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...Or Stay Tuned

People Under the Stairs

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Album Review

Double K and Thes One put it nicely when they say that they are "not MCs, producers or DJs," adding, "We are B-boys, and we do all of that naturally." That D.I.Y. attitude has a number of beneficial effects, among them an unusually intimate connection between the rhymes and the beats, and also a less quantifiable sense of down-to-earthiness that comes naturally to artists who do all their own crate-digging, mixing, scratching, engineering, and production. Throughout this album there's a pervasive sense of a group that is focusing on the verities rather than wasting time with tired chest-pounding or empty celebrations of the bling. People Under the Stairs have a penchant for funky jazz loops and first-generation hip-hop constructs; check, for example, the easy-rolling electric piano groove of "Roadbeaters" or the complex but relaxed jitter-beat of "Outrun." Even better is the unabashedly old-school celebration of "Drumbox," which is delivered in a blunt rapping style that harks back directly to the Last Poets and Grandmaster Flash. And then there's "SF Knights Remix," a distressingly brief beatbox interlude. If life remains in hip-hop's stiffening corpse, it's because of groups like this. Highly recommended.

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...
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...Or Stay Tuned, People Under the Stairs
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