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So Solid Crew @ 20 with ‘21 Seconds’

After their breakthrough track Garage collective So Solid Crew, celebrate 20 years of greatness with their hit single “21 Seconds”

From the opening scene and right throughout the video, the imagery is just shocking but brilliant. It was a kind if ominous theme, so grimey, so sinister. It was very eerie, but great.

The song begins with Lisa Mafia's (then 3-year-old) kid saying, "Ha ha ha, what you laughing at?" in a caustic, contemptuous tone of voice. It fits in wonderfully with the whole theme of darkness. It was done in hopes that listeners, would take it as literal as possible. That the Crew were asking them what are they laughing at? There is nothing to laugh at because they had that confidence that they would be great, and they wanted the world to know that. What a powerful and innovative way to start a song right! They naturally wanted to make a statement, which was understandable and they did admirably.

When listening and looking at the video of 21 Seconds, one question always seems to appear at the forefront of peoples minds. “How did they get all these members on one track?” - Well the ‘21 seconds’ references to the time allotted to each participant to deliver their verse. Their label had requested that they ensure the track is three and a half minutes long. So they had figured out that since there are 10 or 11 members participating, then with eight bars each, that would be 21 seconds each. Now thats a concept of greatness you don’t hear of everyday.

So Solid went on to become the first garage group to scale the UK charts and won a Brit Award in 2002 for Best Video.

I was only about three years old when 21 seconds was released. However, I do recall hearing this song on the music channels when I was a kid. Remember when you could just turn on your TV on to your preferred music channel and if you missed your song, you had to wait for it to play again? To be honest, the nostalgia is causing me pain. Take us back!

Anyway, everyday I’d hear this tune and bear in mind, garage, grime, and hip hop were already staple genres in my household. I was literally astonished and amazed with the production, I fell in love with the song straight away. My cousin and I would do competitions and see who could remember whose part. My favourite verses were Harveys and Romeos of course! I got too hyped to do the equation at the end, the memories are beautiful.

Even with people like myself who were still very young during the roll out of So Solid Crew, we still got to enjoy the fruits of their labour. You see many a times, artists put out songs and the buzz lasts for a few years. So Solid Crew managed to be over 8 members deep and still produce a tune thats so captivating, 20 years later it’s still a hit. They went down in history and boy did they deserve it.

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