It’s taken them three albums to position themselves as one of indy hip-hop true elite, but with their latest effort Or Stay Tuned, Thes One and Double K of People Under The Stairs further solidify their spot on the map. Working as a “dessert disc”, Or Stay Tuned is the type of release which compiles b-sides and remixes to hold over fans in between consecutive new studio releases, cleverly deriving its title from last album’s O.S.T. origin.
While in most cases these types of releases are boring and mismatched, PUTS serves up a healthy dose of eleven tracks that picks up right where the stellar O.S.T. left off. Included here are last year’s excellent “OST (Remix)”, built upon a classic beat-box sample, with vibes and stuff that would make Pete Rock listen up. Other O.S.T. outtakes are included here, such as “Plunken Em” and “Roadbeaters”, both of which would have fit on that LP nicely, but work just as well here.
As far as completely new, never-heard before material, there are some incredible tracks on this release, which could make heads re-examine Thes and Double K as one of the tightest production duos of the moment. “Yo” whets the appetite with its soap opera organs, matching bassline, xylophones, and soul clap, as the two describe each other with collective L.A. coolness. This leads “L.A. Song (Sensitive Mix) “, which packs one of the best hip-hop beats of the year, no exaggeration. A track that can be felt, not heard, and only described as beautiful, this chilled out melody really hits the heart, playing like a Los Angeles version of 3rd Bass’s “Product Of The Environment”, as Thes’s laid-back, one-of-kind accented storytelling animates the track. While this is the LP’s dopest moment, there are several others as well – who can forget the duality of “Fly Love Song”, where Thes professes his love for making beats, while Double K professes his for the breezies.
While PUTS mess around on tracks like “Take The Fruit”, “SF Knights Remix”, and “Drumbox”, it’s obvious from the deeper selections that they take this rap shit seriously. Four albums deep with no famous guest appearances, Thes-One and Double K have proven themselves to be one of the most talented crews out of L.A., even if they aren’t a part of the “cool club” (Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Stones Throw). But since affiliation has never truly determined one’s talent, what is defined by PUTS through their music is that they are L.A., and even more so, they are hip-hop. They aren’t faking it, or struggling to be down, they exude hip-hop through their sound, their personalities, their slang, and the environment they were raised in. Stop sleeping, this is what you’ve been staying tuned for.
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