On November 1, 2011, I went to see People Under The Stairs at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I was given the chance to hang out with them backstage. Here's the transcript of my interviews with them:

Note:
This is abridged, not word-for-word. I cleaned up the sentences to flow better [stuttering, me saying stupid shit, ums/uhs/knowhatimsayins/etc.], and I also took out green room interruptions…

Also, the YouTube clip above doesn't cover the second part of the transcript below.

BEFORE THE SHOW:

[Sactown:] I had a few things I was thinking about asking you guys, so I was curious… well, let's just start from the beginning:

So, when you were kids in the 80's, how did the lyrical side of things start? Like, were you rapping to your favorite EPMD in front of the mirror [Double K starts nodding], checking your b-boy stance, doing that kind of shit?

[Double K:] Oh, fuck yeah.

[Sactown:] Fuck yeah?

[Double K:] Hell yeah, dude. Hell, I had… my mom… we had an apartment in the neighborhood on Sherbourne and Guthrie, man, and it was an amazing apartment. Yeah, we had big mirrors in the living room, so when you walked in the living room, you saw yourself. Man, I would go in there, and I would do all the fuckin' Fresh Prince… Brand New Funk was my favorite one to do.

But seriously, I never considered myself a rapper, still don't. I just do it 'cause me and the homie do it, but… of course, we got our b-boy stances on. We wanted to be fresh! I wanted to make sure I was fresh, so I definitely did that. [Points to Thes] I know he did. I've seen pictures of this fool…

[Thes One:] Yeah…

[Sactown:] Were you trying to make your own stuff, or were you…?

[Thes One:] Nah. The thing about us becoming "rappers" was, you know, we hated… when we hooked up, we were music people. I mean, that was our bond, right? He was the only guy I ever met where I could talk about Freestyle Fellowship and The Beatnuts and Roy Ayers and Bob James. No one else in high school was into that kind of shit.

[Sactown:] And Led Zeppelin too…

[Thes One:] Yeah, shit like that. No one I knew cared about that type of shit. But we wanted to make music, and we were also surrounded by dudes that wanted to rap.  We were making beats, but we had to deal with dudes who wanted to rap, but didn't give a shit about music at all, and that… our favorite rappers were guys who made beats, like The Beatnuts. Look at these dudes: they make beats and they give beats to MCs, but they keep the best shit for themselves.

So kinda being inspired by that, we were like "Fuck these MCs… we're just gonna rap on it anyways." Never considered ourselves rappers or whatever, but it was a means to just get the shit done and not have to deal with rappers.

[Double K:] You know, I just want to say that I didn't really start rapping really until I met… you know, I went to high school with Murs, Eligh and Scarub, and I didn't really start freestylin' and letting that go until I met those dudes. I was like "These dudes can do it, I can do it too! Fuck it!"

And then, when I met this dude, we just sat down… I mean, it was never a plan to be in a group, you know what I'm saying? We made beats, we liked each other's beats, and one day, it was like "Fuck it, let's go record." He got some new equipment: a mic… "Let's go record something. Let's write it." And we wrote the fuckin' first song, and look…

[Sactown:] But, were you guys at Unity and threw in in cyphers, or anything like that?

[Double K nods while Thes tells the in-and-outing roadies driving us nuts to close the green room door]

[Double K:] Big time…

[Thes One:] But see, the thing was that it was mad competitive.

[Double K:] Yeah, me and this dude? We went to Unity, we went to all those spots, but check this out… people asked us, "Where'd the name come from?" We were People Under The Stairs. We didn't go and say "Let's rap." We didn't wanna say any of that "We're dope." We'd just sit in the back, and watch everything. Just laid… we were there, though.

[Thes One:] Oh, no. We were there… in fact, we were the people in the front row. We were the first people in, but at that time, we also started going to smaller clubs. There was this spot called the Ya-Ya Tea Bar, and Double K would DJ, and we were the posse, right? So, that was my dude… we would all roll deep, and Double K would start DJing, and then of course, like, guys would start rapping, and I started to feel like "Fuck, I should probably be cyphering up with these dudes" But to even step into the fuckin' cypher back then, you couldn't spit any written shit, and you had to be fuckin' game tight… You had to be dope!

[Double K:] Or you were gonna get fucked up. You were gonna get dissed all the way out to the motherfuckin'…

[Thes One:] No, you could physically get hurt, man. Motherfuckers would get yoked up, right? So…

[Sactown:] Damn…

[Thes One:] You know, that was like a quick step, where all of a sudden, you go from being some dudes that are into it, having to get your weight way the fuck up, you know? So…

[Sactown:] Yeah, I just remember things like Ice T in the "Breakin'" movies, just coming out really simple and stuff like that, but you'd have to come a lot more complex. Like you'd have to actually do something that was actually impressing people?

