Official Charts Flashback 2001: So Solid Crew - 21 Seconds

How an underground crew of rappers, singers and DJs became overnight sensations and stormed to the top of the charts.

The Official Singles Chart this week in 2001 saw a group underground rappers, singers, producers and DJs – collectively known as So Solid Crew – become household names overnight at their single 21 Seconds stormed to Number 1.

Headed up by rapper and producer Magaman, the track’s clever concept - each vocalist is given 21 seconds for their verse – and memorable video helped turn British rap into a mainstream force to be reckoned with. The song also serves as introduction to the group - including Harvey, the hype man; Lisa Maffia, the singer; Romeo, the ladies’ man.

In an interview with the Guardian, Megaman recalls making music in his friend’s bother’s bedroom on their council estate, and success turned them into millionaires overnight. Lisa Maffia adds: “We were out at raves with champagne, then going home to council flats.”

So Solid were the first UK garage crew to go to Number 1 on the Official Chart; 21 Seconds shifted 118,000 copies in its opening week and was the year’s 19th best-seller. Its total sales stand at 423,000, while the track has been streamed 8 million times since records began in 2014.

21 Seconds was to be their only chart-topper; follow-up They Don't Know peaked at Number 3 and they landed another two Top 10s by 2003.

Several So Solid members went on to find solo success: Lisa has three Top 40 hits to her name and continues to release music now; Ashley Walters has a hugely successful acting career; Harvey  released music and was previously engaged to Alesha Dixon; Oxide and Neutrino scored a string of hits including Number 1 single Bound 4 Da Reload, which sampled the theme from BBC’s Casualty. These days they're still very much together, recently headlining the UKG Chronicle in Wembley this month alongside Robin S. 

Elsewhere in the Top 40 this week in 2001, So Solid had knocked Atomic Kitten’s second chart-topper Eternal Flame down to 2, and Jennifer Lopez landed her fifth Top 5 hit with the Latin-pop Ain’t It Funny, new at 3.

Two new tracks by R&B acts also debuted inside the Top 10: hip-hop duo M.O.P at  7 with Ante Up Busta Rhymes, and Missy Elliott’s One Minute Man, the follow-up to her Top 5 hit Get Ur Freak On.

Further down, the chart was packed with new entries, including Radiohead’s Knives Out, Bjork’s Hidden Place and Destiny by British chill-electronica duo Zero 7, featuring uncredited vocals from Sia.

View the Top 100 Official Singles Chart from this week in 2001

Listen to the UK Top 40 from this week in 2001 on our streaming channels. Subscribe to our weekly Flashback playlist on SpotifyDeezerApple Music.

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