ESG is a musical snapshot of the melting pot that was New York City at the beginning of the ’80s, which captured a unique hybrid of disco, funk and hip-hop, that has endured into one the most influential legacies in dance music, with grooves populating commercials, movies and playlists everywhere


An art-funk ensemble from the South Bronx, ESG (Emerald Sapphire & Gold) was formed by sisters Renee, Valerie, and Marie Scroggins, all of whom handle vocals and percussion, and friends David Miles (guitar) and Leroy Glover (bass). ESG’s music is centered around the sisters’ complex polyrhythms with atmosphere supplied by bass and pop-flavored guitar. During their first incarnation, the group signed with 99 Records and issued a debut self-titled EP in 1981 that featured three live and three studio songs, the latter produced by the legendary Martin Hannett (Joy Division, etc.).

1982’s ‘ESG Says Dance to the Beat of Moody’ EP continued in a similar vein, as did their first full-length album, 1983’s ‘Come Away With ESG’. ESG disbanded shortly thereafter, but unexpectedly re-formed in the early ’90s, heralding their comeback with a self-titled 1991 compilation of previously released material. The group’s work had become popular among hip-hop artists searching for samples, with such acts as TLC, the Wu-Tang Clan, the Beastie Boys, Big Daddy Kane, and indie rockers Unrest all making use of ESG beats; the group addressed this issue on the 1992 12″ EP ‘Sample Credits Don’t Pay Our Bills’. ‘ESG Live!’ appeared in 1995, featuring both old and new material. The group continued to record during the late ’90s, and even added Scroggins‘ daughters Chistelle and Nicole.


ESG are the real deal

Pitchfork – Best New Reissue