Twitter is the best and worst social media platforms out. At times it can be a pit of negativity, anxiety, toxicity and complaining. Other times it helps foster connections in a way that could only be possible through the platform. The latest example of Twitter bringing two people together comes from a connection made by bedroom producer Kaelin Ellis and rap legend Lupe Fiasco. Back in May Ellis was posting clips of beats he was making on Twitter. Lupe was tagged in the replies and somehow it managed to catch his attention. After being impressed, Lupe proceeded to rip the beat using a screen record, exported it into GarageBand, freestyled over it mapping the whole process in his lyrics, and uploaded it on Twitter. From there the relationship between the two creators blossomed and lead to the creation of their collaborative EP HOUSE, which is out today.
The 5 track project was created with Ellis making beats at home and sending them to Lupe to record over while locked down. Adding in Virgil Abloh as the project’s narrator brings the impressive collaboration to new heights. Opening with ‘HOMME MADE’ Virgil delivers a thought-provoking foundation that traverses from art history to our perception of home. The words draw you in and prepare you for the depth to come from Lupe. ‘DINOSAURS’ “begins at the beginning,” exploring the earth’s previous rulers, painting vivid images of a time that proceeds human existent. The closing bars “Just remember at one time this whole world was theirs” hits hard, reminding us of our short extant. ‘SLEDOM’ flips the script on modelling exploring the ups-and-mostly-downs of the profession with a clever and even humours tone.
The most powerful cut, on the project is ‘SHOES.’ The first verse charts the path of a seasoned sneakerhead waiting in line for the latest drop. As the track progresses Lupe gets deeper mixing class-clashes and race gaps, along with a search for equality. Virgil Abloh provides spoken word breaks envisioning a shoe designed for Ahmaud Arbery, who was tragically murdered while jogging. The words cut deep as he explores the sole (soul), “You know, can withstand multiple beatings by the ground/ But it’s tough enough to continue on, that’s the sole.” This narration seems material at first past, but it’s clear he’s speaking to something much deeper.
Closing things out comes ‘LF95,’ the freestyle over the ripped beat that sparked this whole project off with some fresh additions. Lupe’s bars are as sharp as ever, while Ellis beat is cold yet inviting. HOUSE proves that Lupe Fiasco & Kaelin Ellis are the perfect match. Ellis crafts the perfect soundscapes to serve as the foundation for Lupe’s lyricism. It’s short but expertly crafted, leaving fans hoping this is the first of many collabs from the two artists. For now enjoy HOUSE at home… whatever home may mean to you.