest endeavor. I put records out a while back – that’s what I’m on, you know what I mean? Putting records out. Physical, actual, records. Music that actually exists in the world. You know? If someone turned off the internet, my shit will still be here.
Who’re you working with?
Well, I have a series called The Gift that’s kind of spotlighting new, relatively unknown producers. I have like 10 volumes of that shit on deck. It started as a free download series on djhouseshoes.com, and then I decided to make it official by creating a new imprint with Fat Beats distribution. The first three LP’s have been released and sold out by or on the release date. Volume 4 drops this week. All seven volumes are available on the site, with the eighth dropping tomorrow. I’ve got a release schedule through like May or June of next year. 20, 25 records.
Just hooked up with Oh No last month, went out to his crib, we gon’ do some things. Putting out Danny Brown’s first album Hot Soup for Record Store Day. Doing shit with Knxwledge, 14KT, Marv Won – it’s just fucking good music, you know what I mean? I’m excited about it.
Why do you think that you have such a fanatical following – myself included.
I don’t see it. You know what I mean? It’s cool, I go to a place like the Beat Swap Meet, and a couple cats want to take pictures, you know – it makes me feel good about what I’m doing. I’m touching some people out here – pause.
I don’t see the cult shit. You know, I just talk my shit, nobody talks shit anymore. Nobody talks about what it should be – fuck what it used to be. It’s what it should be. That shit is never going to change, so – I have opinions on things, and I speak about them.
What should it be? What is it?
It should be fresh, you know what I mean? It should be fresh. If it ain’t fresh, and motherfuckers saying it’s fresh, it ain’t fucking fresh. I’m going to tell ya’ll it ain’t fresh. If I see fuck shit going on in my circumference, I’m going to speak on it. I just think – there’s a small vein of people who gravitate towards that, and I appreciate it. You know what I mean?
Okay, so you’re big into social network –
I’m on twitter – I put pictures of my kids on Instagram, but I talk my shit on twitter. I’m definitely not trapped like – I was stuck in that bitch for a while. I definitely think I’ve learned to balance. Like, I can take a day or two off. I’m chilling. Living my life, for real. Actually, not virtually.
It’s tough on that virtual shit, cause it’s motherfuckers you can’t see face to face. Got to lead your flock. I’m not a religious dude, but, I feel like I’m a shepherd from time to time, you know what I mean?
…so where are you leading your sheep?
Man. I don’t know man. I just try to lead by example. I don’t tell motherfuckers what to do. I can’t really tell you what you should be. Just do what’s right, because, at the end of the day, it’s right and it’s wrong out here. You’re either doing right, or you’re doing wrong. If you make music, shit is either fresh, or it’s wack. It ain’t no in between. It’s no such thing as mediocre. Because you’re never going to listen to a mediocre record, like you’re never going to listen to a wack record. It’s all the same shit. It’s either shit that you’re going to listen to again, or it’s shit you’re not. It’s shit you should do, it’s shit you don’t do.
How do you feel about music that you can respect, but you don’t necessarily like or want to listen to?
Drake! I fuck with Drake on occasion.
Yeah, but you listen to Drake!
Not in my spare time – I might listen to like some So Far Gone Shit.
You love Fireworks.
Or, fuckin’ – Lord Knows. …at the end of the day, cats is just going to be mad at whoever’s poppin’. Because their not poppin’. You can’t pop keeping it real. You can try to maintain some type of balance, that’s what I respect about him. He still puts a couple joints on there for motherfuckers, you know what I mean?
I mean, at the end of the day, who cares what anyone else is doing? You need to be focusing on what the fuck you doing. A lot of criticism comes from people who should shut the fuck up and do something. You know what I mean? Like, you out here talking like – I got shit to back me up, I got a catalogue. You know what I mean? I’ve done things in this rap shit that have had an impact, and that matter. …and so have people I’ve fucked with. I only fuck with people that do that, you know what I mean? You could do your homework. You know, check your history books. If you ain’t doing shit then you really need to shut the fuck up.
You recently made a statement that, basically, people want you to be an asshole.
WELL I AM AN ASSHOLE.
…why don’t you say that a little louder?
But I’m damn near 40 year old, and I got kids now. I’m not trying to be that for the rest of my life, know what I mean? You’ve got to grow the fuck up, sometimes. I’m trying to be older, wiser – I am a wise motherfucker, but I got a lot to learn.
I don’t want my kids to grow up and know that’s what the fuck I was all about. …and at the end of the day, that’s not really what the fuck I’m all about, that’s just what people gravitate to. They don’t understand, you know, I’m an advocate. Like I said, it may sound weird, but I’m an advocate for advocation. If you have a position, and you don’t do shit with it, you’re wasting that shit. You know what I mean? Like, I’ve been blessed with a platform, and I’ve done shit to try and educate motherfuckers with it. How I feel like educating them, you know what I mean? I do my shit. That’s just how I am.
