We were fortunate enough to sit down & have a nice conversation with Eso Tre, one half of Los Angeles hip-hop group Substance Abuse. The other half Subz, wasn't able to make it to this interview but hopefully we'll catch him next time around.
(Interview at bottom of post)
Group members Eso Tre & Subz grew up together in Los Angeles, where they became hip-hop fans at an early age. In high school, the duo could often be found in the audience at the legendary Unity events that have since come to define the progressive LA hip-hop scene of the early 90's. Inspired by the shows' emphasis on positive expression through creative art, the friends began working on their own music.
As opposed to groups who either force change or resist it, Substance Abuse embraces natural progression. The duo creates earnest hip-hop music, combining equal measures of intelligence, clarity, innovation, and polish to evoke the unpretentious consciousness of the Golden Age era, while avoiding corny retro posturing.
Substance Abuse's first release was a 1998 EP with Santa Barbara's mic.edu called Brand New Crime on Rocketship Records. The project received extensive college radio airplay and critical praise, and led to the filming of a video for the track Spontaneous Egos, directed by independent filmmaker Jesse Felsot, which became a favorite of underground West Coast video shows. This was followed by the filming of the video for the celebrated anti-party anthem A Night on the Town featuring Kool Keith, which received nationwide exposure.
Watch "A Night on the Town" (Official Music Video) ft. Kool Keith
Throughout the next year, Eso Tre and Subz bolstered their reputations as crowd movers with a series of performances sharing the stage with mic legends such as Souls of Mischief and Aceyalone. In turn, the group's lyrical prowess earned them a slot on Sway and Tech's Wake-Up Show, where they premiered the lead track from their debut single, What the Fuck You Rhymin' For? Not surprisingly, Substance Abuse was soon named in URB magazine's Next 100 as a group to watch.
Listen to "What The Fuck You Rhymin' For?"
After gaining much acclaim for their collaboration with MF Doom on the infectious Profitless Thoughts track, April 26th 2006 Substance Abuse dropped their debut full length album, Overproof, a term signifying "more than ample evidence" of Substance Abuse's eminent mic skills. Featuring such artists as Saafir, Kool Keith, Motion Man, Kutmasta Kurt, Rasco, Thes-One, & MF Doom, Overproof nonplussedly grabbed due recognition; The album received four stars in both Urb and Scratch Magazine.
Listen to "Profitless Thoughts" ft. MF Doom
Following the Overproof album 7 years later in 2013, Substance Abuse released the Background Music album which features appearances from KRS-One, Tash, Sadat X, Percee P, Myka Nyne, MC Eiht, and Max Julien.
Background Music refers to the state of hip hop today, explains Eso Tre “Where the music seems deracinated of the personality & edge that it once had.” It also refers to how our music is construed by the masses, people who generally seem to favor the popular over the obscure. Real hip-hop has been forced to play the “background” to club & dance music that seems devoid of any message or staying power.
In 2016 the 7 track remix EP, Background Music: The Redux was released, presenting a work that re-imagines some of the classic tracks first introduced on their critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Background Music.
Listen to "Rear View" (KutMasta Kurt Remix) ft. KRS-One
Watch "Paper Tigers" (Official Music Video) ft. Myka 9 & Percee P
Watch the latest single from Substance Abuse -
Bridges (Official Music Video) ft. Aceyalone
Published June 3rd, 2018
Watch our interview with Eso Tre below & stay tuned for upcoming releases discussed in interview.
This interview is also available on many streaming podcast platforms.
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Eso Tre and Subz are L.A. duo Substance Abuse, presenting the RCKLSS ABNDN-directed music video for the Waes One and Philm One-produced single Bridges, featuring Aceyalone of Freestyle Fellowship. Former URB Next 100 picks, their 2006 album Overproof featured MF DOOM, Saafir, P.E.A.C.E., Kool Keith, Motion Man, Kutmasta Kurt and Rasco, while 2012's Background Music featured Myka Nyne, Tash of Tha Alkaholiks, KRS-One, MC Eiht and Percee P. Aceyalone is a founding member of Freestyle Fellowship, a collective that brought an improvisational focus to the Los Angeles underground hip-hop scene in the 1990s.
