Dirty South pioneer E.S.G. trailblazed through the late-'90s movement and helped popularize the "chopped and screwed" style associated with his onetime home, Wreckshop Records. The "Everyday Street Gangsta" (born Cedric Hill) made his first major move in 1995 when Perrion Entertainment released Ocean of Funk (1995), which featured his breakthrough single, "Swangin' and Bangin'," and its accompanying "chopped and screwed" mix. Though commonplace a few years later, the chopped and screwed style of remixing hadn't yet become trendy. Thus the mix became just as popular as the song itself, if not more so. This success inspired Perrion to reissue the most impressive songs from Ocean of Funk ("Swangin' and Bangin'," "Crooked Streets," and "Smoke On") on Sailin' da South (1995), this album distributed widely by Priority. Following these related 1995 albums by Perrion, E.S.G. maintained a low profile while imprisoned yet continued to reap the continuing success of Sailin' da South as its reach spread beyond Texas. He returned from prison in 1998 with a dark album for Blackhearted (Return of the Living Dead). Around this time, E.S.G. took on an increasingly hardcore stance, presumably in response to the rising competition throughout the Dirty South movement. He next joined forces with Wreckshop Records, an up-and-coming Houston label driven by the reputation of the immortalized DJ Screw, and recorded a pair of albums, Shinin' & Grindin' (1999) and City Under Siege (2000), as well as a chopped and screwed remix of the latter. By this point considered one of the eminent rappers in Texas alongside Lil' Keke, Fat Pat, U.G.K., and Lil' Troy, E.S.G. capitalized on his reputation by co-establishing his own label, S.E.S. Records. The label's first release, Boss Hoggs Outlaws (2001), paired the rapper with newcomer Slim Thug and sought to initiate S.E.S. among the increasingly crowded Dirty South market. After E.S.G. cut the solo album All American Gangsta in 2004 for the label, he switched to Sure Shot for his 2006 release Screwed Up Movement. The release came with a bonus chopped and screwed CD and featured the cut "Watch Yo Back," which dissed his former collaborator Slim Thug. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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