[Thes One:] It was a combination of baggin', riding a beat, and having balls.

[Double K:] That's what it was. Me and this dude, we loved the funk. I mean, even when we first met. Like he said, there were no cats that loved the old music that we loved. We got off on listening to Motown and P-Funk and Led Zeppelin, things like that. So we wanted to bring the funk to everybody. Fuck how "dope" we are. I mean, we tried to be dope, which I mean… it was cool. We knew our beats were the shit. But we couldn't bring the beats, so we'd… we'd do our shit. But we just wanted to bring the funk, so that, yo, we could ride the beat, we're on time, and we're not gonna flub our lyrics. We're not gonna stutter; we're gonna get it in.

[Sactown:] To make sure it's straight up.

[Double K:] Whether you like it or not! We did it, you know?

[Thes One:] And see, then what happened was… because we weren't the super-scientifical rappers, we kinda got in our lane. We were making music for us to listen to, so we started writing… not even thinking about it… we just started writing about the daily shit. A lot of day-to-day stuff. "San Francisco Knights" is basically a day-to-day thing… something that actually happened. A lot of inside jokes, and this and this-and-that, and then we realized that people liked that, and we kinda fell into that role. It was great because people didn't expect us to be scientifical lyricists. They expected to hear about Mike and Chris, so we kept writing like that.

[Double K:] It just wasn't us.

[Sactown:] So when you guys first met, and you met in the car, and traded beats and shit… Did you just naturally flow into "we're both gonna rap too?" or was one of you going to be the DJ and one be the MC?

[Double K:] Nothing like that, man. We were just like, "Okay, well guess what? Let's kick it this weekend." That's all it was: "I'mma hit you up, homie. Let's kick it, man. Let's play some more beats for each other." And then after a couple weekends of that and smoking hella weed and drinking and being fuckin'… you know… "young adults", then this fool got an 8-track, he'd just got his 3000, and was like "Come to the crib, man! Let's record a song." "Cool, alright, let's do it!" Spent the night, at his house, man, fuckin' made a song… "That song's cool, let's record another one." And the other one was dope, and we kept recording and kept recording, and we looked at each other and was, like, "Let's put this shit out 'cause the shit is good!"

[Thes One:] The majority of those sessions is what The Next Step is. It's just a bunch of shit we made in a room.

[Sactown:] Damn…

[Double K:] Without even saying, "Yo, let's be a group." We just loved music, man.

[Thes One:] We weren't really a group until the record came out, you know what I mean? It wasn't 'til '98, that…

[Double K:] I don't even think we were a group when the record came out.

[All laugh]

[Sactown:] It was just a collection of all shit.

[Thes One:] Right, right…

[Double K:] It was a picture of me and him, and here's our music.

[Thes One:] Anthology.

[Double K:] Right.

[Sactown:] That's great…

[Double K:] We still ain't a group, man. We just homies and shit, making music, dude.

[Thes One:] Yeah, for real.

[Sactown:] But that's probably something that keeps the longevity, I mean…

[Double K:] For sure, for sure… because, yo, man, a lot of cats… and I mean, I've seen a lot of cats that were good… maybe better than us! They just can't do it, man.

[Sactown:] The group mentality…

[Double K:] They don't love the music as much, I guess, man… 'cause if you let other shit get in the way of the music, man, you're fucking up. We love the music. We wanna give music to the people. We love doin' that. That's how we express ourselves. Some people, they do crazy shit, but…

[Thes One:] And that's why, sometimes, when we read some of the feedback on shit, we just scratch our heads or laugh 'cause it's just so fuckin' ridiculous what some people, who aren't super familiar with us, think that we think we should be doing or not doing, right? So, like, we get your Euro man coming and talking about "Oh, um… I miss the classic samples of this and that, and…" Look, motherfucker, it's the same dudes, making the same shit, but how many… it's year number thirteen now or whatever… how many times can we fuckin' sample a jazz guitar or like… you have songs from People Under The Stairs that you like, and that's fine. But we're not gonna make that song over and over and over again! Can't do that shit again, like… there can only be one "San Francisco Knights". There's not gonna be another one. There will only be one "Acid Raindrops". There won't be another one. We would look fuckin' foolish trying to rewrite… and groups do that! They find a song that's a hit, then they try to make that song eighty times again.

[Sactown:] Sure, sure… now I had a question for just you [Thes]. It's the only question that's just for one of you, so [Double] don't feel left out, man.

[Double K:] Oh, don't even worry about it.

[Sactown, turning to Thes:] So you're USC education… did that enter in to your lyricism at all? Did you start crafting shit, or was it the same kind of thing, where the beats are one thing, and then the lyrics are just something you kinda throw in on top of the beat.

[Double K:] You got a degree in what? I'm cuttin' in…

[Thes One:] Creative Writing.

