Those familiar with Detroit hip-hop are undoubtedly familiar with producer, DJ, and champion of all things D, House Shoes. In addition to producing the early work of some of the city’s finest vocal talent (Proof, Elzhi, Danny Brown etc.), Shoes was mentored in beats by friend Jay Dee/J Dilla – with whom he dropped a couple of crucial indie releases in the mid/late-’90s. Some 15-years-plus in the game, Shoes’ own production expertise finally enjoys a proper showcase with his excellent full-length debut as a beatsmith, Let It Go (Tres). A week away from the long-anticipated, well-overdue project’s release, we felt it only right to ask this veritable walking/talking/spinning/beat-making/Newport-pulling encyclopedia of Motor City hip-hop history to share insights on some of his favorite sample flips…
House Shoes: “This was EXTREMELY difficult. I started with a list of about 150 joints. Wasn’t trying to snitch on anyone, so that cut that number in half. Over the last few weeks I’ve slowly whittled it down to ten. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites.”
HIT THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK OUT HOUSE SHOES’ FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS…
1. Mobb Deep - "Trife Life" (Loud, 1995)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Norman Connors ft. Michael Henderson – “You Are My Starship” (Buddah, 1976)
House Shoes: Q-Tip destroyed this joint. Prior to The Infamous and Illmatic albums, I thought Shaheed made all the beats for Tribe. Dilla had just started working with Tip and was always talking about how ill his drums were (Jay BUGGED when he heard “One Love” for the first time). “Trife Life” is a great example of that. With an ominous filter of Norman Connors’ “You Are My Starship,” a song EVERYONE knew, he transformed a backseat make-out joint into the perfect backdrop for one of the illest story raps we’ve heard.
2. Mad Skillz - "The Nod Factor" (Big Beat, 1995)
PRODUCERS: The Beatnuts
SAMPLE SOURCE: Johnny “Guitar” Watson – “Superman Lover” (DJM, 1976)
House Shoes: YO. This joint?? This was a game changer. Pretty much the first time someone took a standard break we all knew and chopped the entire fuck out of it. “The Nod Factor” changed the way that I looked at sampling. It wasn’t just loops and filters anymore. We could chop that shit into something totally new.
3. Grand Puba - "I Like It (I Wanna Be Where You Are)" (Elektra, 1995)
PRODUCER: Mark Sparks
SAMPLE SOURCE: Cal Tjader – “Never My Love” (Skye, 1968)
House Shoes: Classic. This joint still gets it popping at prime time on the floor just like it did when it was released almost 17 years ago. Drums were PERFECTLY programmed on here. When I got the promos I went over Dilla’s to play it for him and he was buggin’… He said he was just playing with the Cal Tjader sample a few days earlier, but he couldn’t get the filter to come out as heavy as Mark Sparks did… Always wanted to let dude know he had Dilla trippin’ out on this joint…
4. Dert Floyd - "Money" (Westside of the Moon, 2008)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Pink Floyd – “Money” (EMI, 1973)
House Shoes: This is a standard when I DJ. DertBeats is an incredible but very slept on west coast producer. Taking one of the most well-known basslines in the history of recorded music, and absolutely chopping that shit to pieces, he created one of the best slappers I’ve ever heard. This shit ALWAYS get a great reaction from all walks of people. When that vocal piece comes back on the 8th bar? Sheeeeeeeit.
5. D'Angelo - "Send It On" (Virgin, 2000)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Kool & the Gang – “Sea Of Tranquility” (De-Lite, 1969)
House Shoes: Another example of how hip-hop has exposed me to some of the illest music from other genres. I really thought this was some D’Angelo shit. Not even. Cheers to Mr. Archer for this. Favorite song on one of my favorite albums. Incredible. Roy Hargrove on trumpet…
6. A Tribe Called Quest - "Get A Hold" (Jive, 1996)
PRODUCER: The Ummah (Jay Dee)
SAMPLE SOURCE: The Cyrkle – “The Visit” (Columbia, 1967)
House Shoes: This shit right here? This was the first beat I ever saw Dilla make. In a small, damn near cubicle sized pre-production room at RJ Rice’s studio, Jay created this in a little under 15 minutes. And he was getting frustrated that it took him THAT long. Insane. The way he rearranged the vocals. “Suddenly… drifting baaack…” Nobody is fucking with Jay.
