Blending rap, funk, hardcore punk, heavy metal, and socially aware lyrics, Downset was initially formed in Los Angeles in the late '80s as part of the city's still thriving hardcore scene, but quickly expanded their sound (and changed their name from the more didactic Social Justice). Composed of vocalist Rey Oropeza, guitarists Ares Schwager and Rogelio "Roy" Lozano (the latter of whom has also worked as Cypress Hill's touring guitarist), bassist James Morris, and drummer Chris Lee, Downset perfected their bleak, urban brand of rap/hard rock fusion years before the genre exploded commercially, debuting in 1994 with a self-titled album for Polygram. The follow-up, Do We Speak a Dead Language?, appeared in 1996, but the band was soon frustrated in its efforts to complete a third album due to contractual entanglements resulting from its label's merger with Universal. Downset eventually caught on with Epitaph and issued Check Your People in late 2000. Universal followed four years later.