"I don't even think we were a group when [The Next Step] came out... We still ain't a group. We just homies... making music, dude. We love the music."
- Double K, S.F. fan interview, 11/1/2011
"...The hard work is spinning on your turntable. So many hours, man, you wouldn't believe..."
- Thes One, "The Grind", Fun DMC
That's the general idea... two guys from Los Angeles, a deep respect for music, a gang of hard work... and enough funk to make George Clinton hold his nose.
Here are the basics:
People Under The Stairs (P.U.T.S.) is a duo of Los Angeles music-makers, consisting of Christopher "Thes One" Portugal and Michael "Double K" Turner.
Both Double K and Thes One grew up surrounded by music, and their high school days were devoted to the art of finding the perfect samples and creating gourmet beats. Los Angles in the 90's was the epicenter of the West Coast hip-hop explosion. Unity. The Good Life. 1580 KDAY. Artists like Jurassic 5, Freestyle Fellowship, The Pharcyde, Cypress Hill, Ice T, DJ Quik, and N.W.A. and its related solo acts. And the P.U.T.S. homeboys were caught in the blast.
Both Thes One and Double K had plenty of friends (who included the likes of Murs and Living Legends) who steady trumpeted their skills, and by 1995, they had heard a lot about each other. All of this culminated in an infamous meeting in Martin's Records. They went out and peeped each other's beats in a car tape deck... and the rest is history.
Eight albums (none on a major label), over twenty world tours (on every continent but Antarctica), and more than fifteen years later, they have expanded beyond the simple beatmaking and rhyme-spitting of their early work, and now they take the opportunity to use each new album to shed the layers from the hip-hop cliché, imbuing the stale genre with a new sense of purpose beyond jazz loops and battle raps.
In the past few years, Thes One's frustrations with music labels and red tape have also inspired him to start his own music collective, Piecelock 70, which includes Piecelock 70 Studios (built by Thes from the ground up), and a diverse and talented group of up-and-coming acts.
The group shows no signs of slowing down. And we reap the benefits.
([Sactown's Note:] Check back soon... I'm writing the detailed timeline as quick as I can!)