People Under The Stairs has long been considered one of the underground’s best groups.
Members Double K and Thes One, honed their talents on “the fringe of L.A.’s late-90’s hip-hop underground.” Devoting themselves to jazzy samples, hype beats, and humorously intricate rhymes, the duo would release their debut album, The Next Step, in 1998. They would follow this up with other critically and commercially viable albums such as 2000’s Question In The Form of An Answer, and later, Or Stay Tuned…
With their latest concoction, Stepfather, PUTS continue to offer up their signature back-and-forth rhyme style, but mix their jazz influences with an old school, mid-to-late eighties sound. Songs like “Tuxedo Rap” borrow a Michael Jackson sample and freak-a-rhyme style that pays homage to illustrious crews like Cold Crush and Furious Five.
“Jamboree, pt. 1,” with its playful, party oriented jazz groove, could easily have been recorded by Colorado’s own Procussions; which is to say that it’s good, clean, and funky.
In much the same way as Blueprint’s 1988 pays homage to hip-hop’s Golden Era, PUTS lays it down for the town that inspired them to enter rap’s dirty underworld. The song “LA9X” rides a recognizable sample, while big upping Cali’s indelible mark on the industry with shouts to everyone from radio station KDAY to the monstrous Liqwid Crew to NWA, Toddy Tee, and The Pharcyde. If ever you thought the west coast had nothing to offer the rap game, you need only listen to this song to be corrected.
Adding a bit of consciousness to the record, the group offers up “Reflections,” a “lament on the moral vacuum that plague’s…” our current social climate. The reggae influenced swing and powerful bass line mark the song’s appeal. Similarly, “Days Like This” has Double K reflecting on his younger days and his mother’s influence on his life.
Having built a loyal following behind notable production and attention to details, PUTS’ Stepfather is another notch in the belt of a group that only gets better with each subsequent release. Mashing old school samples and drum kicks with live guitars and bass, the album creates a fresh experience for the listener. It also offers the chance to learn a thing or two about hip-hop’s rich history.