21 May, 2014@5:31 am
Thes One and Double K, better known to most as People Under The Stairs, have been putting it down for years, with their own brand of honest, crate-dug, neighborhood rap. Now on their eighth full-length album, and eleventh project overall, the duo return with another incredibly solid release, with no sign of letting up anytime soon.
Built around a fictional radio show of sorts – “Mike & Chris On WRLA” (with an incredible custom bumper to match) – the duo’s trademark sense of humor is embedded all over the album. From it’s opening sampled sketch, built around two gentlemen that invite you to “drink a little vodka” and “have a bath together, maybe”, there are plenty of strange, laugh out loud moments all over the record. Other examples include the inspirational track “Yes I Can”, which ends with Double K’s more realistic outlook on life, or their ode to light-stalking via Facebook, “Pictures On My Wall”.
Jokes aside, there are many moments of subtle brilliance placed all over the record. The title of the album itself, 12 Step Program, is a nod not only to it’s tracklist length, but also to the SP-1200, which likely had a hand in creating this record. Other times its in the sampling itself, such as how “LA Nights” ends and “Get Hip” begins, with vintage vocals speaking to each other. When the album ends, and comes full circle back around to it’s beginning – it’s clear that this record followed the plans of a well laid blueprint.
But what really makes PUTS latest another strong LP from the crew is the music itself. Thes and K offer a unique perspective of Los Angeles times, which differs from Wiz’s Khalifa’s glamorous Blacc Hollywood or Schoolboy Q’s unforgiving environment. Songs like “Cool Story Bro” and “LA Nights” describe the city’s underground culture, which in this point in their lives, is less about hip-hop, and more about just trying to make it, day by day.
Smoothly produced, People Under The Stairs return from their hiatus like they never left, as songs like “Ste. For Reefer”, “Doctor Feelgood”, and the aforementioned “LA Nights” show off their knack for creating sample-based masterpieces. Despite a rapidly changing musical landscape, PUTS stay true to their philosophies, best summed up on “The Strand”: “We press it on vinyl, it can’t be killed / if you throw it away, eternity rockin a landfill.”
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