The duo of Thes One and Double K is one of legend. The group met in High School and formed under the name "People Under The Stairs" in 1997, and right out of the gate went on to be the first rap group to ever release a bidi with the purchase of the physical release of "The Next Step" (Om Records 1998).
There is a good chance you have never heard of them: statistically speaking, I mean, they did not see mainstream commercial success. But a 16-year-old Case Bloom bought "P.U.T.S. - The Next Step" at Tower Records in Nashville, TN. He smoked that bidi cigarette at the park with his friends, they played the album really loudly in his first car, and a ton of other kids were doing the same.
We were hooked. Fans kept P.U.T.S. traveling around the globe and allowed them to work independently of the major labels. Who cares if you are famous if you can pay your bills and travel doing what you love? The era of the indy was the grind of the road followed by the studio grind. The songs tell some tales, but really the story is of two lifelong friends working together to see their dreams realized.
They thugged it out the indy way for 21 years and persevered through it all! Cheering fans, missed flights, long hours honing their craft, highs, and lows. They are great storytellers, and you really got to feel like another dude in the car while listening to their music.
With "Sincerely, The P", their 15th and final album as a group, they hung jerseys up in 2019, just before the world shut down for the global pandemic.
People were dying left and right. We lost an insane list of artists, and suddenly, we heard that Double K had passed. An immediate outpouring of mourning from the artist and hip-hop community happened in the usual ways on social media. It was sad, but also beautiful to know how much they mean to their fans, and how many there were!
Everyone immediately looked at Thes. Is he going to be ok?? How tragic a loss.
Thes did some writing and shared stories, and we smiled at the love in their friendship. You can really feel it as a fan: the P (P.U.T.S.) is a special thing, and I am grateful to have the music.
The world was at a dark time, and we lost so many people in the midst. There were both many distractions to occupy time and pitfalls to avoid. Thes One quietly began to pick up the pieces and the work of sculpting a monument to his fallen brother, Mike.
"Farewell, My Friend" is that work.
A beautiful collage of grooves that he knew were Mikey's favorites, and live instrumentation married with samples flipped. The two spent a life "digging for shit" at the record store, and "Farewell My Friend" is an impactful homage that tells the story of the duo without a single rap line.
Music like this is a powerful drug (Musical Dope). If "Farewell, My Friend" doesn't bring a tear to your eyes you should smoke a bidi, start at the beginning, and play it again. - Case
The Keo Project is currently bootstrapping on Indiegogo where, as of this writing, you can get a painting, a black book piece, or have a chat with the man over a vegan meal in Brooklyn (schedule permitting). Go support over here.