If you follow DJ House Shoes, you know two things about him. First: he’s outspoken about hip-hop. And second: he doesn’t have patience for musical mediocrity. Known for his bluntness, Shoes explains why his label—Street Corner Music—mostly releases beat tapes: “A lot of it is instrumental because a lot of this rap shit is fucking trash these days.”
Named after the Detroit record store where he started working after leaving college in the mid 1990s, Shoes launched Street Corner Music in 2013 to give his favorite producers a platform to shine. “It started as a vessel for exposing talent,” Shoes says. “I created SCM to give records to people that deserve records, both the artists and customers.”
In the 11 years since J Dilla’s pivotal Donuts, beat tapes have become something of a hip-hop subculture. Street Corner Music exists to further validate instrumentals as their own separate art form. Giving back to those who trust both his word and well-earned reputation for breaking under-the-radar acts, House Shoes says, “The same way I use my platform to let you know how I feel about things, I’m using this to let you hear what I love and respect.”
After steadily releasing vinyl over the past few years, SCM has adapted to the digital age, now making much of its back catalog available to fans online. With 25 releases on Bandcamp (and plenty more in the stash to come this year), our guide is designed to catch you up to speed on what the label has to offer.