Double K, one-half of the LA rap duo People Under the Stairs, died in his home Saturday, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed to Billboard. He was 43.
Born Michael Turner, he and cohort Thes One (real name Christopher Portugal) formed People Under the Stairs in 1997. The two went on to collaboratively produce, sample, MC and DJ their own music with their DIY technique.
People Under the Stairs released and entirely engineered their first album The Next Step in 1998 and later signed to Om Records. Their subsequent albums, Question in the Form of an Answer in 2000 and O.S.T. in 2002, helped Double K and Thes One continue to hone their idiosyncratic hip-hop sound that was somewhere in the middle of jazz and psychedelic rock. PUTS eventually disbanded in 2019 following the release of their 12th and final studio album, Sincerely, The P.
During their frequent touring schedule over the last two decades, PUTS opened for other hip-hop acts, such as Mac Miller, who named a song after the group from his 2011 mixtape I Love Life, Thank You, which sampled their 1998 track “San Francisco Knights.” They also joined Del the Funky Homosapien, Motion Mat with Kutmasta Kurt, Skhoolyard featuring Planet Asia, and Lifesavas for the second Cali-Comm hip-hop tour in 2002.
Their 2000 single “We’ll Be There” peaked at No. 36 peak on Billboard‘s Hot Rap Songs chart. Their ninth studio album 12 Step Program reached No. 20 on Top Rap Albums and No. 33 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in 2014.
“Where I grew up, there was the negative, and I had the positive, which was my music,” Double K told the Los Angeles Times in their 2019 exit interview. “I was surrounded by the negativity, the things going on in the streets, the stuff that I thought that I wanted to be a part of. I decided that this was more important. I just holed up in my room, listening to music, and then I met this dude and I had somebody else to listen to music with.”
A cause of death has not been revealed. DJ Mark Luv claimed in an Instagram video that he died peacefully in his sleep.
Damn…. RIP Double K. Never knew the PUTS guys personally, but it felt like there was a concurrent thing happening on the west coast to the Jux/Fondle em/RSE thing, and they were in the middle of it. Condolences to Thes One.
— RJ (@rjd2) January 31, 2021
6 months ago I was standing a couple spots behind Double K in the line at the grocery store. I didn't say anything cause it looked like he was with his mom. really wish I had now. #RIPDoubleK
— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) January 31, 2021
Rest in Power Double K. pic.twitter.com/lIe9VaSXs7
— Immortal Technique (@ImmortalTech) January 31, 2021