People Under the Stairs
|People Under the Stairs|
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
People Under the Stairs is a hip hop group from Los Angeles, California formed in 1997 by Thes One and Double K. The group has released eight critically acclaimed full-length albums and performed on every continent except Antarctica. Some of their more recognizable songs include: "San Francisco Knights;" "Montego Slay;" "Los Angeles Daze"; and "Acid Raindrops." Many of the group's lyrics relate to life in their home town of Los Angeles.
While both were still attending high school in Mid-City Los Angeles, Thes One and Double K met and started working on music together, laying the foundation for what would become "People Under the Stairs" (PUTS). Soon after, while Thes One was attending USC, the duo began recording and performed their first live in-store appearance as a group at the (now defunct) Beat Non Stop record store on Melrose. A few months later, the group made a road trip north to the San Francisco Bay Area, which inspired them to write and record "San Francisco Knights", one of their most popular songs to date.
- The Next Step
The duo continued performing and recording, and in 1998 used Thes One's student loan funds to release their first 12-inch, entitled The Next Step, pt. 2. 250 copies were pressed, and then the stamper at the pressing plant broke. 200 more copies were made from a different master (without the secret bonus track, "Live At The Fishbucket"); which on the first-run appeared on the b-side. In the late summer of 1998, the group independently released their first album, entitled The Next Step, which Thes One produced and engineered in its entirety.
That same year, just weeks after the 12-inch was released, the shopkeeper of the (now closed) Mr. Bongo record shop, purchased a large number of copies for his shop. When he played it in the store, customers rushed the counter and it sold out within 7 minutes. Seeing the demand, the shopkeeper called Chris Smith, owner of Om Records in San Francisco, and urged him to get in contact with PUTS. Initially, Smith contacted the group regarding a one-song deal for Om's compilation albums, Deep Concentration and Mushroom Jazz; but upon hearing more of the duo's material offered them a four album deal.
PUTS signed with Om Records in 1999. They played their first world tour in late summer of the same year, initially as support for the "Deep Concentration" project. Later that year (while touring Europe) they performed as a solo act with local openers.
- Question in the Form of an Answer
Question in the Form of an Answer was released in June 2000. The lead 12” single, "Youth Explosion", sold the full run of 15,000 copies pressed in its first month, and was not repressed in order to promote the second and third singles—"The Cat" and "We’ll Be There"—each of which went on to sell 15,000 copies. The album was critically acclaimed for its eclectic and diverse range of beats rooted in jazz and psychedelic rock; and PUTS continued with another set of world tours to support the records, this time adding Japan and Australia to their route.
Following the release of the second album, Thes One began to coordinate strings of world tours for PUTS. The tour culminated in performances at the UK’s famous Glastonbury Festival in 2001 (alongside Kelis); and successful shows at the Reading, Leeds, and the Essential festivals in London (where the group was joined with Biz Markie, Ice-T, Jeru, Masta Ace and De La Soul on the final Sunday of the festival).
In between managing tours and performing, Thes One began producing and engineering the third PUTS album, which was released in June 2002 as O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack). Critically acclaimed for its broad musical influences and dead on hip hop sound, songs such as "Montego Slay" and "Acid Raindrops" quickly became favorites and helped solidify the group's dedicated worldwide fan base, and it remains a fan favorite to this day.
- ...Or Stay Tuned
Released in August 2003, ...Or Stay Tuned was the group's fourth album and final release on Om Records. The album was labeled an EP due to contractual issues, but was considered by many (including the group), to be a full-length contribution. PUTS continued to tour the globe, spending 7–8 months of the year on the road at times.
Thes One continued to tour with PUTS through 2005 and began production on the next album, Stepfather. He inked a deal for the group with local Los Angeles label, Basement Records, and coordinated the release's elaborate deluxe packaging with long time friend, Joshua Dunn (of the design team, Secret Pizza Party). Stepfather (released in 2006), was the fifth full-length release and met with critical acclaim. Stepfather presented a more modern and personal direction for the group. Consisting of Thes One’s turn towards left-of-center rhythm’s and modern soul and disco, it was his most ambitious production yet; though songs like "Tuxedo Rap" seemed a simple return to hip-hop’s disco rap roots. The group toured in the US throughout that year, taking then unknown rock-rap group, Gym Class Heroes, as opening act with them.
