SFHH Exclusive – Eso Tre |of the group Substance Abuse| Interview

Eso Tre of the group Substance Abuse Interview

We were able to catch up with Eso Tre of the Los Angeles based group “Substance Abuse.” Substance Abuse has been putting quality music since the late ’90s.

Their latest album entitled “Background Music” is available now He gracious enough to answer a few questions from us. With that let’s get into it.


SFHH: How is everything?

Eso Tre: I’m just chillin’ man. I am one half of “Substance Abuse” the other half is my partner Subz who is currently in Grenada.

SFHH: Who is “Substance Abuse?”

Eso Tre: I am one half of “Substance Abuse” the other half is my partner Subz who is currently in Grenada.

SFHH: We have the “Paper Tiger” video on the site right now. The track “Paper Tigers,” is this on the new album?

Eso Tre: It is on the new album. The new album is called “Background Music” and is currently available on Fat Beat Distribution. We have a lot of dope people on there like Tash (of Tha Alkaholiks), Sadat X, MC Eiht, and KRS-One. We got my homeboy Max Julian as well.

With this album we were basically trying to paint a picture of what it was like to grow up in L.A. in the time that we did. It was not about romanticizing the past, it’s more about the goggles we have in terms of viewing the present. That is one of the reasons we call it “Background Music” because yeah we are talking about our background and the state of the music now. Whether it is “Underground Hip Hop” or whatever, it is in the background, it’s not something people pay that much attention to.

Back in the day it was more of a balance. You could go on BET and Yo MTV Raps and millions of people move about what we call “Real Hip Hop.” Another reason we call it background music, is just because when you think of the term background, it is music that does not have any type of feeling. It doesn’t have any emotion to it… it doesn’t evoke any real kind of response from the people who are listening to it.

That’s kind how we think about a lot of the hip hop we hear whether it is mainstream or underground. It just seems like it is kinds there. It’s not like cats are trying to make a classic joint.

“Classics stand the test of time… That stuff lasted”
SFHH: How long have you and Subz known each other? Take us back to how the two of you came together as a group.

Eso Tre: I have know Subz since 5th grade. We then went to Uni High in L.A. in the early 90’s. That kinda of like a real big time for Hip Hop and we kinda grew up in that scene. We had a sincere earnest association for the music. Back then there wasn’t a lot of the labels for the music, like this is “underground” “trap music” or all the other labels. Really it was just two categories back then. You were either “dope” or your not. You could be selling a lot of music and you can be tight.

We didn’t know anything about the ‘underground’ or ‘commercial.’ Those terms kinda got introduced I think more by people who don’t understand..well I don’t want to say they don’t understand, they weren’t down with this in the beginning. And then what started happening is the term “underground” became sort of negative about people who weren’t trying to lie about what they were doing with their lives. They were coming from an honest perspective. They were saying this is who I am, I am not a gang banger, I am not this or that. You had cats that were really trying to be lyrical and be real about what they were doing.

That’s kinda when you had all these you know, I think all of these new booty people in the press that started the terms like “underground and backpacker”.  And I’m like you guys really don’t know shit about hip hop and use those terms. If you taking it to its logical conclusion, you’re calling some of the greatest most classic hip hop ever made… you’re going to call that “underground” and marginalizing it with these words you made.

“We’re doing music based on what we were taught is dope. You gotta have dope beats..you gotta have dope rhymes.”

“The internet is definitely a place where information can be transmitted very expediently”
SFHH:  How has hip hop changed from when you  and Subz first broke in?

Eso Tre: Back then people were actively seeking out material. What that means is, they were not basing their musical taste on what they were told to like. You could be a cat that they never saw before…that they never met before and if you heard one of their tracks you would be like damn I am going to support this cat, he’s tight. Now it’s like if he ain’t from this camp or if this blog did not co-sign him… I can’t like this dude no matter how dope he is.

SFHH: Where can people Substance Abuse online?

Eso Tre: If people go to www.substanceabusehiphop.com they will find all of our social media links there.


One Comment

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