People Under the Stairs

O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack)

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It's hard not to appreciate what People Under the Stairs are trying to accomplish with their third full-length. Fortunately, the attempt (i.e., the finished product) works just as well in practice as in theory. Although there could be a little more variety from track to track, this is one fun and funky record. There's a democratic, stylistic purity to O.S.T. -- hence the title -- that is wholly consistent with its predecessors. As Thes One explains in the liner notes, it's "an album that is made up of old records and personal experiences" -- no more, no less. Both One and Double K serve as MCs and DJs and think of themselves more as B-boys than artists or musicians. They eschew live instrumentation (with the exception of the bass on "The Breakdown") and rely instead on their distinctive, loose-limbed raps; deep, diverse record collections; and mad turntable skills. Consequently, the Los Angeles duo has been compared more often to the underground hip-hop combos of the 1980s and 1990s, like the Pharcyde and Freestyle Fellowship, than to their contemporaries of the 2000s. The best example of their no-frills approach comes to fruition on the horn-blasted party anthem "Hang Loose," a cross between Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and Poor Righteous Teachers (and in which they compare themselves to Kool & the Gang). Laid-back grooves and shout-outs to 1970s TV shows (like Scooby Doo), cold beverages (Long Island iced teas), and tasty treats (fish and chips) make O.S.T. one of the more enjoyable hip-hop releases of 2002.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:14 Amazon
2 3:46 Amazon
3 4:26 Amazon
4 4:06 Amazon
5 5:12 Amazon
6 3:29 Amazon
7 0:46 Amazon
8 4:31 Amazon
9 4:02 Amazon
10 3:24 Amazon
11 3:02 Amazon
12 4:36 Amazon
13 3:43 Amazon
14 0:58 Amazon
15 4:12 Amazon
16 4:26 Amazon
17 3:09 Amazon
18 4:55 Amazon
19 4:06 Amazon
20 5:00 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick