The hip hop community is currently mourning the loss of yet another icon, as Double K of the rap duo People Under The Stairs dies at the age of 43 on Sunday, January 31.
Christopher Portugal, a.k.a Thes One, completed the other half of the duo that began back in 1997. The name of the LA-based underground crew was seemingly fashioned off the 1991 comedic/horror The People Under the Stairs, which further added to their mystique and explorative sounds while still staying true to hip hop. The cause of Double K’s death still remains a mystery, but that has not stopped fans from showing their love for the rapper’s legacy as a true pioneer of West Coast hip hop.
The group would go on to release their debut album, The Next Step, a year after their official formation. The majority of the work on that project, including sampling, MCing, DJing, and producing, would be handled by the two-man team; a trend continued on other projects. They followed their debut release with Question in the Form of an Answer (2000); American Men Vol. 1 (compilation) (2000); O.S.T. (2002), …Or Stay Tuned (2003); Stepfather (2006); The Om Years (compilation) (2008); Fun DMC (2008); Carried Away (2009); Highlighter (2011); 12 Step Program (2014); American Men Vol. 2 (compilation) (2015); The Gettin’ Off Stage, Step 1 (2015); The Gettin’ Off Stage, Step 2 (2016); and their final project Sincerely, the P (2019).
The group disbanded in 2019, shortly after the release of their final project.
Not Double K. What a dope persona and artist. One of my first big national tours PUTS was gracious enough to take me out. Double K was a fucking west coast pioneer. This is tough. Prayers up for K, his family, and Thes.
REST IN POWER DOUBLE K ? pic.twitter.com/nPXjRM2xkC
— PSALM ONE ???? (@PsalmOne) January 31, 2021
People Under the Stairs has never quite shrugged the title of being an underground act, even with collaborations with hip hop veterans such as Jurassic 5, Hieroglyphics, and singer George Clinton tucked away in their arsenal. Nonetheless, their work has proved influential to other acts, most notably deceased rapper Mac Miller, who released his track “People Under the Stairs” as a part of his I Love Life, Thank You mixtape.
Double K of People Under the Stairs passed away this evening. In addition to rapping, he co-produced the group's music with groupmate Thes One which was extremely influential in the West Coast's underground scene.
RIP Double K. pic.twitter.com/qFKMqLyXdj
— Ruben | Check the Rhyme (@checktherhyme1) January 31, 2021
“Just let the music take over my soul, body and mind
To kick back relax one time and you goin find
I try to keep it stress free take everyday at a time
Make sure the families in place and let the music unwind”
RIP Double K ????? pic.twitter.com/4PlRT67GSY
— ‘Muhammad' RLee? (@_apocaloptimist) January 31, 2021
Man….this shit is crazy. I remember driving to Long Beat bumping PUTS shit when The Next Step dropped and then getting OST and being certain I was listening to a modern classic. RIP Double K. Another LA legend and indie rap legend. It was them & Madlib made me want to DIG
— ?? Bloodmoney Perez is Dead?? (@BloodmoneyPerez) January 31, 2021