Remaining relatively quiet in recent years, Lupe Fiasco has now returned with the first single off his upcoming EP, HOUSE. Titled “SHOES,” the prolific Chicago rapper tapped close friend Virgil Abloh to contribute a spoken word piece.
Deceivingly discussing sneaker culture, the lead track reveals a greater tie to recent events in the United States carried by jazz tones. Strategically placed in between Lupe’s expressive verses, Abloh describes the hypothetical design behind shoes that Ahmaud Arbery was wearing when he was murdered. Revealing the emotion that fuels his creations, the multifaceted creative details the relationship between the important design and the Black struggle.
“SHOES” is accompanied by the announcement of Lupe Fiasco’s upcoming project with young Orlando producer Kaelin Ellis. The five-track HOUSE EP was created in lockdown after Lupe stumbled upon Ellis’ beats on Twitter. Virgil Abloh also appears on the EP’s first track, “HOMME MADE,” in which Abloh a Master of Architecture presents his concept of a house.
For the album art, Lupe and Kaelin were inspired by iconic Columbia Records jazz album covers like Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um. The HOUSE cover art features a painting of “The Glass House” painted by Peter Gellatly, father of Lupe’s friend Sky Gellatly. In the album’s liner notes, Sky eulogizes his father who died of COVID-19 with a story about how Peter was a merchant marine that sold a boat to the government of Nicaragua, then rode a motorcycle through Central America back to the United States, returning with the money he’d use to build Sky’s childhood home.
Steam Lupe Fiasco’s “SHOES” featuring Virgil Abloh on Spotify below and look for HOUSE to release July 24.
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