Album: So Solid Crew

Second Verse, Independiente

For an act that claims to have little truck with guns and gang violence - despite the miasma of trouble that seems to collect around them - the tone of the 30-strong UK garage collective So Solid Crew's second offering is fiercely combative, spouting paranoid lyrics about rival gangs to the sound of police sirens and offering stern warnings to those who would dare to hang on the coat-tails of their celebrity. That said, it's hard to take seriously a crew which produce such ludicrous verse as "Here we go nigger, nigger/ What is it you want from my crew bitch nigger?/ Is it the fame, is it the money nigger, nigger?/ Or is it the name, is it the honey bitch nigger?" Doubtless So Solid would defend their less-than-impressive writing skills by passing it off as the language of the street. But what good is street language when it prompts nothing but hysterical laughter? When the south London posse aren't stuffing their stash up their sweatshirts, dodging policemen and bullets ("Six O'Clock") or extolling the virtues of slutty women ("So Grimey") they're desperately trying to convince themselves of their own greatness. "Angry Beats" comes with the kind of call and response lyric - "Who do you know that's driving the place wild?/ So Solid!/ Which is the crew that is so versatile?/ So Solid!/ Which is the crew who has the most style?/ So Solid!" - that brings to mind an idle schoolyard chant. Musically, this is certainly a sleeker affair than their debut, with So Solid aping the smooth grooves of top-drawer US hip hop and R&B producers Timbaland and The Neptunes. Lyrically, it's a dog's dinner. This is music for the hard of thinking.