People Under the Stairs

People Under the Stairs
There's no denying that Thes One digs deep — this People Under the Stairs member makes searching for records to add to his overflowing collection a daily operation and is probably out getting his fingers dusty and already finding an armful of gems while most producers are just getting out of bed. "Record collecting is the only thing I can claim that I'm an O.G. at," admits Thes One. "And that's a bad thing. It's not like I'm bragging or anything — I just spend way too much time and money on it. I'm definitely way beyond just having records to make hip-hop songs from."

The other half of the Los Angeles duo, Double K, suffers from the same addiction and it's this passion for records that helped People Under the Stairs piece together one of the finest hip-hop releases of the year, O.S.T. But such a touching and personal release such as this doesn't stem from roaming record shops for strictly breaks and loops with song construction in mind, but more from the overall appreciation of the entire recording.

"I don't give a damn about a loop or a sample — I'm into the music," says Thes One. "I think there's so much we can learn from our past and that includes musically. I've spent a lot of time studying jazz and rock history and I saw what happened to jazz music and I don't want to see it happen to hip-hop." With the introduction of eBay and prolific reissues, it's becoming much easier for producers and DJs to take a more lax approach to finding the records they've always been looking for, but it's clearly not about owning the record but the search, discovery and full acknowledgment of the recording. "It's not always finding the dope record, it's the journey," explains Thes. "I'm trying to tell cats that these days but they don't understand. I've learned a lot about politics from record digging. I've learned about Carl B. Stokes and James Brown's political message, and all of this stuff doesn't come from just looking for a loop, it comes from really appreciating a record and reading the liner notes. I don't want to see that lost, I want to see that passed down."

Double K and Thes One's mad love for digging in the crates is well documented in the track O.S.T. track "The Dig" in which the pair make it well known how serious their search for music consumes their daily lives. "Anyone who's just digging for loops, you're missing the whole thing — you need to get on with it and start appreciating the message."