I’m a passionate motherfucker. This art is important to me and a lot of so called artists are fucking up the gene pool. I don’t take too kindly to that. So I bark on these motherfuckers.
Don’t think of House Shoes as just being an asshole – House Shoes is a motherfucker that knows his shit. The aesthetic of music that I push and portray to the people is fucking beautiful music. If you can see through that – if you can get over all the gloss and the headlines, and just enjoy the show, and sit with the shit I’m telling ya’ll to fuck with, that’s when cats will really understand what I’m about.
So, a question I’ve had for you for a minute – how do you feel about hyper mainstream cats like Drake and Ross giving shoutouts to Dilla?
IT’S FRESH! I mean, I don’t think – I don’t think that a motherfucker that’s making millions of dollars – the handful of motherfuckers that are really getting money in this shit, they have absolutely no reason to sprinkle that shit on a record for whatevers sake. I think that shit is obvious. You get a motherfucker like Rick Ross, who makes the best records in the game on that platform – cats look at me like “what the fuck are you talking about”, I’m like, that shit is fantastic.
…and I don’t care about the kids, man. Like, I’ll be real with you. I don’t give a fuck – this might sound really fucked up, but, I don’t care if anybody hears Dilla’s shit ever again. I’m not about – I only care about the motherfuckers that was there when it was going down. You know what I mean?
When I do like the King James shit – when I dig for records, I only buy Dilla shit – you know what I mean? I want to find Dilla shit and crack motherfuckers heads, but the motherfuckers heads who was there in the spots, and whose music directly touched him while it was going down, you know what I mean? It’s dope, cause fucking – Rick Ross might turn a head. Get some fucking kid onto some shit, and he might turn into the next one. Might be a brand new, entire entity, so it’s dope.
Drake did it too.
He did – but he needs to actually do the shit though. He talked about it, but – put that paper up and get that Dilla joint on your next shit.
So, when I interviewed you previously, we talked about Dilla – but it got taken out of the interview. What are your feelings now? At this point, I feel like, you’re kind of the soul survivor, in terms of the person people look to for information. Like, how does that make you feel, having that resting on you?
It’s wack. I mean, it’s not wack. It’s an honor, but like, it’s taken my 5, 6 years to just get over the point of doing interviews and motherfuckers just – it’s all Dilla. You know what I mean. Dilla was my man. I love him to death, I’m always gon’ rep, carry the flag, but – I’m doing my shit too. …and a lot of shit went down that really – I’m very happy that an opportunity presented itself for me to understand that, you know what I mean? Dilla wouldn’t want me out here fucking talking about Dilla, Dilla would – he was always wanting House Shoes to do some shit. So, I wish he was here to see the records, you know what I mean?
Thinking about the artists you work with, particularly the lesser known ones, how do you feel they’re going to get the shine you think they deserve?
See, the fucked up thing is, me, I’m damn near 40, I got a family, I got two kids, I got life situations I’ve got to deal with, and I do this music – equally, you know what I’m saying? So I don’t got, like, support systems and all that. I don’t have the time to be a promoter – I present music to people. Pay attention, or fucking stay asleep and lose.
I can cook the best steak you ever had in your life and put it on the table – you might not eat the motherfucker. You fucked up. It was the best steak you ever would have had in your motherfucking life.
I can’t really do nothing else. I’m sure, you know, there will definitely be growth within my system in the future, but as of right now, I don’t fuck with bullshit, so if you’ve seen me tell you listen to some shit, listen to some shit. Buy it. Fuck with the motherfuckers I fuck with, because they all got heat. You’d be a fucking idiot not to. Everybody complains about how there’s nothing out here – there’s so much out here. …and I’m giving you like a guided fucking tour.
How do you feel about Detroit’s music scene as of right now?
I’ll be real with you, I couldn’t even tell you. I’ve been out here for damn near 8 years. Tunnel vision. I’m House Shoes. I’m Street Corner Music. You know what I mean? Diapers. Nintendo fucking Wii U. Playing Super Mario Brothers with my son and shit. It’s fantastic. It’s always going to be heat back at the crib, I just – I’m just trying to build my own shit – carve out my own terrain within the entire world. It’s always going to be heat back at the crib. I’m trying to expose heat from everywhere. I spent a lot of time fucking shining a light on the crib – I’m always going to do that. Putting Detroit shit out on the label, of course I’m going to do that. I’ve got to spend that time finding some shit on the moon – you know what I mean? People got beats on the moon, let’s get that shit out there.
What’s 2014 looking like?
Oh shit, just got back from Australia and New Zealand. Got some dialogues going on with South Africa.
TAKE ME WITH YOU!
Bangkok, going back to Europe in June, finally, it’s been a minute since I been out there. Spending time with my kids, man. Trying to balance studio shit, you know? Me and Big Tone got a whole record coming that’s fantastic. Just records and babies. That’s pretty much what you got to look forward to. You gon’ see something in the shop at least ever 4-6 weeks, and don’t sleep, because it’s limited numbers. You sleep, you gon’ miss it. …stuck with a hoe ass MP3.