7. J. Dilla - "Waves" (Stones Throw, 2006)
PRODUCER: J Dilla
SAMPLE SOURCE: 10cc – “Johnny, Don’t Do It!” (UK, 1973)
House Shoes: Favorite joint off of Donuts. Listen to that breakdown. And please explain to me how that shit happened. This in my opinion may be the most technically retarded bodying of a sample ever in life. Who would even touch that in the first place?
8. Jay Dee - "Heroin Joint" (previously unreleased)
PRODUCER: Jay Dee
SAMPLE SOURCE: James Brown – “King Heroin” (Polydor, 1972)
House Shoes: This beat is from late 1995. 17 years old. Come on. No one could even do that shit 17 years later. The way he flipped this joint should be studied and could possibly assist in ending cancer, AIDS, and other incurable diseases.
9. Slum Village - "Raise It Up" (GoodVibe, 2000)
PRODUCER: Jay Dee
SAMPLE SOURCE: Thomas Bangaltier – “Extra Dry” (Roulé, 1998)
House Shoes: Working at a record store on the east side of Detroit in 1997, we got in this ill disco import called “Club Soda” on Roulé. Trax On Da Rocks Vol 2. Sounded like some shit Jay would have some fun with. I hit him and he came thru and scooped it. I never even listened to the B-side, “Extra Dry.” Became one of the most well known joints in his catalog. Also one of his simplest joints (two loops), and a prime example of Jay’s often used “less is more” approach.
10. J Dilla - "In The Streets" (Operation Unknown, 2007)
PRODUCER: J Dilla
SAMPLE SOURCE: Ringo Starr – “Occapella” (Apple, 1974)
House Shoes: This Ringo shit is comedy. For real. Who would even keep listening to this song? And when the break even comes? What do you do with that? And how do you turn that shit from something so extremely friendly, into something so ridiculously hard? I heard that Busta cut to this. Let’s hope that we hear it one day. Most likely post-YMCMB or mixtape. Fingers crossed.
HONORABLE MENTION #1: Slaughterhouse - "Cut You Loose" (E1, 2009)
PRODUCER: Mr. Porter
SAMPLE SOURCE: Harvey Averne – “You’re No Good” (Atlantic, 1968)
House Shoes: Denaun is waaaay too slept on. MIllions of records sold. Definitely a favorite of many of your favorite producers. This is also a staple in my sets. A classic oldie gets the club treatment. He translated the sample PERFECTLY. This one GOES. For everybody. Uptempo, floor filler, especially when you drop it coming out of the OG (you’re welcome dj’s).
HONORABLE MENTION #2: Phat Kat - "Microphone Master" (HouseShoes Recordings, 1999)
PRODUCER: Jay Dee
King Crimson – “Moonchild” (Atlantic, 1969)
Vangelis – “So Long Ago, So Clear” (RCA, 1975)
House Shoes: Three different records. All in key. Four parts of a King Crimson joint made to sound like one loop. Perfectly placed pieces of a Sade record (that I’ve honestly never been able to place – it’s definitely Sade, though). And when he cuts in the Vangelis joint at the end and lets it ride out flawlessly over that beat? This is when I started looking at Jay like he was really an asshole on that MP. That shit was totally uncalled for. Definitely impossible to wrap your head around what a Dilla beat tape would sound like in 2012 if he was still here.
So there you have it. A handful of what I feel are the illest sample flips ever. I could have done 100 of these. Holla.