These are the transcripts of an interview with People Under The Stairs. The interview was conducted by Phayde on November 18th, 2002. People Under The Stairs hail from L.A. and consist of Thes One and Double K. They recently released their second full length album "OST" on OM Records in June of 2002, receiving considerable praise.
MVRemix: How's the tour so far?
DK: Tour is great. We've been doing a whole lot of… we've been doing hella shows for the past six weeks and they've all been successful.
MVRemix: What's your favourite place so far?
DK: So far I've gotta say Vancouver
MVRemix: No doubt! Why Vancouver?
DK: Well because the weed is good. And the last time I was here, it was a fantastic show, so I've been looking forward to Vancouver.
MVRemix: That's good. So why the name People Under the Stairs? Is it because of the movie or some other shit?
DK: It's a vibe we're on, ya know what I mean. Us two right here, we're not too much into the lime light, we kinda keep it on the "people under the stairs" type feel. So we're under the stairs. You don't see us until it's time to come out and party.
MVRemix: So it has nothing to do with the movie?
DK: Not at all.
MVRemix: Have you seen the movie?
DK: Uh, very little of it, and that was just recently.
MVRemix: You like it?
DK: There were actually some funny parts. There was some old guy calling this dude a little punk though, so I'm like watchin it, so he was like... you know. That made me laugh.
MVRemix: Okay. Well of all the records you guys have absorbed, sampled, or just merely found pleasure in, which would be a few of your most prized?
DK: For me, well, I don't know, I can't really say what record I found so much pleasure in sampling. I can say the ones I listen to. That would be "Let's take it to the stage" by Funkadelic, man and his would be Solo Horns Two by John Clemen.
MVRemix: [To Thes] Can you talk at all??
DK: that's right, man.
MVRemix: [laughing] I think someone's a little too crunked up for an interview right now.
MVRemix: Okay. On each album you guys have shown a somewhat different feel. The Next Step displayed a generally "night out on the town" type vibe, then Question in the Form was very laid back and chill. Then most recently OST had a party-type edge. What direction do you think you're gonna be hittin up next?
DK: Yeah you got it right. First one was a night-out-of-town type thing, second one was cool. This one? I would say we're a little bit more mature, more grown. Trying to get some thangs happening. The next one you're gonna see a little more bit of that, elevated, ya know what I mean? We're just getting older, that's all. We gotta get that through the music. Becoming more of a ladies man, ya know.
MVRemix: [laughing] How you becoming more of a ladies man?
DK: Well just cuz I'm not 18 anymore
MVRemix: Meaning what?
DK: Oh, meaning I know how to treat ladies now. More than I was when I was 18.
MVRemix: So that's gonna reflect the music?
DK: Yeah. Definitely. I rap cooler. T1: [laughing] You can rap cooler. We keep our 40s in it.
MVRemix: What are your thoughts on Canadian hip-hop?
DK: I like Saukrates.
MVRemix: Is that it?
DK: I haven't heard much. I mean really, they not public down there in LA. You only get like Choclair and Saukrates. I know it's a whole lot more though.
MVRemix: Thes, you were quoted on saying "underground is killing itself as we speak with sameness." Can you elaborate on that?
T1: Uh... I just think that a lot of cats need to break out of what they think shit should sound like and start following what they feel it should sound like.
MVRemix: Why do you think-
T1: That people do that?
I don't know why they do it. I think the reason that it's happening is because uh.. it seems to me that a lot of the new 12"s I hear all sound the same. And when I hear cats sampling other peoples sampled samples, then I definitely know shit is the same, ya know what I mean. If I hear someone sampling something that Premier chopped up, and then chopping that up… ya know what I mean.. DK: I can say one thing, I know what he means too. Nobody in the underground so-called has an identity anymore. You can't, you know, identify with these people cuz they're all the same. They all wanna, you know, guest appear on this person's album, and have them guest appear on theirs.. whereas, when you had Public Enemy, the Bomb Squad was making P.E. beats and nobody else had those beats, and there was no guest appearances. And now it's just like, haywire. Everybody's doing everything, and whatever they can just to have their record out, you know what I mean. So yeah, it's killing itself in a sense because we're not paying attention. I don't wanna say we because People Under the Stairs doin' it. A lot of dudes out there not paying attention to what they're doing. T1: And that reminds me. Remember in Las Vegas? Remember you went on that nickel machine called Haywire? DK: Yeah. [laughing] I'm sorry, we getting out of line here. T1: With Haywire you won a lotta money…
MVRemix: Alright, well to both of you, what do you think of the vast use of so called conventional or commercial sampling like Jay-Z using 'Me And My Girlfriend' or Jennifer Lopez using 'Southside Bronx' and 'Watch Out Now'?
DK: I think, for me and Thes One, I think that is a bunch of bull shit. They need to stop. T1: Bull shit!
MVRemix: What do you think is the biggest difference between J-Lo using that shit, and you guys sampling other people?
DK: Just being lazy. T1: Cuz J-Lo jacked the Beatnuts for that shit, man! DK: Right. Why don't we just go and steal this new hip-hop group's idea and put our own twist on it instead of coming with our own thing? You know, that's like, you know, Big Daddy Kane coming out over Rebel Without a Pause back in '89. They would have been like, 'what the fuck is he doing?' You know what I'm saying? With some new bills over it. No. You can't do that. T1: And it's worse that they play J-Lo's punk ass on the radio and they can't play the Beatnuts shit on the radio. It's the same fucking song, you know what I'm saying? Without her corny ass singing.
