For the b-boys and No Wave junkies out there, ESG are legends in the game. The South Bronx girl group, that formed in the 80s and still perform every now and then, produced high-grade, minimal dance-punk funkiness, and some of the most sampled songs in hip-hop breakbeat history such as “Moody” and “UFO.”
Danceteria, Paradise Garage, Hacienda—any dope club in the 80s, they were there. The ESG stood for Emerald, Sapphire and Gold, and the core group was made up of the Scroggins sisters: Maria (congas, vocals), Valerie (drums), and Renee (vocals). Other family members Chistelle (Val’s daughter), Nicole, and Deborah also had their hands in the groove at various points, as did Leroy Glover, Tito Libran, and David Miles.
No matter the configuration, the band produced some classic moments that have been captured in one essential compilation, Dance to the Best of ESG (Fire Records). The tightly wound drum parts, the spacious tracks, the pixie-ish, dusted sounding vocals all make for some of the most understated but undeniable party jams. Their influence on most any dance music today is equally apparent. Hipsters and drunk and hot girls, pay attention. This is where your favorite 80s-loving band got their inspiration from, whether they realize it or not.
Listen to this “Dance to the Beat of My Moody”:
Then peep this vintage clip of “You’re No Good.”