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Album Review

Underground rap mainstays People Under the Stairs decided that the name of their fourth full-length album should reflect what they believe they represent to upcoming hip-hop artists. At this point, they're experienced leaders who've made their mark in the music, and just as People Under the Stairs themselves had role models (some of whom they pay respect to in "Letter to the Old School") when they were beginning their own career, they too can now act as inspiration to the younger hip-hop generation. What they ended up creating is definitely something that aspiring MCs should listen to: Stepfather skillfully and successfully combines rhymes, beats, groove, and flow into one really coherent, 20-song record. Both rappers, especially Double K, sound great, with catchy, quick lyrics that mesh well and smoothly with the music, which is what hip-hop is really about anyway. Their flow is practiced and fits perfectly with the funk-inspired beats, which are all taken from their own collection (the music in "You" was sampled from a record Thes One bought in Mexico City), with the exception of "The Doctor and the Kidd," on which George Clinton makes a live guest appearance. The group definitely focuses on musical beats, highlighting the rhythm of the guitar, organ, and bass, but they never overdo it so that the background overtakes the foreground, and both Double K and Thes One are talented enough as producers that they can sample and reconstruct beats without getting repetitive. The MCs' rhymes, which go from talking about hanging out, the band's verbal expertise (which never comes across as arrogant, however), food, and women to social consciousness, apology, and thankfulness, are good, with very few, if any, lines that fall short. "Pump," which has the potential for kitsch with its heavy use of the title word, instead comes off as clever, albeit a little nonsensical, and "Jamboree Pt. 1" is the made-for-summer-barbecues track about relaxing with friends. People Under the Stairs haven't been around long enough yet to make it to the level of hip-hop patriarchs, but they are certainly more than adequate for the role of stepfather. [A DVD is also included with the album. It includes a comprehensive video biography of the group, tips from both Thes One and Double K on how to make a beat, a brief behind-the-scenes/the making of Stepfather, music videos from both members' side projects, and Ice Castle, a short film by People Under the Stairs, possibly featuring the worst acting ever.]

Customer Reviews

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Jamboree, Pt 1

Biography

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The underground hip-hop outfit People Under the Stairs was formed by Mike Turner (Double K) and Chris Portugal (Thes One), who met on the fringe of L.A.'s late-'90s hip-hop underground. The duo, devoted to jazzy samples, danceable beats, intricate rhyming skills, and laid-back humor, debuted in 1998 with the acclaimed The Next Step and followed it up in 2000 with Question in the Form of an Answer. Gathering heavy praise and touring with De La Soul, the group took their road experiences and brought...
Full Bio
Stepfather, People Under the Stairs
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