Detroit MC/producer/DJ and close confidant of J Dilla, HYPE got an exclusive with House Shoes in our Dec/Jan issue. With a history that’s 20 years deep in the game, his album Let It Go is a phenomenal piece of fire. Here’s more from our interview that you didn’t get to see in the magazine.
How has the scene changed in Detroit?
Basically I moved from Detroit to Los Angeles I always had a kind of a responsibility to the scene rather than to myself but when I left Detroit no one really picked up where I left off.
Don’t you think that is a shame that you have had no successor in Detroit?
It is but what’s the name of my album Let It Go? I always rep the city where I am from but hey I have to take care of me and my family and that has been one of the most important lessons that I have had to learn.
Why has it taken you this long to officially drop your ‘debut’ album?
I was never focused on me really until finally I went “fuck that man” I am going to make my record. A lot of shit went down and some people who I was with started to show their true colours. These were people I assisted and went above and beyond and helped take care of. It made me question myself and ask, “what am I doing, why am I hooking up for people that do not appreciate it and indeed would never help if the shoe was on the other foot?” so I decided to buckle down and do my shit.
And doing that shit obviously means showing that you have an identity separate of Dilla.
I definitely pushed myself into a corner because everyone looked at me as the ‘Dilla dude’ and I am cool with that but I am not just that and so I had to kind of step away from that for a minute. I don’t just play Dilla shit I don’t play just hip hop shit. I go pop, jazz, old skool, classic if you come to Detroit and hear me drop a set I will be there for four hours – you go on a whole journey and so I realised that a time came where I really had to express what I truly do outside of the Dilla shit.
How does this album represent you?
The record actually only took me 5 months to put together but I had twenty years of beats that I had going back to as far as 1999. ‘The Times’ joint is from 2001/2. My main goal was to make a classic album that would be timeless it would be maybe something that someone ten years from now would not be familiar with but when they hear it they will want to buy it because it sounds good.
You create a real seamless narrative on this album.
This is an album that you can listen to from the beginning to the end so that is why I had all the interludes connecting everything. It weaves a whole continuous flow that I really wanted to come through strongly.
Just explain the processes in putting the album together.
I put the music in first and selected all the beats and I put the album in the order that I felt comfortable with. The album has a certain movement, a certain vibe to it flowing from beginning to the end. Then I would listen to each joint and I would say I can hear Rock Marciano for example on this joint I can hear Kweli on this joint and that is how Let It Go just became something that I am so proud of.
What’s in the pipeline for you in terms of this album?
I have a few big projects that I am working on. I have one with Big Tone we are about nine ten joints deep it’s a project called Free Shoes. I am going to start working on an EP with Jamila Rose which is a very personal record we gave it to my man J One who passed away last year. I am definitely piecing together stuff for the next album but really right now I just want to run a full campaign on this project. Too many great records just come and go – so I really want people to get the chance to hear this project in its entirety.