Taken from the album 'They Don't Know'
So Solid Crew present They Don't Know - without doubt the most highly anticipated debut album from a UK act this year. This album proves that they have the sheer talent, energy and originality to live up to the phenomenal hype.
• The album features ‘21 Seconds’ and forthcoming single ‘They Don’t Know’ plus a remix of the track ‘Oh No (Sentimental Things)’ that first launched them into the mainstream consciousness early this year.
• Other album highlights include the anthemic 'Ride Wid Us', the lyrically barbed 'Haters' and the clubland commentary of 'Rave Scene'. Their unique blend of R&B, rap, ragga and garage beats looks set to dominate the radio, clubs and charts in 2002 and beyond.
• So Solid Crew recently picked up 2 MOBO Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Garage Act
Their names sound like comic strip heroes. Their brilliantly raw and futuristic take on UK garage sounds like nothing else on this planet. And they've already been dubbed the Wu-Tang Clan of two-step. Ladies and gentlemen, meet So Solid, a 20-plus collective of super-talented London DJs, MCs and producers - and just about the most exciting prospect in urban British dance music today. Their third single, 'They Don’t Know’, on Relentless records, follows up from ‘Oh No (Sentimental Things)’ and their number one smash ’21 Seconds’ which platformed the crew's cutting edge blend of R&B, rap, ragga and garage beats, a blistering sound that's come straight from the underground raves and pirate radio stations of South London.
Leader of the sprawling So Solid family is 21-year-old MC Megaman, a smooth talking Battersea homeboy who has been promoting garage parties and MCing at jungle clubs since he was a teenager. Of the So Solid sonic sensibility he says: "It's a whole new sound. We're using straight R&B and hip hop sound but with a little bit of ragga flavour, and that's what makes the difference."
The So Solid collective originally came about a couple of years back when Megaman hooked up with now defunct pirate station Supreme FM and came into contact with like-minded souls like MC Mac and DJ PDS. Already promoting events like Garage Delight at the Colosseum and Chunnel Club, Mega decided to step up the So Solid brand, slapping the name on the top of flyers, getting some of those all-important tunes down on vinyl and self-promoting like crazy.
After finally pushing past the typical disinterest from play-it-safe club promoters who didn't get the crew's ahead-of-its-time approach to garage, the word spread and the So Solid community expanded. Mega explains what bonds them: "There's a talent and a flavour that we all share. For instance Neutrino and Oxide started out in separate crews where they were the ones doing the main work. Things have just accelerated from there."
Now he says, he regards So Solid as "the Junior MAFIA of London". There's a community spirit that means "we are all family, we're not friends. We understand each other." The current So Solid line-up includes: G-Man, Megaman, Harvey, Asher-D, Face, Morgan, Gilard, MC Mac, DJ Timeless, DJ Dan da Man, DJ Swiss, DJ PDS, DJ Oxide, DJ Static, MC Asher-D, MC Neutrino, AC Burrell.
With so many members you'd think things could all get a bit confusing at times. But, says Megaman, you can apparently split the So Solid membership into three basic personality-types. "There's the sweet boys, pretty boys - that's Romeo, Neutrino, Harvey, Morgan and Crazy. Then there's the ruff-neck guys, like me Face, G-Man, Asher-D, Swiss, Mac, Dan da Man, they're the hard nuts. And there's the normal, quiet, casual guys like Timeless, PDS, Statics, TW7, Gilard, Oxide. And then there're the ones who just want to be lazy, eat food and make money. That's Mr C! He ain't running around for no-one!" And last but not least there's Lisa, who's in a category of all her own. "She's our 24-carat diamond," says Mega affectionately.
Of course, there's more to So Solid than just a vibrant mix of diverse personalities. Their refreshing 'keep it real, keep it simple' approach to music means that the So Solid sound has a characteristic no frills, streetwise punch that walks all over so much of the over-produced bandwagon garage many major labels are now spewing out. Meanwhile, away from the raw energy of the mic, the turntables and the studio, there's a strong business strategy too. Megaman, who's nobody's fool, along with G-Man, Mr C and TW7 have rapidly built up a Puff Daddy style miniature empire from scratch over the past year and a half. So Solid Entertainment - now a limited company currently comprises a DJ agency, two record labels - Papermoney and So Solid Beats - a promotional division, and a distribution company. Megaman doesn't rule out merchandising in the future too - so look out for clothes and all manner of other goodies too. And let's not forget Delight FM, the radio station that sprung from the seeds of the Garage Delight raves. On a good day, with the wind blowing in the right direction, you can apparently catch the latest underground sounds as far out as Kent.
"We did it all ourselves and everyone wants us now," says Megaman of the So Solid success story. "We've been through our hard times and we struggled to get where we are. I was rags to riches but now I'm here. We did it from scratch, no banks, no loans. And we did it by helping each other."
With an ecstatic response from the crowds at Ayia Napa this summer, So Solid have already built up a loyal audience. As the word of mouth spreads via the rave and radio scene, Megaman admits he's not averse to a bit of the diamonds and champagne lifestyle either. He sees So Solid as something stylish - not necessarily about names and designer labels but about looking the part, and if that means dressing like a star and not a scruffy MC, so be it. "Everyone in the ghetto wants to make money and live the high life," explains Megaman. "To have a nice car and a big house and wear diamonds and nice clothes and party all night. It's all good! That's what we're going to portray in our music"
- UK Garage / Rap