[Double K:] Creative Writing! C'mon! Word!

[Sactown:] So, I'm thinking that it had to have something to do with… you know…

[Thes One:] I mean… kind of, I guess, but it's just… I was into hip hop before I got a degree at USC, right? So I knew, like, all the lyrics to a lot of LL Cool J songs before I knew how to write a story or whatever, right? So I would say, if anything, it's the other way around. I would say, if anything, studying the lyrics of everyone in the 80's and in the early 90's helped me to get into fuckin' USC! The writing part… 'cause, I mean… no one could write a story better than Slick Rick! Give the dude three minutes and you got a great fuckin' story… and it rhymes! It's tough to do, you know… so, yeah, it's the other way around for me, I think.

[Sactown:] Yeah… this has all been about lyrics, just because that's where I've been coming from…

[Thes One:] Yeah, yeah… it's cool to talk about…

[Sactown:] So, yeah, I was just curious about that. So I wanted to ask you, also… Okay, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, all the old rock guys, you know that they were dosing on something or doing some kind of drugs and shit…

[Double K, nodding in agreement:] Of course! Everyone would…

[Sactown:] But that contributed to the lyrics in a… you know… so like, with you guys, when you were starting up… how much do you think the drugs influenced the lyricism. Not much?

[Double K:] Nah, man. Not at all. I mean, I can tell you the truth. I'mma tell you the truth right now: the only album that we've done that I got fuckin' super lit to write every rhyme was Question in the Form of an Answer. I don't need that to fuckin'…so I wanna say that's not a factor at all of what we do. I actually like writing on a clear mind, you know what I mean?

[Sactown:] Sure.

[Brief interruption regarding VIP pass, guest list stuff]

[Sactown:] Alright, you were talking about, on the Oliver Wang interview I just heard, how you wanted to throw everything out after "O.S.T.". You wanted to go completely new with things, right?

[Thes One:] Yeah.

[Sactown:] And so, "going completely new" on a lyrical side: was there anything that you guys… it sounds like, from what I just heard, it sounds like you guys have just been, on the lyrical side, doing kinda the same thing the whole time, but is there anything that you guys decided to change up, like… 'cause, I know you said that, with "Acid Raindrops" and "Montego Slay", to kinda go a little bit more personal or create things a little differently, so…

[Double K:] The beat tells us what to do. Once we hear the beat, than the beat tells us, "Okay, you do this, or you do that." And that's what it is. The only time that me and this dude's ever had a conflict of what to do was with "Uprock Boogie". He thought it was a sinister-ass, serious beat, I thought it was a silly-ass beat, and I wanted to be silly, and we were like "Okay", and we kinda… we ended up with the silly.

[Thes One:] I think… going along with what he said, we never changed anything, right? But we also write about what's happening around us, and the fact of the matter is our lives have changed so much over the course of the albums, right? We were different people when we made "O.S.T.", with different responsibilities and things in our life, than we were when we made Stepfather, especially. I would say Stepfather was an album where  adulthood was kicking in.

[Double K:] Kicking in hard.

[Thes One:] Even at "O.S.T.", we were kids that were touring the world with not a lot of responsibility. By the time Stepfather came around, there was a whole shit-ton of responsibility that was already starting to kick in, and it was like… we didn't sit down and say, well, we're gonna change what we're writing, but our lives had changed, so we were writing about a different thing.

[Sactown:] Did you notice any catharsis… a kind of a release… when you wrote things like "July 3rd" or things like "Days Like These", "D", "A Baby"… when you wrote those songs, like… "getting it out" over a beat… did the beats soothe you in any way? Did it help you get it out?

[Double K:] Fuck yeah, man. Those songs you just said: "July 3rd", "D", I mean… both of those… those songs are personal, man. We're talking about real shit. "Days Like These"? That's fuckin' personal, talking about how my mom was young when she had me and wasn't doing shit, you know what I'm saying? About how my dad left… that's personal! And you know what? It's good to get it out. I don't go to therapists or none of that bullshit, so I use my music to do that, you know what I'm saying?

[Sactown:] The beat's the therapy.

[Double K:] Yeah, the beat is the therapy, man. The funk is. So… most definitely, man. The songs like those… no doubt. And every album, we have a song or two or three where we let some shit go. And you know, when I go back and listen to those songs, it's like, "I'm glad I said that", you know? 'Cause it's gone. It's off my chest now.

[Sactown:] Right, right. 'Cause when I think of, like, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, and… it's out!

[Double K:] Aw, yeah. Those mothafuckas, they were brutally honest, man. Brutally honest, dude.

[Thes One:] I mean, Here, My Dear is one giant "let's get shit off my chest."

[Double K:] Hell yeah, that shit was… word, word.

