Detroit Hip-Hop’s Ambassador to the World, Michael “House Shoes” Buchanan has been an integral part of the long burgeoning Motown resurgence. Just ask anyone coming out of Detroit to confirm this.
House Shoes, a resident DJ at the hip-hop staple St. Andrews Hall, Detroit MI, from 1994-2004 has had personal influence over a full generation of well respected emcees, producers, and then-future DJs. Four-time winner of the “Best Hip Hop DJ” in Detroit, he has used his platform to expose some of the best and brightest talent his city has had to offer.
As a DJ, ‘Shoes has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia with artists Guilty Simpson, Illa J, Exile, Aloe Blacc, Percee P, Phat Kat, Slum Village and Elzhi, to name a few, as well as on his own, gaining the respect of acts far outside the scope of Detroit hip-hop. House Shoes also performed as tour DJ on Mayer Hawthorne & The County’s Spring 2010 16-city headlining U.S. tour.
As a producer, ‘Shoes has worked with the late and revered J Dilla and Big Proof, Black Milk, Danny Brown, Guilty Simpson, Roc Marciano, Chino XL, Invincible, Finale, MED, Nottz, Alchemist, Big Tone, Oh No, Elzhi, El Da Sensai(Artifacts), Black Spade, Now On(Mayer Hawthorne), and Moe Dirdee, among others.
Two self-produced 10” limited vinyl issues have also been released on Do-Over Records, backed by Flying Lotus, and All-City Records, respectively, and are already rare pieces. Most recently, he produced tracks on Danny Brown’s ‘XXX’ and Quelle’s ‘Shotgun and Sleek Rifle’ albums. His debut long-player “Let It Go”, and its pre-cursor “The Time EP”, are now available worldwide on Tres Records.
Currently he lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Constantly Dj’ing at events and parties from LA to Europe to Australia, Shoes’ is revered as a world class producer and DJ.
LET IT GO PRESS RELEASE MAY 2012:
June 2012 marked the TRES Records release of Let It Go – the debut LP from Detroit’s own House Shoes.
It feels wrong to call this a ‘debut’ record, not only because it doesn’t sound like a first-try, but because House Shoes isn’t 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 Big Proof (D12), J Dilla, Danny Brown, and Elzhi. He’s DJ’ed for Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Mayer Hawthorne, and too many more to list.
Technically, however, this is his debut LP. One that hip-hop ‘know-somethings’ have been asking for (for years). One he’s been holding on to for a while. One he’s finally letting go.
The double-vinyl LP packaging will come with gatefold jacket liner notes, and digital download cards for the album. The double-disc CD release is the LP, plus a second disc housing the album’s instrumentals. Vocal-free versions of each song showcase the claps, snares, kicks, and soul-filled samples that House Shoes plates for the project (nuances that are oft overlooked next to features).
Let It Go boasts 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, Mayer Hawthorne, 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.
Songs like ‘Dirt feat. Greneberg’ (Oh No, Alchemist, Roc Marciano) and ‘Everything (Modern Family) feat. Fatt Father’ are 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.
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-soul-sampled ‘umph’ that makes hip hop magnetic. But to dissect the album into its parts would miss the point.
The triumph of Let It Go is the full hour of music, not any fraction of the 60-some-minute run-time.
The Time EP Press Release April 2012
House Shoes’ lead-off release The Time EP is a precursor to his forthcoming full-length debut album Let It Go. It features original production by Shoes with features by Detroit Emcees Big Tone and Danny Brown, as well as Los Angeles songbird Jimetta Rose.
“Better later than never,” some might say, about these releases from House Shoes. He has been an integral piece of the landscape of Detroit hip-hop for the better part of 20 years. He’s produced, DJed, and dot-connected for a generation of Detroit artists who have taken the sounds of their city on world tour. From his work alongside J Dilla and Big Proof, to Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, and Danny Brown – he has helped to shepherd Detroit’s hip-hop into prominence. His solo endeavors are long overdue, and much awaited.
You can’t rush creation, though – and no matter how late fans might feel it is, House Shoes, The Time EP, and the following Let It Go LP, are arriving like they had an appointment.
“The past no longer exists, and the future is yet to happen / the present time is only as long as the moment that I’m in it; I’m feelin’ every millisecond passin’.” From the needle-drop, the filthy-neck-snapping drums under chopped synths on ‘Time’ featuring Big Tone sets the stage for a showcase of Tone’s humble bravado. He raps about the need to have ‘right now’ in order, and how he keeps his watches in sync.
‘Sweet’ featuring Danny Brown, the second offering of the EP, lays an understated and confident hi-hat over layers of bass guitar riffs and strings stabs that might actually inflict bodily harm. Danny spits with his patented lack-toothed style and a considerably rougher hand than the preceding Emcee. As is usually the case with Brown, it works as designed, with witty chest-puffed punch lines like “you study what I author / your arms too short – my reach like Tarver…” and plus he’s “got butta like George Washington Carver.” Bravo.
The third plate in his Chef’s tasting menu, ‘Castles (tHE SKY IS OURS)’ featuring Jimetta Rose, sounds like it is playing through different speakers than the first two courses – the song feels like it’s coming from the clouds. Created in tribute to the late Jovan ‘J1’ Coleman (Drummer for Dam-Funk / Mazter Blazter, producer, and a friend to Shoes and Rose) – Jimetta sings for all of the people who carried us in the past; the people who we carry on for now. The song closes with an audio clip from an interview with J1 before his passing.
The 12″ release also includes two exclusive instrumentals titled ‘Suspended’ and ‘No More Mista Nice Guy’ that are not available on the full-length version of Let It Go.
The Time is now.