Downset - First Hip Hop and Hardcore Influences

Downset was a Rap Metal / hardcore punk group hailing from Los Angeles, California.
(What would become downset.) They are also known for being one of the first hardcore bands to incorporate hip hop and funk influences into their music.

Band history
The band's original moniker was Social Justice. They released their debut album, Unity Is Strength, in 1989 and the EP I Refuse To Lose under this name with a different lineup in 1992. (What would become downset.) They are also known for being one of the first hardcore bands to incorporate hip hop and funk influences into their music.

In 1992, Social Justice (1987-92) changed their name to downset., and released their "Our Suffocation" demo in 1993. The album, which explored various social issues such as the death of lead singer Rey Oropeza's father by the hands of the LAPD, was praised by critics.

Later in 1994, downset. signed a deal with Mercury Records, a subsidiary of Polygram Records, and released their self-titled effort in the same year. Especially in Europe Downset got very popular.In 1994 they went out on Tour in Europe with Biohazard & Dog eat Dog followed by a Tour with Pantera & The Almighty later that year.Early 1995 Downset returned to Europe with Sullen for a massive Headlining Tour.In 1995 they also appeared at some Major Rock Festivals throughout the continent including Roskilde and Dynamo.In 1996, the band released their most commercially successful album, Do We Speak A Dead Language?, through Mercury.

Making their departure from Mercury Records, downset. were scooped up by Epitaph Records and released their 3rd album, Check Your People in 2000. That same year, rumours circulated that Oropeza was to resume Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha vocalist position after Zack left. Other replacement contenders were Chris Cornell, Chuck D, and B-Real of Cypress Hill. Cornell was ultimately chosen, and Rage Against the Machine transfigured into Audioslave.

After many line-up changes (most notably, the loss of long-time downset. guitar player, Rogelio Lozano and the addition of original drummer, Chris Lee), in 2004 downset. released their latest album, Universal, on independent record label Hawino Records.

Though downset has never breached the Billboard charts or experienced any mainstream success, they are still regarded as a noteworthy influence within the nu metal & rap-metal subgenres. In addition to headlining the second stage at Ozzfest 1997, they've toured with Linkin Park, Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax, among many other prominent metal names.

Downset called it a day in May 2009, claiming the band had 'officially run its course'.

Band members            

Rey Oropeza - vocals

Ares Schwager - Guitar

Rico Villasenor - Bass Guitar

Chris Lee - drums


Rogelio Lozano - Guitar

Andrew Klein - Guitar

James Morris - Bass

Chris Hamilton - Drums



Universal (2004)

Check Your People (2000)

Do We Speak A Dead Language? (1996)

downset. (Self-Titled) (1994)

Code Blue Coma (2000)

No More Freedom In A Cage (1996)

Generation Of Hope (With Shootyz Groove) (1995)

Our Suffocation (1994)

Empower (1996)

Anger (1994)