It’s been almost thirteen years since So Solid Crew first ambushed us with their debut album They Don’t Know. The 2001 LP introduced exalted urban psalms like "Oh No (Sentimental Things)", "They Don't Know" and the chart-topping “21 Seconds” at a time when Bob The Builder was a #1 don (big up Flex!) To a mainstream audience just getting used to Oxide & Neutrino and Craig David’s carefully braided cainrows, it was an eye opener.
People started Googling how to use their gunfingers appropriately and us Londoners rejoiced that our culture was being showcased like Discovery channel with Swiss instead of Attenborough. But then the inevitable happened. When you have a clique roughly the same size as the population of the Vatican City, someone’s gonna get in trouble. Unfortunately, a slew of arrests and gun-tinkering activities followed that had David Blunkett labelling them as “appalling” and sent their careers plummeting. A couple of years passed without a squeak from the group until Lisa Maffia dived into reality TV and Asher D wheelchaired into Get Rich Or Die Trying.
Earlier this month, however, Charlie Sloth premiered their new song “UK Hot Wid It” on Radio 1Xtra. Before I touched play on a YouTube rip, nostalgic flicks of that WWE cage from the "21 Seconds" video popped to mind. I was expecting some triumphant two-step-come-2013 groove to add to my iPod's “Do The Bogle” playlist. To their credit, the verses were just as brilliant as they’ve always been and for a moment I was indeed stuck mid-bogle. I was happy to hear Megaman, Lisa Maffia, Romeo, Swiss, Harvey, G-Man, Kaish, Neutrino and Mac run riot again. But the instrumental was like being repeatedly punch in the ears. I quickly concluded that it had all come as a result of someone falling asleep on their keyboard while accidentally opening a new project on GarageBand. Shout out to that awkward dubstep wobble that keeps popping in and out like a middle-aged neighbour at a house party.
On top of this, last weekend the whole of the garage subculture spilt champers onto their loafers in anticipation of their favourite clique returning to the live stage. Harvey et al were billed for a Saturday slot at Lovebox festival. That was until it got cancelled "due to circumstances out of [their] control". Secretly, I wept.
Thankfully, I’ll be able to use a jewel case as a hanky with their Best Of album dropping on September 30. "UK Hot Wid It" is on it somehow but it will never be seeing the light of day whenever I scroll through the compilation. Ever.