[Sactown:] Is there anything lyrically you guys haven't done yet? Like, I know you've done list tracks like "Ultimate 144" and "DQMOT", you did your Eddum Chibbum shit, and you guys have done your Tribe impression… very good, by the way… and even with "Ascension To Nowhere", you broke that non-4/4 thing

[Thes One:] Right, right.

[Double K:] That was a "first" thing for us, man.

[Thes One:] That was definitely something we definitely wanted to do for a long time, dude.

[Double K:] I was scared of that beat. But, boy, when we sat down in the studio and wrote it, it was… word, I can do it. I was scared of that shit, man. I was scared of that beat, just 'cause…

[Thes One:] Eddum Chibbum was a big hurdle, too, 'cause that shit was tough to fuckin' get off.

[Double K:] And "Foolish People". When we sat down in Visalia, we were getting fuckin' high, and I was writing. I was, like… I don't wanna diss the people that get me high. I don't wanna call 'em foolish. And then one day at the studio, I was like… I know how to approach it now. I'mma make it funny. Some dudes got me high, and I didn't wanna get high, you know what I'm sayin'? So…

[Sactown:] It's a classic comedy track.

[Double K:] Word, word.

[Sactown:] But is there anything you haven't done yet that you're thinking… in the future? Or is it just something that'll just come when it comes.

[Double K:] It just comes when it comes, man. We're not the dudes… we sit down, we have jokes, and we're like "let's do that." We don't say, "Yo, next album, we can talk about the whales and the dolphins." We get in there, and the beat comes on, we vibe, and it's like "okay, what'd you write? What you got? What you got? Aite, boom. We're on the same track? Let's keep going. Let's do another verse."

[Sactown:] So, you said Highlighter started with you guys in a fuckin' hotel room or something?

[Double K:] In Visalia, California… yeah, man. We were smokin' shitloads of weed.

[Thes One:] We were… three days, we were in Visalia, I think… right? Three days?

[Double K:] Yeah, three days… Two and a half days.

[Thes One:] Two and a half days, whatever, but we had… we were kind of a wreck, but… you know, to rap our head around what we were trying to accomplish… like Eddum Chibbum, Mean Spirited, Foolish People, all this shit… all these songs that I think are key to how the direction of the album went… they all got written, or attempted to get written, during that period of time.

[Double K:] No doubt. The brainstorm happened right there.

[Thes One:] I mean, we probably really wouldn't have done Eddum Chibbum if we were at home, trying to wrap our head around the situation.

[Minor interruption to deal with the continuing VIP pass situation]

[Thes One:] Sorry about that.

[Sactown:] Naw, naw. The things was, I was afraid of burdening you guys with a bunch of specific questions about specific tracks.

[Thes One:] I mean, if you have specific questions, we'll gladly fuckin' answer them.

[Sactown:] I didn't think of anything before I actually came here, but I did have one other question that was non-lyrics related. So, when you guys take a transitionary step, like the biggest one was Stepfather, it seems like… and even this one right now, there's a bit of a transition… and I think there have been two guys that have come on the forums so far,  and it hasn't been negative, but I mean, it's just kinda been, like, "I don't know, man. I don't know if I can follow 'em on this, this next step." Do you feel any anger, or do you just kinda say "Fuck it"? Do you just not let it… how do you respond to a criticism,or…

[Thes One:] I mean, it's…

[Sactown:] I know it's a tough question…

[Thes One:] Naw, naw, it's a good question. For me, personally, and I'm sure Double K wants to speak on this, too.

When "O.S.T." came out, right? Me personally… I think both of us… were completely oblivious to the fan response to it. Om kinda kept us in the dark about how many records it was selling, how well it was doing at the time, so we had really no idea that songs like "Acid Raindrops" and "Montego Slay" were quickly becoming fan favorites, right? So, it was years later… I think it was even after Stepfather… actually, us finding out about that was what prompted us leaving Om and going to do Stepfather.

It's weird when you don't have… I mean, imagine being in the dark about how people like an album, for two years! Now, we put an album out, and fuckin' ten minutes later, we get everyone's fuckin' opinion thrown… bombarded on us, right? On one hand, we're not used to it, so it's still kinda hard to deal with. Because we read the shit, and we're like… we go…

[Double K:] "What?!?"

[Thes One:] Yeah! We go "What the fuck are you talking about?"… out loud, like "What the fuck do you mean?" or whatever. Obviously, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I feel like, personally, if someone can't get with Highlighter, but can get with the earlier shit? Maybe they're better of listening to just those records and a bunch of other groups who kinda sound like that. Because that's part of the thing: we're trying to avoid… we're on our own musical journey, and we're growing…

[Double K:] We're musicians first. And I don't wanna say it like this, but it has nothing to do with hip-hop when it comes to us. We're musicians, man. Me and this dude, we don't listen to hip hop. If we do, that means the hip hop we're listening to is funny as shit, you know? We wanna laugh at it. But we're musicians, man. We wanna push it all the time.

