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"Downset" redirects here. For the concept in order theory, see Down set.
downset., 1994
Background information
Also known as Social Justice
Origin Los Angeles, California
Years active 1986–2009, 2013–present
  • Ray Oropeza
  • Brian Ares Schwager
  • James Morris
  • Chris Hamilton
Past members

Downset. (originally called Social Justice) is an American rap metal band from Los Angeles, California. The band's music blends hip hop, funk, hardcore punk and heavy metal with "socially aware lyrics."[1]

Band history[edit]

The band's original moniker was Social Justice. They began as a hardcore punk band. 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. They were known as 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 the Our Suffocation demo in 1993. The album, which explored various social issues such as the death of lead singer Rey Oropeza's father at the hands of the LAPD, was praised by critics. During this transition, they changed their sound by heavily incorporating rap metal and funk metal.

In 1994, downset. signed a deal with Mercury Records, a subsidiary of Polygram Records, and released their self-titled effort in the same year. In 1994 downset began gaining popularity in Europe after touring there with Biohazard and Dog Eat Dog followed by a tour with Pantera and The Almighty later that year. In 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.

After making their departure from Mercury Records, downset. were scooped up by Epitaph Records and released their third album, Check Your People, in 2000. In 2004 downset. released their fourth album, Universal, on an independent record label Hawino Records.

Though downset. never experienced any mainstream success, and though its members came from an urban hardcore tradition rather than from metal, the band is still regarded as a noteworthy influence on the then-nascent nu metal and rap metal subgenres. In addition to headlining the second stage at Ozzfest in 1997, downset. toured with prominent bands such as Linkin Park, Pantera, Slayer, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Anthrax.

On July 21, 2014, downset's first new album in ten years, One Blood, was released world-wide.

Band members[edit]


  • Rey Oropeza - vocals (1992–present)
  • Ares - guitar (1992–present)
  • James Morris - bass guitar (1992-2003, 2014–present)
  • Chris Hamilton - drums (1999-2001, 2014–present)
Former members
  • Neil Roemer - vocals (2013)
  • Rogelio Lozano - guitar (1992-1994, 1999-2002, 2013)
  • J.D. Manhart - bass (2013)
  • Krasp - drums (1992-1999, 2001-2005, 2013)
  • Rico Villasenor - bass guitar (2003-2005)
  • Dave Corsile - guitar (2000-2001, Check Your People Japan / US Tour)




"Rarities (2000)

  • Code Blue Coma (2000)
  • Eyes Shut Tight EP' (Live At CBGB's) (1997)
  • No More Freedom In A Cage (1996)

"Live At Foundation's Forum (1995)

"Downset EP' (1995)

  • Our Suffocation (demo) (1994)


  • "Anger" (1994)
  • "Empower" (1996)
  • "Pocket Full of Fatcaps" (1996)
  • "Split with Mindbug 7" (1999)
  • "Jumping Off" (2004)
  • "One Blood" (2014)


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Downset". Allmusic. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]