GRAMMY-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco and Orlando producer Kaelin Ellis announced their collaborative EP HOUSE, out July 24th via 1st & 15th / Thirty Tigers. The announcement comes with the first single from the EP â€œSHOES (ft. Virgil Abloh).â€
The HOUSE EP came together by chance â€” on May 5th, 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,â€ 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.
For the album art, Lupe and Kaelin were inspired by iconic Columbia Records jazz album covers like Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and Charles Mingusâ€™ Mingus Ah Um. The art on HOUSE features a painting of â€œThe Glass Houseâ€ painted by Peter Gellatly, the father of Lupe’s friend Sky. Peter recently died of COVID-19 â€” in the albumâ€™s liner notes, Sky Gellatly eulogizes his father, and includes a story about how Peter was a Merchant Marine who once sold a boat to the government of Nicaragua, then rode a motorcycle through Central America back to the US, returning with the money heâ€™d use to build Skyâ€™s childhood home.
For the EPâ€™s first track “HOMME MADE,â€ Lupe had his friend Virgil Abloh speak about the concept of a house â€” Virgil has a Master of Architecture, and Lupe wanted to present an architectâ€™s perspective. Abloh is also featured on the song â€œSHOES,â€ where he describes hypothetically designing the shoes that Ahmaud Arbery was wearing when he was murdered. The song â€œDINOSAURSâ€ is about how we could be on the brink of another mass extinction, and â€œSLEDOMâ€ (â€œmodels” spelled backwards) is a critique of the modeling industry. The final song â€œLF95â€ is the original track Lupe recorded that set this project into motion.