E.S.G. – Staying Screwed For Life
ESG Owner’s Manual
To Staying Screwed For Life
Pioneer of Southern rap and original member of the legendary Screwed Up Click—ESG (born Cedric Hill)—has sold over million records independently, has ten albums in counting and continues to drop new material. He keeps himself relevant by releasing quality music to his signature style with an updated twist.
With a new generation of hip-hop, some which lack true talent, he explains how the importance of teaching them about the pioneers.
His body of work and association with the SUC has made him a legend in a sense. He has evolved into a successful independent artist like many of his peers. With the small record store becoming obsolete due to music being readily available on the web he had to reassess his business plan of action.
“Back in the day I could got to different stores and open an account with them, now it’s much more political,” ESG said.
While he recognizes major industry moguls such as Russell Simmons, he attributes southern figures such as Master P for truly creating the blueprint of the independent game that derived from the South.
ESG’s contribution to keeping the Screwed Up Era alive in people’s minds is dear to him. The topic “if Screw were still alive…” seems to be a reoccurring fantasy with many Houston hip-hop artists and when it comes to ESG there is no exception. The mere thought as I mentioned it brought a smile to his face. He let out a laugh rubbing his hands together while saying “maaaane” appropriately on time as if it were rehearsed in his signature tone.
“We would all [the Southside and SUC] probably all be under one label, one umbrella. I can’t even think of what would be going down right now,” ESG said.
With his own label S.F.L., which stands for Screwed For Life, ESG says he will never let the originators be forgotten such as Screw, Big Moe, Fat Pat, Big Hawk, Big Steve and Big Mellow.
“I am always incorporating them into my music, constantly shouting them out and continuing the bonds I have with their families,” ESG said.
He doesn’t want to beat the Screwed Up Era into the heads of the city’s new generation because times and music have both drastically changed. He simply wants them to be aware of their roots.
“The only reason I think Screw music took a little demise is because he is not here. If Screw was living, I think it would still be in the forefront.”
Since rap music has evolved into something far fetched from what it was built on, ESG rolls with the change but resist conformity. With many lackluster artists often landing themselves in the limelight with their silly antics, he tries to teach his son to be a leader, not a follower of what has surfaced in the industry as of late.
“When I was growing up and in school, male kids weren’t doing as much dancing as they are doing now, ESG said. A lot of it is hype hype and crunk crunk, so they can’t really relate to Screw music.”
Family always comes first for ESG, and teaching his son to be unique is priority, especially since he is following in his father’s musical footsteps. They recently released a mixtape entitled “Family Business” where the mature pre-teen showcases his skills.
“This is a copycat industry now, but if you look at the people that stick out the most, it’s always the ones that go their own route,” ESG said.
He has now dropped “Owner’s Manual”, an independent labor claiming you don’t have to be a puppet of the industry to get your work out. Starting the project without a title, ESG spent a year recording, finally realizing the message he was delivering with the album.
“The song “Owner’s Manual” embodied me as a whole and everything that I stand for. If that means doing it yourself you can still be your own owner, get the job done and be happy, ESG said. I rather make less money and go to work when I want to.”
His first single “Internet Thugs” featuring Z-Ro chastises the new generation of people trying to appear as gangster through their social networking personas. This was especially important to address with the resurgence of youngsters claiming to be gang affiliated because they happen hear their favorite rapper scream “suuuwooo” on track.
“It seemed as if people obliged it and they don’t even know the culture behind where it’s coming from, so I felt like the song needed to be done.”
Other features on the album include a fire track with Slim Thug and Bun B called “I Wish You Would explaining southern culture. Also “SLAB” featuring Paul Wall and producer Big E out of Dallas and ladies track featuring Kai Hicks.
Being a veteran of the game, an originator of southern underground and being able to perform with greats like Notorious BIG, ESG say’s he feels very blessed to be able to still practice his craft as his career.
“You have to grind for what you want, can’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it and you don’t have to sell your soul to live your dream, ESG said. Be you and do what you need to do to get where you need to.”♣
Written By: Callye Peyrovi of Houston TREND