MVRemix: No doubt. It's cuz she got an ass.
DK: Well you don't sacrifice music for that, you know what I'm sayin. At all.
MVRemix: Whether you like it or not.
DK: Whether you like it or not. Music comes first.
MVRemix: Whether you like it or not, commercial's doing that nowadays, you know?
DK: [looking at Phayde blazing] You can't do that, you're interviewing us! Gimme that. [grabs blunt] T1: Yeah she been buggin me about smoking all night! [laughing]
MVRemix: You got any interesting crate digging stories?
T1: Yeah I do. One time I was looking for a milk crate behind the routes, and I met this dude named Jonas. And basically, his whole deal was he lived behind the supermarket and he ate the rotten fruit.
T1: That's the end of the story.
MVRemix: That's very cute.
T1: It's interesting.
MVRemix: Thank you. [laughing] Alright what are some of some of the current artists you guys admire, or underground artists you're feelin?
DK: I like the Unspoken Heard, I like El Da Sensei, I like Ugly Duckling. You know, a lot of the dudes out there really doing the same thing that they were doing. T1: I like the Lifesavas too. DK: And the Lifesavas.
MVRemix: With the recent shooting of Jam Master Jay, the old cliché has arisen that hip-hop is responsible for a lot of violence out there. Would you guys-
DK: no no no no no no no no! T1: That ain't nothing new. DK: Can I say this? Hip-hop came from the streets. And what's going on in the streets back then is still going on. Sometimes you can't escape that.
MVRemix: Meaning what?
DK: Meaning muthafuckas is out there getting killed no matter who you are.
MVRemix: So do you agree that hip-hop is responsible for a lot of it?
DK: It's not hip-hop. It's the streets. It's drugs. It's beef. It's other things going on out there. Nobody, you know, is listening to a rap record saying, 'fuck, lemme go kill this dude.' There's things going on out there where, you know, my man Jay probably got killed for something he had nothing to do with. He's just there at the wrong place and wrong time.
MVRemix: You don't feel that the music had anything to do with it?
DK: Not at all. T1: Nope. DK: They didn't make negative music. They're Run-DMC. They're the reason why we're here.
T1: We're talking about America, man. DK: I mean, Run-DMC came from the street just like a lot of people did, but they didn't put that out through their music. You can tell, you know what I mean, but they were a positive group. They wanted to pump that to the kids like me and this guy when we were growing up.
MVRemix: No doubt, with Peter Piper and My Adidas… it was all about fun.
DK: Oh yeah, definitely.
MVRemix: In "Keepin It Live" you say "I'm a b-boy for life so fuck a suit and a tie." So by that do you mean you could never see yourself in an office job?
MVRemix: Even when you're 50, 60 years old?
DK: I see myself at home counting my royalty checks looking at all my great records. That's what I see. And if I shoot for that, I'ma have it.
MVRemix: What if you got offered a million dollars a year to do a "suit and a tie" job?
DK: A million dollars a year… it depends on what I'm doing. T1: Being happy in life is not about making a million dollars a year.
MVRemix: Let's say you ain't happy at all. You're stuck in a suit and a tie, writing papers and what not every single day, but you got a million dollars.
DK: Every single day?
DK: Well of course! Every single day I'm getting a million dollars?
MVRemix: No no no, a million dollars every year.
DK: [thinking] no. I mean you know what, I can't say that. But right now, nah I wouldn't. Music means a lot more to me than just, you know, going out there and getting a quick buck. But I can't front and say that would never happen, cuz who knows, you know what I mean. People gotta live.
MVRemix: To both of you, what would make you happy in life?
DK: A girl that understands me and my music. T1: What would make me happy? DK: Same thing? T1: A bunch of equipment and shit.
MVRemix: Equipment would make you happy in life?
T1: Well I've got a good job so far.
MVRemix: In 20 years, what do you guys want to be remembered as?
DK: A funky hip-hop group. T1: I don't want people to have to remember me in 20 years but, if they have to, yeah, that.
MVRemix: A funky hip-hop group?
DK: No strings attatched.
MVRemix: Alright well I write for a couple web sites and what not, and before this interview I asked them 'what are a couple things you want to say to People Under The Stairs.' One dude said, "I ain't got no questions, but thank them on showing love all over the map, mostly for being real on and off the stage."
MVRemix: And secondly, "tell them that they better keep on making music because a lot of hip hop sucks and they are a breath of fresh air."
DK: Wow. I want to cry. That's all we want right there. T1: Yeah, that is. DK: That means more than us getting paid. Well for me, hearing means more than getting paid after the show.
MVRemix: And I'm telling you straight up, the majority of responses I got were all like that.
MVRemix: You guys experience BC bud yet?
[DK takes a puff of his blunt]
MVRemix: Haha, spoken for?
DK: Smoking for.
MVRemix: Alright last thing. Anything you'd like to say to your fans out there?
DK: Peace and keep coming to the shows and keep buying the records and we gonna keep making People Under The Stairs for you. T1: Hi-yahhh!!