[Sactown:] Sure, and the fan has to be willing to take the journey with you.

[Thes One:] Right! And…

[Sactown:] And if they're not willing to take the journey, then…

[Double K:] Fuck 'em!

[Thes One:] Then they shouldn't be on the fan forum, talking about, "Oh, uh… I think, you know… I'm not really sure about this."

[Double K:] Who the fuck are you to be say you're not sure about this? Don't buy it then!

[Thes One:] 'Cause the only reason someone would say that is if they really liked a particular song or something prior, and if you really liked that shit so much, then go back and fuckin' listen to it! 'Cause how many times can we make your fuckin'… the same song. We're not gonna do it.

[Sactown:] It's not gonna be just a new album full of "Youth Explosion" and "Zignaflyinblow"…

[Thes One:] Right. Because the thing is… look, I know what it's like to…

[Double K:] That was the time. We did that, and it's done.

[Thes One:] I mean, there were groups that made weird steps on their second record, and they lost me a little bit, but the fact of the matter is… no matter what we've changed, we haven't made a huge fuckin' jump like that. We haven't changed the line-up. We're still making all the fuckin' beats. We're talking about slight changes. "Oh, you guys don't sample enough jazz records anymore!" "Oh, really!"

[Double K:] Yeah. "Oh, really!"

[Thes One:] I read something, someone was talking about "Oh, what happened to all the crate diggin'? I see you guys sampling shit that everyone knows now." And my only thing was, like "Yo, if you're really that dope… yeah, you know what the obvious shit is on our record. Tell me what the other shit is!"

[Double K:] Right!

[Thes One:] You know? "Tell me what The Second Track is, motherfucker, 'cause that's a record. Find that shit!"

[Double K:] They're all records. Of course, me and this dude, we dig, and we got all the… we got  a-a-a-all the records. You know, we want all the rare shit, but we love the shit that we all grew up on.

[Sactown:] "As" by Steve Wonder? That shit's the… I put that on my wedding mixtape.

[Double K:] That's my favorite fuckin' song in the world! I'm glad that shit got to get… I mean, we ain't got to pay for it, I hope, but we know… I thank god that this dude liked the beat and I was like "Word, that's my favorite song of all time."

[Sactown:] Yeah, that's going on. Michael Jackson on that last track?

[Double K:] Yeah, we grew up to that shit.

[Thes One:] I miss that shit.

[Double K:] We didn't grow up to Bob James or rare jazz records. We grew up to that shit, so…

[Thes One:] One of the things…

[Some random dude walked in to the green room, nabbed something off the snack table, and walked out.]

[Double K:] Who the fuck was that?

[Thes One:] We got all this shit in here.

[Double K and Sactown crack up.]

[Thes One:] I miss having… when we were coming into hip hop, before all the crate diggin', all this shit… you know, "Good Times"! I recognize it. Guys are rapping over it. Fucking awesome! You know? When I heard K-Solo, and I heard the "Before I let…", I was like "Oh ,shit! My parents liked this song!" Frankie Beverly and Maze… That brought me into hip hop, right? I kinda felt like, with the youngest generation… like the 15-year old kids we're about to go out to… I think it's a great idea to bring that element of hip hop back. Being rare and obscure is all good and great, but then again, you're not making yourself a part of this thing that's hip hop, where you steal an old disco record or an old record and make a new song. It's becoming something different at that point. As far as production-wise… I know Mike feels the same way… I'm fucking unapologetic about that shit. You recognize it? Good, that's the point! That's the fucking point! "Oh, it's Nirvana!" "No shit, Sherlock!"

[Double K:] Right! "No fucking shit!"

[Thes One:] That's the point! We made it sound like something different.

[Double K:] You want a beer? I want a…

[Thes One:] I do want a beer. We should probably get started…

[Sactown:] I actually… I just have one final question.

[Thes One & Double K:] Aite.

[Sactown:] What are my chances of getting my hands on that "Marble Madness" console because that shit… I rocked that shit as a kid. That "Marble Madness" game…

[Thes One:] Ahhhhhh, man. Those are tough, man. I don't even see 'em around L.A.

[Double K:] Marble Madness!

[Sactown:] I fuckin' rocked that game…

[Double K:] Good luck!

[Thes One:] Good luck. Mine's stayin' mine, so…

[Sactown:] Naw, I'm just kidding. But that was it…

[Double K:] You still got 'em?!

[Thes One:] Yeah, they are in storage… There it is.

[Sactown:] Alright, cool. Thank you, man, thank you.

[Double K:] Naw, man. Thank you, bro!

YouTube clip ends HERE.


