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: Iâ€™m just chillinâ€™ man. I am one half of â€œSubstance Abuseâ€ the other half is my partner Subz who is currently in Grenada.
SFHH: Who is “Substance Abuse?”
Eso Tre: I am one half of â€œSubstance Abuseâ€ the other half is my partner Subz who is currently in Grenada.
SFHH: We have the â€œPaper Tigerâ€ video on the site right now. The track â€œPaper Tigers,â€ is this on the new album?
Eso Tre: It is on the new album. The new album is called â€œBackground Musicâ€ 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, itâ€™s more about the goggles we have in terms of viewing the present. That is one of the reasons we call it â€œBackground Musicâ€ because yeah we are talking about our background and the state of the music now. Whether it is â€œUnderground Hip Hopâ€ or whatever, it is in the background, itâ€™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 â€œReal Hip Hop.â€ 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 doesnâ€™t have any emotion to itâ€¦ it doesnâ€™t evoke any real kind of response from the people who are listening to it.
Thatâ€™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. Itâ€™s not like cats are trying to make a classic joint.
â€œClassics stand the test of timeâ€¦ That stuff lastedâ€
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 90â€™s. That kinda of like a real big time for Hip Hop and we kinda grew up in that scene. We had aÂ sincere earnest association for the music. Back then there wasnâ€™t a lot of the labels for the music, like this is â€œundergroundâ€ â€œtrap musicâ€ or all the other labels. Really it was just two categories back then. You were either â€œdopeâ€ or your not. You could be selling a lot of music and you can be tight.
We didnâ€™t know anything about the â€˜undergroundâ€™ or â€˜commercial.â€™ Those terms kinda got introduced I think more by people who donâ€™t understand..well I donâ€™t want to say they donâ€™t understand, they werenâ€™t down with this in the beginning. And then what started happening is the term â€œundergroundâ€ became sort of negative about people who werenâ€™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.
â€œWeâ€™re doing music based on what we were taught is dope. You gotta have dope beats..you gotta have dope rhymes.â€
â€œThe internet is definitely a place where information can be transmitted very expedientlyâ€
SFHH:Â How has hip hop changed from when youÂ 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 beforeâ€¦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, heâ€™s tight. Now itâ€™s like if he ainâ€™t from this camp or if this blog did not co-sign himâ€¦ I canâ€™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.