People Under The Stairs newest release, “Stepfather” instantly retreats back to the days of funk and soul endeavors from the late 60’s and early 70’s without hesitation or strain in a manner consistent to their original style that celebrates the soul revival leaking from every MPC in the Golden State.
The first track, “Step In,” is the foundation of P.U.T.S. fashion, laced with fresh bursts of organs, guitar jabs and wood blocks that mash together like some PB & J. Like stylus to papyrus, Double K is to the mic, taking hostage of your ear canal with precise care to wordplay while maintaining a vocal threat of endearing authenticity. Thes One vigorously launches onto the verse with Peruvian-driven raps and a delivery that has become much more concise since their debut in ‘97.
The album slows down with “Pass the 40,” a tribute to juggling rhymes and slinging mix tapes while looking fly. The beat is driven by simple drum machine beats that are built for one objective, to flow over. “Tuxedo Rap” delivers anticipated energy of P.U.T.S. that is likely to make your head bob and hips sway. The track is vital to “Stepfather” much like San Francisco Knights was to “The Next Step”. It has a bit of Michael Jackson appeal layered with a solid drum loop and a snare that cracks like fireworks.
What’s expected of a P.U.T.S. album is met with an emphasis on originality while portraying an important aspect of crate digging for that solid chorus or backdrop. “Stepfather” incorporates rhymes composed of L.A. burger joints (“Eat Street”), riding the bus with mom and showing love to family (“Days like these”), to paying dues to hip hop pioneers (“Letter to the old school”), to blunts and broads, macking on girls like a buffet (“Jamboree pt. 1”). “Stepfather” brings West Coast hiphop back to its roots inspired by 808s, tascams, eclectic samples and top knotch rhymes backed by jazzy hymns and soul mash-ups layered over 90s bass grooves.
Overall the album has a pretty tight foundation with various loops and such, but the album lacks the enthusiasm of earlier years while still paying close attention to rhyme delivery. As always, it’s enjoyable to hear what funk and soul samples can be dug up by Thes and Double K.