- Fun DMC
Fun DMC is the sixth studio album by PUTS, released on Gold Dust Media, a division of Studio !K7. Recorded throughout the summer of 2008, the theme of the album is summertime fun in Los Angeles. The background and intros/outros of most songs on the album have audio recorded around LA that summer. The name of the album is a homage to Run–D.M.C.; and in anticipation of the album, the group released the mix tape, "Funner than Leather"—a play on the Run–D.M.C.-inspired (and Rick Rubin-directed) film, Tougher Than Leather.
After touring extensively throughout Australia (2004–2007), Thes One and Double K wrote the song, "The Wiz", about their travels down under. In summer 2008, the group worked with director Matt Bird to film the video for "The Wiz" while on location in Sydney. The filming of the video involved underwater cameras, cranes, and a helicopter shot, and is the group's most elaborate music video to date. Following a nationwide tour of the US in support of the album, PUTS celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a sold out show at Los Angeles’ historic El Rey Theatre (December 2008).
In spring of 2011, the group released a 'dub version' of the album that Thes One had made while mixing the Fun DMC album in 2008, which was available exclusively on their newly launched website.
In February 2009, PUTS became one of the only independent American music groups to tour China, selling out shows in both Beijing and Shanghai. PUTS, amongst other shows, was confirmed to play the Coachella Music Festival and Bonaroo Music Festival in 2009. Immediately following their performance at Bonaroo, Spin Magazine declared the group's performance: "The Best...Period"
- Carried Away
Released on October 13, 2009, Carried Away was the group's seventh album. As explained by The Onion in their AV club review: "'Carried Away' proves that Thes One and Double K will be pumping out sunny, laid-back party anthems long after the Internet memes grow stale". Carried Away debuted at #5 on the iTunes hip hop charts; and was featured by iTunes, which noted: "As usual with PUTS, Carried Away is a self-contained effort with no guest producers or MC cameos, just entertaining rhymes and straightforward beatwork dotted with well-placed samples meant to delight hip-hop purists everywhere." Carried Away debuted on the Billboard charts at #23 on the Heatseeker Charts. Fans who had followed the group for years noted in many submitted reviews that the album was a return to classic PUTS material. Though demand to tour the US following the release of Carried Away was strong, PUTS was determined to break into new parts of the world. They toured Brazil and the southern cape of Africa following the release of the album.
PUTS announced the name of their eighth album, Highlighter, live onstage at the Governor's Ball Music Festival in NYC on June 17, 2011. Released on September 29, 2011, PUTS album #8 also is the first album to be commercially released in the HD-AAC format, and is sold directly to fans via their website.
Both members are featured on the track, "Shoot Your Shot," from the 2006 album, Bang For The Buck, by Ugly Duckling.
- The Next Step (1998)
- Question in the Form of an Answer (2000)
- O.S.T. (2002)
- ...Or Stay Tuned (2003)
- Stepfather (2006)
- Fun DMC (2008)
- Carried Away (2009)
- Highlighter (2011)
- Question in the Form of an Answer Instrumentals (2000)
- American Men Vol. 1 (2001)
- Stepfather Instrumentals Part 1 (2007)
- Stepfather Instrumentals Part 2 (2008)
- Other Such Tracks (2003)
- The Om Years (Favorites, Rarities & B-Sides) (2008)
- "The Next Step, pt. 2" (1998)
- "Youth Explosion" (2000)
- "The Cat" (2000)
- "We'll Be There" (2000) (Hot Rap Singles #36)
- "Jappy Jap" (2002)
- "O.S.T. (Original soundtrack)" (2002)
- "Acid Raindrops" (2002)
- "Yield / Out da Club" (2003)
- "Tuxedo Rap" (2006)
- "Pass The 40" (2006)
- "Step Bacc / The Wiz" (2007)
- "Party Enemy #1 / Critical Condition" (2008)
- "Trippin' at the Disco" (2009)
- "Stepfather Billboard Chart History"
- FUN DMC Billboard Chart History.
- "Fun DMC Dub Version Download".
- The Best and Worst of Bonaroo; article at Spin Magazine; June 12, 2009; retrieved .
- The Onion AV club reviews Carried Away.
- iTunes review of Carried Away
- Billboard Chart History for Carried Away.
- Fan Reviews of Carried Away.
- Live in Cape Town, Africa 2009.
- "Singles". Billboard.com. Nielsen Company. Retrieved 2008-03-08.