AFTER THE SHOW

Note:
eightbitbreaks (another cat from the forum), his homie, and myself also got a chance to hang out with P.U.T.S. after their set, and a few moments from that hang out are also included here:

[I started recording right in the middle of a conversation about the early 1998 recordings before the first album.]

[Thes One:] Fuckin' crazy, dude.

[Double K:] I don't remember my shit.

[Thes One:] You don't remember your shit? It had… Wasn't that the one where you were talking about the goldfish tank… from Diff'rent Strokes?

[Double K:] Yeah, see, I knock you out like Abraham's fishbowl… something like that… some crazy shit…

[Thes One:] Naw, let's see, I can remember your verse, how did that shit start…

[Double K:] Pssh. No, you can't.

[Thes One:] I remember my verse!

[Double K:] Oh, really? Oh, really?

[Thes One:] Oh, you don't believe me?
Mental battle, dismantle my… [drowned out by oooohs]

[Sactown:] Don't call him out, now… you fuckin'…

[Double K:] Oh, really? If I get a copy of that shit, I might remember it…

[More laughing]

[Thes One, high pitched:] Ohhhhh, really?

[Double K:] Aiiiite?

[Sactown:] Is that shit still sitting somewhere?

[Thes One:] It's all in the archive. I got the whole first album, all 8 or 9 songs, it's all archived.

[Double K:] Yeah, that was the real… that was The Step… what y'all got was The Next Step. You ain't heard The Step.

[eightbitbreaks:] That's crazy.

[Double K:] It is crazy. We were young…

[Sactown:] Yeah, I think I remember reading some interview or something, and you guys were talking about some early shit.

[eightbitbreaks:] I love hearing that demo shit, like when Nas' demo tapes leaked released after Illmatic. I love hearing that shit.

[Double K:] Aw, yeah. Those were some great fuckin' songs.

[Thes One:] Ours aren't good like that.

[More laughing]

[Double K:] Not at all. Our shit sucked.

[Thes One:] Ours were NOT good like that. That's why it ain't out, man.

[eightbitbreaks:] I'm a collector, so that's the type of shit that's…

[Sactown:] Yeah, I know. That's gold.

[Thes One:] The shit is dope 'cause it's super-rough, like… you'll just hear tape hiss in there, like, "Yo, is this shit on?"

[eightbitbreaks:] That's beautiful.

[Sactown:] But instead, all you had to give us from the early shit was the OG Undadog skit. That's like the only thing…

[Double K:] Yo, did I tell you I found that fool? I went online to see where he was. He's locked up in fuckin' Arizona. He's in Arizona, and the thing is… he got a hard 15 years 'cause he's getting out in two years. He's doing his full time, ain't getting no good behavior… some little part of Arizona, that's where he's at. I looked him up one night. I was like, "Fuck it, where's my homie."

[Thes One:] Damn.

[Double K:] I thought, me and my lady, for the holidays, send him a card or something like that. But Undadog, man… that was my number one nigga rap buddy, dude, before I met this guy. I didn't care about nobody else when it came to rappin'. I DJed with cats, but that was my dude. Undadog's like… a Snoop Dogg. He was like a new Snoop Dogg. If my man woulda got it together and came out and wrote his shit 'cause he really thought he was a dope freestyler, but he sucked…

[Everyone laughs]

[Double K:] It was just cool recording that shit, 'cause shit he… I have all that shit archived right now. I could go listen to it…

[Thes One:] On the TR-707?

[Double K:] Aw, yeah.

[Thes One:] Really?

[Double K:] I got it all, man. The shit he said…
"I said shippity-show, hippity-ho… yo, yo, yo…
I'mma tell you right now, I could be my best, hey
To all the little suckas that think they claiming
Nigga look at me and wanna start blaming
Nigga looking like me is straight funky
And I'mma tell ya, Kaos and Undadog, we straight cold funky
C'mon like a lyriticist, I tell you, you can't get with this… trick… peace!

[Thes One:] So you remember this shit, right?

[Double K:] Psy-sych, I'mma tell you that I rap it on the mic
And you know we're not tall…
'Cause my name is Undadog and I'mma keep on busting.
What's the name of this record?
We gonna…

[Double K & Sactown:] KEEP ON BUSTING!

[Double K:] (imitates scratching) Oh, wow… funky with that George, yo, that shit, man, everytime I hear it, man, I can see what we were wearing. I mean, that's what we did, we went and got cheesesteaks after school. We went to the house and fuckin' made music, man.

[Sactown:] That's awesome…

[Double K:] I had a TR-707 and some Parliament records, and…

[Sactown:] That shit's crazy. How old were you?

[Double K:] At that time, we were like 13, 14…

[eightbitbreaks:] 13? Jesus, man…

[Sactown, points to Thes:] Where you doing… 13 , 14… what were you up to?

