It’s been over a decade since UK garage and Hip-Hop group So Solid crew burst onto the music scene back in 2001, but the group have recently announced they will be regrouping for a reunion tour on 21 March and it’s going to be epic.
The They Don’t Know tour goes by the same name as the group’s first studio album, which was released 11 November 2001. The tour will be held at London’s Indigo 02 arena on 21 March; with the date of the show coincidentally tying with the group’s biggest single is titled 21 Seconds.
Lucky number perhaps?
Fans have been left in suspense since the group’s departure from the music scene for quite some years now, as members went on to fulfill individual solo projects and achieve other career goals.
While the comeback news has excited thousands of fans, many still remain unaware of the huge impact and importance the group have actually had on the UK music scene (particularly grime and Hip-Hop) and we’re here to remind everyone exactly why this is the comeback of the decade.
So Solid Crew are an English based, UK garage, grime and Hip-Hop collective who started their career in 2000 when they stepped on the scene with their debut single Oh No (Sentimental Things), the group consisted of 19 members which then expanded to a colossal total of 30 members.
Founded by MC Megaman, the group had been two years in the making, through pirate radio station Supreme FM he met MC Mac and DJ PDS. With the partnership he started slapping their So Solid brand on flyers for Garage Delight raves and releasing some of their tracks on vinyl.
Members of the group include Romeo (MC), Carl Morgan, Lisa Maffia, MC Harvey, G-man, Kaish, Oxide and Neutrino, Asher D and Skat D – who were all contributing members to the group’s first studio album They Don’t Know. The album consisted of 20 garage, grime and Hip-Hop tracks.
That was the album which saw the release of Oh No (Sentimental Things).
However, it was the group’s second single, 21 Seconds, that would change the UK grime and Hip-Hop scene as we knew it, going on to reach gigantic commercial success and cementing itself into pop culture history.
21 Seconds is a song that used stripped back production over a 2-step rhythm; the song was cleverly structured so that each member of the group were given 21 seconds to perform their verse on the track.
Each rapper then had 12 bars of 4 beats (48 beats at 140BPM, when worked out to the nearest integer, rounds to 21 seconds), clever right?
The accompanying music video for the song then went on to win Best British Video at the 2002 Brit awards. So Solid won every award they were nominated for, including the MOBOS, Smash Hits awards and the PRS awards.
The song debuted with 1st week sales of 300,000 copies on the UK singles chart in it’s first week, receiving a platinum certification from the BPI.
The album They Don’t Know was recorded between 2000-2001 and was produced by Megaman and G-man. The project was then released via Relentless records on 11 November 2001 and debuted at number 6 on the official UK album charts, going platinum in the first week and eventually going on to receive a double platinum certification.
The album met favourable reviews from critics who described the album as dark, with more futuristic sounding cuts, praising the group for fusing genres such as R&B, Hip-Hop, garage and ragga to create their own signature sound.
The group went on to release a second album, titled 2nd Verse, which was released on 29 September 2003. The album’s lead single Broken Silence spoke out against the government prejudice that the group felt that they had faced.
The song reached number 9 on the UK singles charts, with critics praising the lyrical content of the song, noticing the group’s artistic growth from previous material found on their first album.
It’s noted that the song is the only song in UK top 40 history to contain the 17 letter word ‘institutionalised’, which was used in the following lyric, taken from the song:
It’s like we’re imprisoned in the ghetto and it’s getting to me, to the point where I’m feeling institutionalised, look in my eyes, you’ll see pain in it, but who can decide?
Unlike the group’s first album, which scored three top 10 hit singles and a top 20 single, 2nd Verse only produced two singles and debuted at number 70 on the UK album charts; significantly lower than the group’s first album.
Though the group had been releasing compilation, mixtape and remix albums from 2000-2011, 2nd Verse was the last studio album the group had recorded together.
The group have often been noted as being influential on a number of UK artists, particularly those of the grime and UK Hip-Hop genre, who have been able to find crossover commercial success with music similar to So Solid Crew’s past releases.
Acts such as Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder and Ed Sheeran have all listed the group as musical influences.
With the group going on a long hiatus, several members of the group went on to pursue solo careers and explore other ventures such as acting.
Romeo released a duet with US RnB singer Christina Milian in 2002 titled It’s All Gravy which peaked at number nine on the UK single charts, taken from his album Solid Love which was released in November of the same year.
The album debuted at number 46 on the album charts, selling a total of 46,000 copies.
The first lady of the group, Lisa Maffia then went on to release her first single All Over taken from her debut album First Lady, released 22 September 2003 via Epic Records.
The uptempo track was released in April 2003 and spent three weeks in the UK top 10 on the UK singles chart, peaking at number two. The song stayed in the charts for a total of 16 weeks and was eventually certified Gold.
This meant it was the most successful release within So Solid Crew’s solo releases.
Fellow group member Ashley Walters went on to pursue a successful career in acting, scoring high profile roles in films such as Bullet Boy, 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Trying and popular urban Channel 4 series Top Boy, which is awaiting a second series that is currently in production .
Members Harvey and Romeo went on to take part in reality TV series Celebrity Big Brother, both finishing in runners-up positions in the series and making it to the live finals.
So, with such an extensive list of achievements and records and boundaries broken, it makes sense for one of the biggest urban acts to come out of the UK to regroup for a reunion tour right?
The London show managed to sell out in 30 minutes, so they are definitely in demand.
What a way to comeback, aye?
The tour dates for They Don’t Know are:
- 21 March – London, indigO2
- 20 April – Birmingham, The Institute
- 21 April – Manchester, The Ritz
- 22 April – Norwich, Waterfront