We're chilling, just waiting for this album to come out.
awhile since your last album. What have you been up to?
Doing the record and being on the road. All the quiet time is time in
the studio, time out digging, basically doing all the work it takes to
get the record ready. It's a long process.
like you guys take a lot of time to make each record different from the
others. How much time do you like to spend on an album?
A lot goes into it. Everything happens on the spot. If we have a beat,
we'll record it. We don't plan it out too much.
It's years and years of working on shit. It's years and years of work.
We'll take stuff we've made over the years and try to make a record out
you want to make with "Stepfather"?
A new People Under the Stairs record. Something that would be just as
fresh as the last one.
I wanted to give everyone something different, but the same. I didn't
want to give everyone another "O.S.T" or "Question in the
Form of an Answer." We want to have similarities so fans feel it,
but we don't want to touch on the same topics. We had some songs that
we cut because we didn't want to do the same songs over and over. We had
a dope DJ song where K was killing it, but we already did that. This record
is not so much about Hip Hop like "O.S.T" was. This is more
some family stuff.
is it to balance what you want to do and giving the fans what they want
I say we just do it. We always do what we want. Me and Thes may be doing
something and we'll say, "The fans are going to hate this, but we're
going to do it anyway." We're artists and we make music.
Yeah. For instance, I fucking love "Pass the 40." I think it's
the shit. I know a lot of fans that like certain things aren't going to
like it and make fun of it. We're doing this to make ourselves happy.
To each his own. God knows we're not selling platinum, so we don't have
to cater to our audience.
the creative control you have being independent ever be a bad thing?
It goes both ways. In my opinion, the lack of people being on a label
means a lot of bullshit is coming out. Bigga B used to help people on
his label. We try to do something professional. If we do independent Hip
Hop, it gets lumped into all the bullshit everyone else does. There are
cats that do a lot of bullshit. There are a lot of cats that don't put
a lot of effort into their records. We try and knock them out.
your inspiration for naming the album "Stepfather"?
We're the stepfathers of this. We're coming in and we're bringing our
loops and break-beats and topics for the songs when all these other cats
have their bling bling and their ice. That's what the kids are in love
with. I don't want to say any names, but there's a lot of bullshit out
there. We're trying to come in the house and they don't want to listen
to us. It's more in a comical way, I guess.
a lot of tracks, like "Days Like This," that talk about having
fun. Has Hip Hop forgotten to have fun?
I think Hip Hop is having a little too much fun, but in a bad way. There
are a lot of underground heads that just want to be super-Hip Hop. They're
running around with their four elements. C'mon, this is life. It's bigger
than that. Have some fun and just drop it. Get over the fact that you're
Hip Hop for one fucking second, buy a hat that fits you, and go out and
have some fun.
hear songs like "Eat Street" very often.
Yeah. We love to eat, so why not rap about it. The Fat Boys did it too.
Why not talk about it? Dudes like to talk about having sex and smoking
weed, but everyone loves to eat, too. I guess it's not cool to rap about
that. You wouldn't hear that on anybody else's album.
important is it to pay tribute to the old school with tracks like "Old
I think that's a problem. Without them, we wouldn't be here doing this
interview or talking about "Eat Street." I've heard rappers
say, "Fuck them." No one would know who you are if it wasn't
for them. And it's fucked up when underground dudes try to come out like,
"We're Hip Hop on some yo-ho shit." This is America and you
can listen to anyone you want, but why would you want to listen to a 21
year-old say what I could listen to LL say? Shut up with the four elements.
Hip Hop has been around for thirty years and no one is going to raise
the roof like they did. Pay them tribute or get over it and move on.
guys tired of hearing everyone say, "I'm talking it back to '95"?
Hell yeah! Shut up!
What was going on in '95? Everyone acts like it was all good. There was
some good music coming out, but it was just Hip Hop. The golden era was
the late 80's, but I guess dudes can't take it there.
We love that era because our favorite groups were coming out. But what
if Tribe Called Quest said, "We're going to take it back to '83!"?
That's basically what we're doing for the new kids coming up. Instead
of doing some innovative shit, everyone's trying to take it back.
Yeah. We have the golden era to look back on. I was there and I can go
back and listen to it whenever I want.
No one is going to do '95 better than the dudes that did it. You can make
some great 2006 shit. It kind of makes me upset.
the motivation for artists saying that? Is it a lack of creativity or
are they stupid?
I think it's both of them. It's a lack of ideas. They want to duplicate
They want to sound like Pete Rock really bad. But does he have to make
shit he made back then for the rest of his life because people liked it?
It's really killing shit. It's really getting weak and pointless. I apologize
for any kids that were excited about that. Our record's dope.
bother you when people say you guys are on "that old-school vibe"?
Do you consider yourself old-school?
No, because it's 2006. I don't talk like Kurtis Blow. I guess our music
is reminiscent of it because we're coming up with fresh beats and fresh
rhymes. That's the extent of it. If they think we have an old-school vibe,
that's cool, but don't put us in that old-school box.