[Thes One:] Yeah, actually… well, I didn't really join a group until… I had shit, but I didn't join a group until I was 15. I mean, that's when I met Marlowe and all them 'cause there was a store called Down Low Hook Ups in Del Amo, and I used to go hang-out there, and then once I started driving and shit, I used to go every day, after school, over there to hang out with them. And dudes, just battling with everyone over there. We started a group, the name was Spiritual Madness, and then two of the dudes in the group got fuckin' locked up, so it was just me and Marlowe, and Marlowe left on an interstate drive, and fuckin' disappeared. In the meantime, we started our group, and the dude showed up again, and mysteriously… while we were working on The Step, we played him the shit, and the dude was just extremely fuckin' supportive. He was like, "Yo, you guys fuckin' do that!" and he bounced. That's when we recorded that song on American Men, and then he bounced.

[Sactown:] So that was "Sam Spade"? Marlowe?

[Thes One:] Yeah, that was him. He changed his name to Sam Spade, but that was Marlowe, That was the first dude I was ever making music with.

[Double K:] Let me tell you something, man. Marlowe was a motherfuckin'… let me tell you something, and I know he can tell you, man… thank Marlowe because you have him now.

[Sactown:] Really?

[Thes One:] Yeah, he really, you know…

[Double K:] Just like there was certain cats, my brother and cousin and shit in my life that… yeah, but Marlowe, man…

[Sactown:] And was "D" for DJ Dusk, is that who that was for? Who was that for? Just in general…

[Thes One:] That was for a lot of shit… yeah, just in general. I don't… when people die, I don't fuckin' take their numbers out on my cell phone, right? So that shit fucks me up every once in a while. I'll scroll through, and I'll see DJ Rob One and DJ Dusk, and all these people I used to fuckin' talk to or call, but there's something about it that… I can't just erase 'em out of the cell phone because then it's like it's a done deal.

[Double K:] That shit happened… not to cut you off, bro… but that shit happened after my pops passed away, and I was going through my phone, and saw it said "pops", and I was, like "woah."

[Sactown:] That hits you.

[Thes One:] You don't wanna take it out of the phone, right?

[Double K:] Right, right. But I had to, just so I can go on past that mothafucka…

[Thes One:] See, the crazy thing is like… with these phones, I've had the same contacts since way way back, you know? So I got mad motherfuckin' dead people on my contacts at this point, so… I remember, when I started writing that verse, that was really just the start of what I was thinking about, like: what does it mean to take someone out of your fuckin' phone when they're dead?

[Sactown:] Sure…

[Double K:] That's some bullshit… I mean, deleting Brian B.'s number… that was weird…

[Thes One:] See, I can't bring myself to delete the fuckin' numbers, man.

[Double K:] But you have to…

[Thes One:] I know, I know…

[Double K:] Can't call 'em…

[Thes One:] I just…

[Sactown:] Just make a beat when you do it… maybe that'll be helpful somehow…

[Thes One:] About Dusk, I felt extra guilty 'cause we were on tour, and my homeboy Cut called me, and he was like… I'll never forget what the light looked like… we were at fuckin'… it was dark, we had just gotten back from a show…

[Double K:] We were partyin'…

[Thes One:] We were in Portland… at the Doug Fir, sitting on the edge of the bed, getting ready to sleep.

[Double K:] I thought AC called me, and then I came and told you…

[Thes One:] Naw, I got a call before that… I got a call from Cut…

[Double K:] But you didn't believe me, you were like "AC's lying. You're lying." Goin' on AC, and then you called home, and…

[Thes One:] Damn… okay…

[Sactown:] Still, that's…

[Double K:] It's still fucked up… yeah… yeah… That was bad because we were really having a good time, and that fuckin'… fucked the whole night up. We kicked the girls out. We were like "Beat it. We ain't tryin' to chill right now." And that dude was a real, real big supporter of us, man. Our homeboy in L.A.

[Thes One:] Yeah, my wife and I met… we doubled-dated, that's how I met my wife. Me and him, for eight months, were double-dating with her and this girl, Paula. That's like why we were so fuckin' close 'cause our relationship started at the same time that…

[Sactown:] It wasn't just industry, it was personal…

[Thes One:] No, no, no, it wasn't… my first big job as an adult… I had a bunch of jobs, but I worked at Rhino Records, and he was the other register dude, so every day, I spent like nine hours with that fuckin' dude.

[eightbitbreaks:] I remember that from the interview, you said you reorganized records every day?

[Thes One:] Yeah, every day. Me and that dude… and then, when we started touring, we drifted apart, like right after Question came out. We really drifted apart, and the dude started doing these big shows in L.A. that were kinda "hipster", so I had like… well, not a "chip" on my shoulder, but I was just… he didn't get with the girl, and I ended up getting with the other girl who became my wife, but then it was weird shit, so she was defending her girl, so me and his relationship just fuckin' tanked, and then…

[Sactown:] But wait, you saw him again at the Rootdown Soundclash, though, right?