Dilla changed my life versus Dilla changed my t-shirt. …talk to me about the distinction, and your frustrations around it.
I don’t think cats truly understand what a life changing experience is. It’s not something as casual as hearing donuts and copping a t-shirt because Stones Throw is a cool record label. Maybe I’m wrong though. Everybody got a fucking Dilla shirt. …maybe those t-shirts change lives for real.
Who’re you listening to right now?
Ghost at the Finish Line is still in heavy rotation. Cult classic. Tiny Hearts. Don’t sleep on Waajeed. Pinata. Black Milk’s Glitches in the Break is fucking fantastic. Vol 8 of the gift, Raj Mahal, is my fucking shit. Probably my favorite of them all. I wish I had the new Guilty album produced by the Quakers. Katalyst played me that shit when I was in Australia – shit was fucking bananas. But honestly, for the most part, the majority of my ears have been going to this Street Corner Music shit. Listening over and over. 20 records on deck, and growing everyday. From The Gift shit, seven deep on that with Raj dropping on Easter, to the Hot Soup shit, to Knxwledge records, 14KT unreleased, some wild shit from Oh No, MarvWon and Chanes album “The Last Hope”, Jimetta Rose is going do an album over beats from The Gift series, Moe Dirdee LP produced by DRUGS – that’s what I’m listening to really. Street Corner Music shit.
…let the world know the distinction between rap and hip hop.
This discussion is so dated, clichéd, and corny. I will vomit the next time I hear “Rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live.” That shit is all the fucking same. Rap came from hip hop. The act in itself. Who the fuck wants to sit around and argue about dumb shit like this? Hip hop ass motherfuckers. Card carrying cornballs.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but, why are you such an asshole?
I’m an asshole because I don’t give a fuck about what none of ya’ll are doing. This is my stage.
At the end of the day, what’s it all for?
It’s for the art. Not hip hop art, not rap art, just fucking art, period. It’s all for me, too – my legacy. What my children will be told of me.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview, but never have been?
What makes you smile?
My children. A dope beat. A bunch of Jameson. …and good sex.
You have almost 30,000 followers on Twitter. …if every one of those individuals, myself included, bought something from you (some wax, a digital download, a fucking “I ❤ House Shoes” thong, whatever), shit would be very different. Now, as a person who has paid to see you DJ 8.4 billion times, purchased fucking CDs that you hand wrote on from you, etc, etc, that makes me feel some type of way. Does that make you feel some type of way? By that I mean, does the lack of financial support from people who claim to love what you do, what you represent, etc, frustrate the fuck out of you? What’re your thoughts on it? Feel free to speak to not just yourself, but this phenomenon of lack of artist support in general.
I’m doing what I do because that is what I was put on this planet for. I know I will never be rich. That’s what happens when you have integrity. I’m not chasing the paper. I’m putting out heat for people that ain’t dumb as fucking rocks. I’m making my little piece my way. Cats should try it sometime.
Tell me a secret.
AWWWWWWWWWWWWW! Fuck. …you already know the secret.
Oh. Another secret.
Everybody knows I drink Jameson. Fuck. A secret?
A secret! You’re afraid of kittens. You like the drink purple Kool Aid at 3:01am.
I just drank a Shirley Temple, yo.
I went to the bar – we’re at the Beat Swap Meet, and for some fucking reason, I had an uncontrollable urge to get a Shirley Temple. …and that shit was so motherfucking good.
I felt like I was 12 years old. Aww, that shit was so good. …and I was like, “give me the heaviest beer you have” to kind of balance it out. So that’s my secret – Shirley Temples.
The funny thing is – I’ll tell you a secret about someone else. DJ Dez, who’s like, one of my mentors in this hip hop shit. We been DJing together for fucking years, but like, he never really drank. He always just smoked a ton of weed. …and the first time I went to buy him a fucking drink, he asked for a Shirley Temple.
They’re good as fuck!
Yeah, but – that really fucked my world up. My mentor, and he’s drinking a bitch ass drink.
They’re good. …you can’t be mad at good. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, or what it looks like. If it’s good, it’s good.
What do you want people to know about you that they don’t already?
Aww, fuck! What do they not know already? You got to ask a better question than that.
I don’t know!
What do they not know?
I mean, YOU know what people don’t know, not me.
Yeah, but that shit doesn’t matter. Just to tell you some shit that you don’t know about me – but if you don’t know, motherfucker, I’m about to put out the best records in the world. I guess I can say that. If you don’t know, Street Corner Music – I’m trying to be the dude, like, in the whole beat discussion, like, real shit, like, grimy shit, like, real beats? My name has to be in that conversation. Period. That’s my mission. …let all the heat out. You know what I mean? So if you don’t know that, bitch I’m telling you.