Saturday, November 28, 2009

Album Review: People Under The Stairs - Carried Away

Thes One and Double K have been doing this for a while now, and if you haven’t heard of them, they’re a duo that needs to be on your radar. With acclaimed albums such as “Stepfather,” “O.S.T.,” “The Next Step” and “Fun DMC,” few have represented LA as enthusiastically and developed such a unique sound. As the album cover suggests, “Carried Away” is their 7th album. Does it live up to the others? Definitely.


The album kicks it off properly with “Step Off,” a track that begins with a sample of what sounds like a British academic, who says, “Somehow pot and pills and assorted academics aren’t enough anymore…I need something more; more than a pill, or a pint or a poem...I need the hard stuff.” What follows is a simple yet powerful muted-guitar sample, echoed vocals and driving percussion. A track full of “we’re still here, and we’ll never quit” braggadocio, Thes One concludes with a line that echoes throughout the album: “We’re forever the P.”

Two joints that PUTS fans will undoubtedly appreciate are “80 Blocks From Silverlake” and “Down In LA.” “80 Blocks” features a funky electric piano sample, while “Down In LA” includes a slower piano sample and carefully-placed percussion. These are the type of tracks you expect to hear from PUTS, as Thes and Double K rap about the laid-back party life of the West Coast. Although the flow is definitely there, neither is blowing you away with witty lyrics or crazy methaphors; their work has always hinged on the production. The two have always had an incredible ear for samples, and it shows again here and throughout the album.

Two other nice tracks include “Trippin At The Disco,” an upbeat, feel-good track that was the LP’s first single, and “My Boy D,” an addictive, bass-heavy song that features a wah-wah guitar sample and trademark PUTS storytelling.

As most PUTS albums do, this one concludes with some of the album’s best production work. The last track is also the title track, and features a soulful guitar sample, echoed vocals, and drums that fit the mood of the song perfectly. Here, Thes and Double K pay tribute to hip-hop, and let you know that they truly love doing what they do.


There are two complaints I hear from both PUTS fans and non-fans. The first is that all of their songs sound alike. If you feel that way, than this album won’t be for you, as it’s pretty much more of the same from PUTS. The second is that there are too many goofy songs about drinking and blowin trees. There are two tracks devoted to just that on this album, “Beer” and “Cmon, Let’s Get High." Personally, I don’t have a problem with it if the rest of the album is filled with good work and the corny tracks are entertaining, which is the case here. PUTS are known for clowning and having fun on the mic, and these types of tracks fit in with that. It’s genuine.


To be sure, this album is one of my favorite releases of the year. I can’t get enough of Thes One’s production; in fact, I’d confidently put him among the top 15 producers of all time. It’s tough to consider anyone underground these days, but I’ve heard people say that Ant of Rhymesayers fame is the best underground producer, and I put Thes One right up there with him. The two are neck-and-neck.

PUTS are one of those rare acts that can be artistic and skillful, and look like they’re actually having fun doing it. If you need something a little lighter to ride to, cop this album now, you won’t regret it. There’s true talent here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

- JB

1 comment:

  1. Iron has made its name through Spiral Stairs
    I like outdoor spiral stairs.
    They give's a nice look.
    And the way they designed. I just luved it