[Thes One:] Yeah, yeah. He hosted that, and he was one of the only dudes that had my back there, 'cause I didn't have fuckin' anyone with me there. Mike had to DJ that night, I was alone.

[Sactown:] Damn… oh, Mike wasn't even there?

[Thes One:] No. I was fuckin' alone.

[Double K:] I was somewhere else, spinning. There was a reason I didn't make it.

[Sactown:] Oh, no no no. I wasn't trying to say you didn't have your brotha's back or anything, just…

[Double K:] Yeah.

[Thes One:] But the fact of the matter is I was fuckin' alone, and that dude, Will, had about 50 people in his fuckin' posse…

[Sactown:] Yeah, well… pssh, that's Will.I.Am…

[Thes One:] I loaded my shit in, so…

[Double K:] But you're the Baron!

[Thes One:] Yeah, I know, but I was the alone Baron…

[Double K:] You made a lasting impression… nobody walks up to him and asks about that shit. Mo'fuckin' real cats, they liked that shit. People coming to see it liked y'all…

[Talked about some other stuff, had a few interruptions.]

[Double K:] Like I said, we were fuckin' Van Halen, dude. We got our taste of it. And guess what… that shit'll fuck you up! That's why we like it, but we like it from afar, you know?

[Sactown:] Yeah, well… like you said, you're a fuckin' different place now.

[Double K:] Yeah, we're older, man. C'mon… we were doing this when we were like 19, 20, 21 like…

[Thes One:] His age [gestures to the stage where Mac Miller's performing]

[eightbitbreaks:] This is the young-ass kid.

[Double K:] Right. Our first show? Our really first show: me and this dude, rappin' over some dope-ass beats comin' from… from a tape, it might've been a tape. Rappin' over that shit, and there's an esé with a 40 in a wheelchair…

[Everyone laughs]

[Double K:] And our girlfriends, our girlfriends at the time, we called 'em "G.U.T.S.: The Girls Under The Stairs", they would fuckin'… they were collecting money. This is downtown, and there's some dude from Santana Block...

[Thes One:] Fuck downtown, that shit was on MacArthur Park, like on MacArthur Park.

[Double K:] Yo, the OG from Santana Block that got out was like, "Dude, I gots to leave, who got some money, I'm trying to get to Compton." And we was like, "Yo…" we'll give him a little freestyle… 'Cause they let motherfuckers out of the County Jail at… whatever time of night, so they just wander around downtown, trying to get money to get to… yeah… but there was an esé with a 40, and he was loving our shit, and we loved this dude. We rapped to him all night. Six songs, we rapped to that dude.

[Sactown:] You look back on it, and that dude's got a special place in your heart now, probably…

[Double K:] Yeah. I'll never forget what he looked like, man. I mean, I can still see him, dude.

[Sactown:] Nothing beats fans…

[Double K:] And then we had our first real show, and that was the fuckin'… "Oh, we're onto something…"

[Thes One:] We have a video of that shit too.

[Double K:] The whole show…

[Thes One:] 1998… we performed a full set.

[Double K:] Xhibit was in the crowd… a big light shining on him. Yeah, we got the whole show on tape…

[Sactown:] Well, since you been through all of it, when's the autobiography coming out? Selling that on PL70…

[Thes One:] Uh, still got a couple more albums in us before that happens.

[eightbitbreaks:] Not done yet!

[Sactown:] Hell yeah, I hope you guys got a lot more albums left in you, but…

[Thes One:] Ten's the magic number.

[Double K:] That's a magic fuckin' number, man.

[Sactown:] Well, but you guys aren't talkin' retirement, though… I mean, you'll still keep going if 10 is rockin' fuckin'…

[Thes One:] I'm just sayin'… after that… let's just get to 10, you know?

[Sactown:] Yeah, that's the milestone…

[Double K:] Then after that? You know what we'll do? We'll do something new, see where it goes…

[Thes One:] But that was always like… we used to say after the second album… we never even thought about 10. But now, 10 is like…

[Sactown:] It's attainable.

[Thes One:] Yeah, it's crazy.

[Sactown:] Yeah, but everyone on the forums for a while was asking about the two videos that you guys made to promote Highlighter. Those beats, though, in that first video… everyone wants that beat.

[Double K:] That's an actual song… that song's been recorded. Yeah, the scratches on the…

[Sactown:] Sorry, but that shit's dope.

[Double K:] Yeah, that shit is dope. It's a good fuckin' song.


Back to Top



The Next Step Question in the Form of an Answer American Men, Vol. 1
"O.S.T." ...Or Stay Tuned Stepfather
The Om Years Fun DMC Carried Away
Highlighter 12 Step Program  
Piecelock 70 Collective
Official PUTS Online Forums