Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Still in the trade of that ol' boom bap.
I could rattle off so many memories I have from listening to O.S.T., the third album of L.A.'s dynamic duo People Under The Stairs. Driving around listening to tracks like "Montego Slay" and "The L.A. Song" after the roads emptied out back home, tossing some brews back with the boys at school while dancing to "The Hang Loose", or dropping "Empty Bottles of Water" on my radio show and getting requests all the time for anything by them. When I saw them live at S.O.B.'s back in 2002 opening up for J-Live, I was hooked on this album. Straight across the boards, they are simply a stellar group that deserves their props.
Since 2000 with the release of Question In The Form Of An Answer, Double K and Thes One have been holding it down for the West, using the ground-up aesthetic to make music that inspires. And no I'm not saying that for the hoke factor. It's actually true. Two guys, crate digging, beat making, scratching, and even making artwork for their albums. This DIY method really resonates well on record because the music sounds so polished and professional nowadays in their catalog, you wonder if there's anyone else really helping them out.
In an interesting twist, on O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack), aside from two tracks featuring one guest artist a piece and three other people simply working on the mastering, design, and photos for the album cover, EVERYTHING on that album was done by the boys themselves. More than impressive, it's hip-hop, mayne.
As far as production goes, each of them have their own distinct style. But since I'm not a producer or much of a crate digger myself, I'm not really in much of a position to analyze the difference. If there's anything I can dissect, I would look towards Double putting a lot more emphasis on bass and tempo while Thes sprinkles in excellent, infectious synth or guitar loops to compliment the pop of his drums, all put to a slower rhythm than Dub's.
See, I told you I couldn't do it. I tried though.
On the mic, they've gotten some flack, but to be honest with you, they've improved drastically on the mic over the years. I would venture to say the criticism of past has gotten the best of them and made them step up harder. I guess they've managed to create some beef with fellow artists (Lootpack to name one in particular), but for what reason, I don't understand. I know they beefed with Soulsides' own O-Dub a few years back, but once again I'm travelling into unknown territory. I'll leave it at that then, and say that for the most part, PUTS are on their own. Which is rare in hip-hop, but its their choice, I suppose. The only well known cats I have seen them collaborate with over the years on some sort of consistent basis is Ugly Duckling (speaking of which, March 9th). No awful pun intended, but sometimes the names truly take on double meanings in the most amusing way.
PUTS have a new album coming out this spring, entitled Stepfather. Look out for it April 18th. BUY IT. Or they're gonna ring my head the next time they come through to New York, and we wouldn't that, k? In the meantime, enjoy this new track from off the album. Completely exclusive, kiddies...to the point where I was so paranoid I had to google search this just to make sure I wasn't bullshitting you.
People Under The Stairs - Tuxedo Rap (rapidshare link)
Those drums!!! That synth!!! I'm totally hyped for this album now. I'm not sure at this time which of the two laced this, but I'm gonna say this sounds more like a Thes One production. It reminds me a little of the "Noonen" joint Thes produced in 2004 I believe, for those in the know. Enjoy this, cause its all you're getting until April!
Meanwhile, if I've made a fool of myself (likely) to a degree that you're still not really sure what kind of sound these guys have, even after listening to that track, save yourself from what I like to call An Embarassin' Comparison (many a scenester/trendwhore, as I prefer to call them, fall victim to this episode), and redirect your browser here.
For the record, I typed in "people under the stairs" and got the following: Warren G, Mac Dre, Madlib, Soul Position, and Crooked I.
It's a pretty damn great site. I'd sign up for it without hesitation, personally. Think about it: if you're at work and can't download software but wanna listen to music on your web-enabled office computer, just go that site and you'll be set.