People Under The Stairs
Los Angeles based People Under The Stairs, Double K (Michael Turner) and Thes One (Christopher Portugal) are the most successful fully independent hip hop duo in the history of Hip-Hop. Since their initial full length release in 1998, People Under The Stairs have performed more than a thousand sold out shows, festivals and world tours spanning 6 continents and 40 countries. With a strong DIY ethic, "The P", as they are referred to by their fans, have self managed, produced and engineered 7 full-length albums and countless singles and side projects. The musical sensibility punctuating their unique brand of hip-hop has not only earned them the title "The Steely Dan of Rap Music" but consistent critical acclaim and numerous appearances on the Billboard Charts. Their illustrious career includes an appearance on The Simpson's 20th Anniversary Special, a John Peele Session at Abbey Road, and groundbreaking performances at key festivals such as Glastonbury, Leeds, Redding, Coachella and Bonaroo, the last of which was noted by SPIN magazine as "Simply the best performance of Friday… Period". As part of their 10 year Anniversary World Tour in 2009, People Under The Stairs traveled to new continents with sold out shows in China, Brazil and South Africa and continued to tour through 2011 as they work on their 8th studio album.
From his modest South Philadelphia recording space, emcee/producer/multi-instrumentalist Lushlife has been quietly crafting some of the most inventive and well-regarded hip-hop records of the last several years. On his latest release, a limited-edition cassette/digital offering called, No More Golden Days, Lush explores increasingly eccentric sonic territory, still effortlessly engaging listeners with his undeniable pop sensibilities and classic east coast flow. Clearly the work of an artist interested in conveying feeling through sound, No More Golden Days ebbs-and-flows like a classic DJ blend tape. Lushlife deftly moves from the same hip-hop instrumentals you’ll hear on Top 40 radio, to narcotic arrangements of mid-‘80s synth-pop jams. He recontextualizes modern indie records with an undeniable swagger, and then spits thoroughly over his own jaw-dropping productions.
And while this mixtape isn’t bloated with guests, each featured artist does bring fresh energy to the program. At one moment, Heems of Das Racist trades sixteens with Lush on a mystic-sounding Gang Gang Dance edit, and in the next, former Titus Andronicus member, Andrew Cedermark is crooning away on a Lushlife rerub of OMD’s The Romance of the Telescope. It’s obvious that every millisecond of No More Golden Days is carefully executed to emote precisely what Lushlife wants you to feel. “I guess at its core, Golden Days is built on a sense of Impressionism,” he reflects. “I wanted to make the listener feel certain complex feelings, but also somehow sidestep the direct musical routes for eliciting those feelings. Like, for example, I don’t want to directly remind you of your favorite Rakim or Beach Boys record. I just want to try and use everything at my disposal to give you a little bit of the feeling you got, the first time you ever heard those records.”
Whether he’s flipping tween-pop starlet Katy Perry into a blissed-out whip-banger, or rapping on blown-out Clams Casino instrumentals, Lushlife is seemingly pushing the listener toward some gauzy, autumn night in his mind, with each successive track on this mixtape. So ultimately, No More Golden Days is not simply a work of post-millenial genre-hopping. Instead, its strength can be found in Lushlife’s unique ability to make Dilla, Katy Perry, Slowdive, and Drake feel like they’re part of one strangely, but perfectly-connected lineage.