As we await the HOUSE EP from Lupe Fiasco and Orlando producer Kaelin Ellis, the duo blessed us with a brand new single "Shoes." The track has a gloomy and somewhat reflective vibe courtesy of Ellis' solemn chords and soothing horns layered over a sparse drum arrangement. As expected, Fiasco is sharp as ever and paints a very vivid story that mixes youthful exuberance, race inequality, capitalism, and much more. Through his eyes, we see a young black man standing in line early for a new pair to celebrate his forthcoming birthday. Fiasco goes deeper with the narrative detailing every emotion from the time he gets in line to the point of purchase and the numerous interactions with everyone else.
Famed designer Virgil Abloh is also featured on the chorus section of the song where he describes hypothetically designing the shoes that Ahmaud Arbery was wearing when he was murdered. It's quite haunting and dark for the most part but Abloh's final narration brings the theme to a close with a more detailed and somewhat abstract explanation of how shoes, mankind, and Earth are connected. It might sound pretentious to some people but I dare say. there is one lesson or two you can pick up from it.
The HOUSE EP came together by chance while Lupe was tagged on Twitter in the replies of a Tweet from Kaelin Ellis, a young producer who had been posting clips of himself creating beats in lockdown. Reading "Get this to @LupeFiasco somehow,” Lupe listened, liked the beat, screen recorded Kaelin's video, dropped it in GarageBand, freestyled over the beat, exported it in Quicktime, then Tweeted the song just a few hours after he first saw the mention. The two then began interacting over Twitter, Kaelin sending beats to Lupe, who rapped over the tracks he liked. A few weeks later they had a 5 song EP titled HOUSE, referencing that the two had created the collaborative EP locked down in their respective houses.
Stream or Embed “‘SHOES (ft. Virgil Abloh)” here
1. HOMME MADE
4. SHOES (ft. Virgil Abloh)