"Subz came up with the idea for Bridges because he felt we needed to do a song about unity in these increasingly divisive times we're in," Eso says. "We couldn't think of a better emcee than Aceyalone to bring on board, as he has a special talent for creating dope songs built off of a single metaphor. Our goal was to create something in the tradition of our heroes The Native Tongues, a track that was jazzy, positive, and upbeat but with a message that the modern audiences could relate to."
Watch Bridges (Official Music Video) by Substance Abuse ft. Aceyalone
Published Jun 3, 2018
August 12th, 2018 a new face emerged on the scene of hip-hop from Tampa Bay, Florida armed with his first album, Impulse. Although this artist is brand new & practically unheard of we had to review his first album & of course interview this inspiring phenomena that is Rotten Steve.
Watch Rotten Steve's first official music video Discipline from his first album, Impulse. Check out our album review of Impulse by Rotten Steve.
Watch our exclusive video interview with Rotten Steve below to find out what he's about & what releases he may have in near future.
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Based out of Bristol,VA/TN, Fidem Beats aka Killa Chron has been rapping for over seven years. He was a member of Young Souls at the young age of 15 (Rap Artist & Music Engineer). His new music showcases his ability to seamlessly flow intricate rhyme patterns around lyrical components to create music that you can feel. His goal is to stand outside of the box that this generation of rap artists find themselves in by focusing on writing material that is inspired by his life.
Fidem Beats has since fallen in love with the production side of music more than than lyrical side. Although he still drops some verses & videos once in awhile his main focus is now in production.
Watch our exclusive interview with Fidem Beats below to find out more about this transition & why it took place.
Watch Sunday Funday Official Music Video below
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A new face emerged from the Tampa Bay area of Florida by the name of Rotten Steve August 12th, 2018. After holding back his works from the public for many years Rotten Steve finally released his first project, the 12 track album titled Impulse .
Usually I'm not one to throw around similarities or comparisons, but if I had to for the sake of the viewers & due to the fact that Rotten Steve is brand new to the scene of hip-hop, I'd say Rotten Steve is a conscious acidic fusion between Lil Dicky, Eminem, Childish Gambino & Chance The Rapper with more than just a twist. Similarities & comparisons show no justice for the works of this amazing album.
Only briefly covering the tracks that stood out the most to us on this aesthetically pleasing project, here we go.
Released today, September 8th, 2018 Rotten Steve published his first official music video from this album. The style & quality of this track alone speaks volumes but when combined with the fact that this is his first official music video & first project release to date...... That's Discipline.
Track #7 -
Watch Discipline (Official Music Video)
In this generation of hip-hop there's such a thick saturation of carbon copy artists with little to no lyrical content. Paying homage to the founders, Rotten Steve emphasizes the need for originality while sticking to the roots of the culture that is hip-hop.
There He Goes again - Track #2
On track #3 Rotten Steve expresses the importance of the memories we have with our loved ones & all of life's events that helped form us into who we are today.
I wish I had a Collage of every memory to look back on.
Track #5 is a story we all know too well, a story of having hope in failed relationships, of hanging on & doing your best to work out all the kinks when we should've known better.
So I sent in Probes to try to get you....
I gotta let you go.
The only track on the album with an artist feature is track #8. A track with political views featuring insane bars from hip-hop artist & producer Vpollo Rockin. Vpollo Rockin also mixed & mastered the entire album & produced every track besides Discipline, You Can't & Waiting. I see Right Thru, you don't even want the truth.
Right Thru ft Vpollo Rockin
Every track on this album illuminates Rotten Steve's highly advanced lyrical abilities. Track #11's message affirms just this.
I ain't even aim for the stars. I'm patient because I know I'm
Watchin Em Fall
There isn't a single weak link on this entire album. I wanted to cover every track in this review but there isn't much to say about some of my favorites from this project such as Come Get Me, which speaks for itself.
This is a must have or at least a must for your playlist. With this level of talent showcased on Rotten Steve's first project release, I can't wait to see what he busts out with next. Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with this amazing artist & be sure to follow Rotten Steve in links listed below.