We're trying to be us. If you think we're old school, then you have a
fucked up view of the old-school. This one kid called two of our tracks
Hyphy tracks. I was like, "Word?" Me and Double K make Hip Hop.
We love Hip Hop and we make Hip Hop. We're just artists.
have a problem if I ghostride to your tracks?
I think that's dangerous. (laughs) Leave that to the people who started
Theoretically, if you want to, ghostride the whip. (laughs)
ready to hear "Stepfather" right now?
I would hope so. I don't think so. I don't think they're ready for it.
of beats did you want to make for this record?
I just wanted to do something different. We have done our thing with jazz
loops. We're influenced by a variety of music besides jazz. I went through
greater pains to try to stretch it out and try some things I haven't tried
before. I didn't want to do the kick-snare boom-bip shit. There are a
lot of dudes that are great at that. We're trying to keep it interesting.
I get bored with my own shit sometimes. Mike, I know you do too.
Yeah. Look at Public Enemy or the Bomb Squad. They had a new sound. They
could have made the same shit but it would have just sound like everything
did you use for these beats?
Double K was on the 1200's and the MPC2000. I was on the MPC3000. I think
what is interesting about this is that we didn't change our equipment,
but we didn't change how we approach it. Doing a song like "Reflections,"
I knew what we were trying to accomplish and I hope we accomplished it.
We didn't make it the same way we make our Hip Hop beats. I let go of
the whole "if it's a Hip Hop beat, it has to have a snare right here."
Not all songs even need drums on it.
If you keep doing the same stuff, it's going to get boring. Why not rap
over the part with no drums? Let's do it.
took a strong stance on downloading music on "O.S.T." How do
you feel about that today?
Man, it's gotten worse. The day that our record went out to press, three
days later our record was on the internet. To add insult to injury, I
had motherfuckers calling me telling me the record was hot. "How
did you hear it?" "I had to download it. I had to hear it."
One of my homeboys got a press version and he has nothing to do with the
press. I think it makes people value music less and makes them appreciate
it less. They'll skim through it, say they don't like it, and erase it.
It takes the joy out of going to the store and checking out the artwork.
People put a lot of effort into that. At least they used to. It's fucked
you feel today when you hear tracks off "The Next Step"?
Wow. I say, "What?" We were young. I close my eyes when I hear
it. We were just doing what we wanted to do.
you judge your growth from day one to now?
I think we're just growing like any person is. If you look at our records,
"The Next Step" is our teenage years. We were teenagers and
we were acting like teenagers. "Question in the Form of an Answer"
was us coming of age and talking about some serious issues. We were still
partying, but we were dealing with other things. Then we had to do "O.S.T"
and make a record about Hip Hop. That's about beat-digging and smoking
weed. It's really only about Hip Hop. I don't think we could make another
record like that. It's two young men growing. If you look at "Stepfather,"
it's people our age that are starting to get married, have kids, and lose
their grandparents. That's what we're going through. I have eight friends
who are getting ready to have kids. Every record is different and some
teenage dudes won't want to hear us rapping about family stuff. They might
want to hear "The Next Step" and hear us rap about buying beer
with a fake ID.
you guys ever go solo?
I don't see myself being a solo guy. I don't want to go solo. I make music
on my own, but that's not going to happen.
That would just be weird at this point.
I'm People Under the Stairs.
If I'm going to make a Hip Hop record like this, then I have to do it
with Double K. If I don't do a Hip Hop record, then it's going to be a
real-estate investment. Hip Hop is definitely tough for cats who try to
live this lifestyle.
guys step out and do some outside production for other artists?
It would be great for both of us, but we're not going to submit beats
to anybody. We're both working on things, but we're not going to just
send beat-CD's to labels.
We have to work with our homies. Once we get outside of our homies, it's
tough for people to catch the vibe. If we sent out our beat-CD's, I don't
think anybody would like it.
your goals for "Stepfather"?
To sell as many units as possible, tour as much as possible, and get more
people to get into it. I just want people to be happy. Everyone has their
own opinion. I like the record and Mike likes the record. I hope everyone
loves it. Nah, I'm kidding. I really don't care.
be your advice to kids today sending their music out trying to break into
the game and keep getting rejected?
Don't break into Hip Hop! Sneak in on the side. Just keep doing what you
do. We got turned down. We were told that we would never work in this
city again. The joke's on them. They told us we would never work in this
city again. Why would you even say that? Like he's the mayor and shit.
Kids should definitely stick with it, but at the same time, be realistic
about this shit. Remember, you shit is going to be the realest when you're
having fun. If you quit your job when your girlfriend's pregnant and think
you're going to be a rapper, nah, you're an idiot. Don't do that. Keep
your job, support your family, and make your music on the side having
fun. That's the best music you'll ever make.
you want to say to your fans?
We love you and we're coming to your town. Go buy "Stepfather"
and buy extra copies for your family. And check out the DVD. Even if you
downloaded the album, go buy the real copy so you can check the DVD out.