Pop-Preview: People Under the Stairs at The Brooklyn Bowl

maxwell barna gives us a sneak peek at his Q&A with the beloved Los Angeles hip-hop outfit, who’ll perform tonight in Brooklyn …

People Under The Stairs is gearing up, as we speak, to perform tonight at the Brooklyn Bowl in New York. If any of you were at their stellar performance at The Governors Ball this past June, you know exactly what you’re in for. If you haven’t had a chance to see them yet, and if you’re teetering on the fence and haven’t yet decided where you’re ending up tonight, stop considering anything else. The Brooklyn Bowl is the place to be, and People Under The Stairs is the group to see.

Just in case my word isn’t enough, here’s a snippit from the interview I did with Thes One, the group’s MC/Vocalist, on Friday. The full interview will be up Wednesday, but here’s a preview, just to demonstrate how much People Under The Stairs really loves NYC:

Pop-Break: Are you guys excited to be coming to be coming back to New York City?

Thes One: Ah, yeah man. You know, we really don’t have a lot of say over where we go. I think one of the things people don’t really understand, the biggest misconceptions about musicians and artists, is that we have some kind of say over what city we go to. If you look at our Facebook it’s just a never ending stream of questions like, “How come you guys don’t come to Hawaii, man? You know, we love you out here and you never come out here.” And I’m always just like, ‘Yo dude, don’t you think we’d come to Hawaii if we could?’ [laughs] We go where we get booked, you know? But there are certain instances where we can basically say, ‘Okay, we’re going to be here, so can we try to do there?’ So the last show of this Girl Talk tour is in Washington, and we asked if there was any way we could squeeze in a New York show to end off the year with. So that was one instance where we did our best to make it back to New York.

PB: Well, we always love when you guys come out. We saw you guys at The Governors Ball in New York City in June, and you guys really, really killed it. People went crazy over you guys. How did you guys enjoy your time out here? Why is it important that you come back to New York and show some love?

Thes One, performing live at The Governor's Ball in New York City.
Photo: Maxwell Barna.

Thes One: Well, New York is the birthplace of hip-hop. I’ll never forget the first show we ever did in New York; I was so fucking nervous and I know Double K was, too. It was CMJ in like, 1999. We were playing this small club, and of course it was our first show in New York so we didn’t know what to expect. And we walked into this club and it was just filled with famous hip hop dudes. All these old school hip hop dudes were there — it was crazy. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we represent L.A., but New York means a lot to us.

PB: That’s one of the things I like most about People Under The Stairs. People tend to get a little crazy over where they’re from rather than where they are, but even at the Governors Ball, both you and Double K paid so much respect to the city that you were at. Like, people come out sometimes and are just like, ‘Oh, L.A. rules,’ or ‘L.A.’s the shit,’ but you guys were really all about showing love for NYC. That’s some real from-the-heart stuff that we don’t typically get. Seeing it from the crowd and listening to you guys on stage, it seemed like you both really enjoyed being up there.

Thes One: Yeah! I mean, the first time I ever went to New York was for a hip-hop show. I had never been here before, but it’s funny. Double K had been here as a kid because he has family from New York, but I didn’t. But I knew every borough. I even knew what trains to take to get places because I’d been listening to hip hop my whole life. [laughs] I knew what train to take to get to Harlem from the Lower East Side just from listening to hip hop my whole life. New York is definitely a huge influence on my life. I mean, I listen to so much hip hop I’m worried I’m going to start picking up a New York accent. [laughs] [Note: Thes One took a crack at a New York accent, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying because I was laughing so hard.]


People Under the Stairs is a bit of a rarity. They’re a traditionally West Coast group with a very West Coast flavor that cite a lot of the inspiration for what they do to East Coast kings. If you haven’t heard them live yet, this is your perfect chance.

And as for the interview above, this is only a small fraction of what Thes One and I talked about. We covered the gamut — everything from the importance of records in hip hop, the future of the industry, Occupy Wall Street, their new record, Highlighter, released a little over a month ago, and more. I’m also proud to say Thes One didn’t disappoint, and gave hands down, the most thorough answer to my “favorite beer” question of all time — this man knows his brew So head out to the Brooklyn Bowl tonight to support some true L.A. hip-hop legends, then check back to Pop-Break.com this Wednesday for a thorough and complete interview with the group’s MC/Vocalist, Thes One.

For info on tickets ($10) and the venue, go to the Brooklyn Bowl’s website.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.