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march 22nd, 2002 | interview : tadah

Has anyone ever tried to smoke that beedie, that came with the original pressing of the first album "The Next Step"?

Uhm, yeah. I'm sure they have dude. For a matter of fact, I saw someone in Australia buying the CD, taking the beedie out and smoking it right there.

Who rolled those? And how many did you do?

They were bought pre-rolled. I don't remember how much there were. But there were a lot. We set around with a lot of beedies for a while.

Let's talk about the album "O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack)" (on Om Records). It will drop on June 3rd. So is it already finished? What can we expect?

Yeah, it's done. Done and mastered. Ready to go. It's going to be twenty tracks and you can expect me and Thes One at our finest. Doing it in the studio, having a good time being us.

Any surprises?

Naw. You might hear us stretching out a little bit more on the tracks, coming up with some more ideas, just doing a little different stuff, but still keeping it at the same pace.

So it's still the good time vibes and the good time rhymes?

Yup. All day.

Have you never been tempted to do something more serious?

No, I haven't really been tempted. Sometimes we write serious rhymes just to express ourselves. But we try to keep that away from the music that People Under The Stairs makes. I mean, we are both full living people, we go through those things too, but we try and keep that separate from PUTS. We make it and just put it to the side, you know. We are recordings solo songs, sometimes just to record them. And while we don't plan to release that, we release ourselves through that.

Are there solo albums planned?

Naw, not planned. But don't be afraid if you see 'em. Cause we are definitely always working on stuff. Like Thes put out a 12" last year. He remixed this Pete Rock song, along with a solo song on it. [NOTE: there's going to be a Double K solo song, called "Livin' A Mean One" on the compilation "On Top Of The World", coming soon on DayByDay Entertainment - ed.]

Are you afraid, that you might be repeating yourself, since you are following a certain formula?

Naw, because it's what we make. It's what we started out doing. We don't repeat ourselves, we are just still making music that we make. Back in the day, when you heard a Run-D.M.C. album, it was just like the last one, but new. You expected the same type of shit from a Run-D.M.C. album, just like people are going to expect the same shit, from a People Under The Stairs album.

Theoretically, as there's no new 'old' music coming out, the number of samples is limited. So theoretically, as your music is based on those, you'll be running out of music to do in some time.

No, that's not true. Because there's a lot, a lot of records out there, that we haven't even touched. And as far as Thes One and myself, we try to stack samples. So running out of samples, will never be a problem for us. Not at all man.

So you already got samples for the next twenty albums?

Yeah, definitely (laughs). We got albums, and albums, and albums of crates sitting around.

I guess that's why you are doing twenty tracks on each album (smile).

Yeah. (smiles) There you go. We got a lot of stuff.

But with so many beat diggers out now, where do you still find records?

Yeah, we gotta go left. We gotta kinda stay away from those guys. So that they don't see what we are buying, or what we are looking for. Cause we are not on the same shit, that they are on. We are buying stuff, that we try to make good music out of, and not something where someone said, that there's a good scary sound on this or that. We are going totally left.

Somewhere you mentioned that you are not using re-releases. Are you against them in general, or do they hold a value for being the only way for some people to hear these classic recordings?

Yeah, we both understand that value. But when it comes to the art of beat digging, that's against the rules. However, me being a DJ, I will buy 'em. Because I'm always scratching and cutting up records. So if I have an original copy of something, I will buy the reissue, so that I can leave the original at home. But I still try to stay away from them. Sometimes I get tempted though, because I really wanna hear it. Thes One however, he definitely stays away from them.

There's like this 'Strictly Breaks' imprint that releases double vinyl's of A Tribe Called Quest samples, or De La Soul samples. Are you afraid, that there's going to be one of those with PUTS samples, and it might even send lawyers after you?

I think it'll take dudes a long time to compile a record like that of our stuff. Although a lot of stuff on those Pete Rock compilations, or Tribe compilation, those were kinda hard to find too. But that's definitely against the rules. You can't just give that out, for everybody to see what they used. Especially if people haven't cleared the sample. That's definitely against the rules; that's some wack shit.

Do you clear samples?

No, we haven't, and we were known for not doing it. But this time we did do a couple.

So are you digging all day every day?

We are trying to. We were in Germany yesterday, and we picked up a few things. And we try to pick up some more things tomorrow. But right now, we are kinda stuck here, doing press.

In the liner notes of your second album "Questions In Form Of An Answer", Thes wrote that he'll promise that your music will always have the feel of 1993. But do you think that it really has a 1993 sound to it?

Naw, it doesn't have a '93 sound to it; we are just still doing the same thing, that the people in '93 were doing. You know, using old records, just having fun on the track, and not being political with everything; just doing hip hop, you know. We are not trying to make a '93 or '92 album. We are just still using those elements, in our music.

Do you think it's a coincidence, that all the retro-soundish groups, like J5, Breakestra, Ugly Duckling and yourself, are all coming from California?

You know, LA has always had a good hip hop scene, with a lot of people that were keeping it 'two turntables and a microphone and old records'. I think all those people are just now finally getting their shine. It's not like a big movement that started over night, we've all been there. Even when the G-Funk thing was going on, we were doing our thing. And if there's nothing like that coming from the East, then I don't know what the Eastcoast's problem is (smiles). That's where hip hop started, so you would think that they'd have a lot of groups doing this. I mean, there are a lot of good groups still coming out of the east, I just can't name 'em off the top of the head. But I heard some, and they were using the old samples and all that and everything.

Thes is usually credited as having produced the big portion on the album and you fill in the gaps. But you must have had an influence on his beats as well.

Yeah. And on this album, we kinda split it half and half. I got some tracks and he got tracks. But it's all about People Under The Stairs. It's all the same thing.

Speaking of the name: how did that come about?

That was us kinda putting into words what me and Thes are about. You know, staying out of the limelight. And so People Under The Stairs fits us. We just do our music, and we come up when it's time to represent and party, and we go back down and keep on doing it afterwards. Just staying out the lime light.

There's a movie of the same name. Did this have anything to do with you picking the name? And have you seen it?

Naw, that didn't have anything to do with it. Recently, during the last year or so, it was on TV, and I didn't even know I was watching it, until they said what it was. It was pretty funny, but also pretty corny. So maybe one day I will sit down and watch the whole thing. But you know, we had nothing to do with that movie at all.

How did you guys come up? Many LA crews come up in places like the Good Life or Project Blowed, but you are not mentioned as being part of that. So where did you come up?

We started up just doing our thing for ourselves, not really reliant on any big crews or anyone that was out there. I mean, we were at the Good Life and Project Blowed. We used to go all the time and hang out, we knew people from there. But we just decided to associate us with us and not rely on no big crew or whatever.

Is that also why you don't have too many guest appearances on your records?

That's one reason. Another reason is, that we want to make albums that represent us. And not put all the big emcees we know on the album, and make it sell because of that. We want us to sell. And if you buy our album, you are going to hear us.

You often talk about smoking 'erb. Switzerland is considering to legalizing it. So you are going to move to Switzerland? Or at least tour here?

Well, first it was Amsterdam, and now it might be Switzerland. I don't know (smile). But yeah I do smoke a lot. However, we are trying to set up a big tour through Europe. We do gotta plug this new album and so hopefully we will be all over there. Whether herb is legal or not, we gonna be there (smiles).

Aight, to wrap this up, any final comments?

Everybody buy the album in June. Listen to it. Play it for your parents. Play it for your kids, your teachers, your professors, or whatever. And just support the real shit coming out.

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