Romeo is one of the original members of So Solid Crew, who were widely credited for changing the UK urban music scene and paving the way for many present day acts & artists. The collective has been considered an English Wu-Tang Clan and was a ground-breaking act. They forged a notorious reputation for attracting media controversy.
So Solid Crew is an urban musical collective from South London, whose hits include “Oh No (Sentimental Things)” and “21 Seconds” (both featuring Romeo), the latter reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart in August 2001. The single also won Best British Video at the 2002 BRIT Awards and that same year So Solid collected numerous awards at the MOBOs. Another hit, “They Don’t Know”, reached number three in November 2001 and “Haters” got to number eight in January 2002. “Ride Wid Us” was a UK number 19 in April 2002. They released a single, “Broken Silence” which spoke out about government prejudice which they felt they had faced (number 9 in the UK charts). Oxide & Neutrino from So Solid enjoyed a number 1 with “Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)” in May 2000 (which went silver and sold in excess of 250,000) and follow ups “No Good 4 Me” which featured Romeo & went to number 6 in the charts, again going silver and selling over 250,000.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRCBy8hrOIM – ‘21 Seconds’
So Solid collectively enjoyed 11 Top Ten’s including 2 number 1s, and they dominated the charts for a good few years in the early 2000s. So Solid’s success was considered an inspiration for modern Urban artists and helped to pave the way for the commercial recognition of acts such as Roll Deep, Dizzee Rascal, N-Dubz, Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk.
Right from So Solid Crew’s debut release on Relentless Records in the autumn of 2000, you could hear that Romeo was something special. Hyperactive, yet silky smooth, frenetic yet laid-back, his verbal signature was as instantly recognisable as anyone on the other side of the Atlantic – from Eminem to Slick Rick. Even while Romeo’s unique rapping style was helping get So Solid off the ground, his lyrical talents were crying out for a solo deal.
On Romeo’s debut solo album, the personality that was unleashed to such devastatingly pithy effect on So Solid Crew’s No.1 half a million selling single “21 Seconds” got the chance to express itself fully.
After the Mobo’s and the Brit awards, the number one single, the banned tour and more headlines than any other British group since The Sex Pistols, it was finally time for Romeo to step out on his own.
His debut solo single “Romeo Dunn” (which featured Lisa Maffia) and his second single, “Its All Gravy” (which featured USA artist Christina Milian) were both massive top ten hits, “Romeo Dunn” reaching #3 in the UK Singles Chart in 2002, and “It’s All Gravy” reaching #4 in the UK Singles Chart in the same year.
But where has Romeo come from?
Brought up by his mum in an SW11 council flat, Romeo started young, taking to the decks aged thirteen in front of four-figure crowds at the Notting Hill carnival while his friend Megaman MC-ed. As a junior version of Killawatt, the ragga sound system run by Romeo’s uncle, they put on under-18 raves at community centres near their homes in the Winstanley and Surrey Lane estates.
Then the two friends went their separate ways for a while. “I was always raving”, Romeo remembers. “All those jungle raves; One Nations, Telepathies…you name it, I went there”. Romeo made his MC-ing debut in 1998, at the age of 17, in Arena 2 of Garage Nation at Bagley’s in King’s Cross. “I heard someone on the mike and thought ‘I can do better than that'”, he continues, “so I asked the guy if I could have a go and I was up there for fifteen or twenty minutes”. Romeo grins, “Don’t ask me what I was saying though, because I’d had two glasses of champagne”.
He can’t have been slurring his words too badly as the crowd liked what they heard, and soon Romeo started to see his name printed on club flyers. Then PDS told him to turn up on a Sunday at South London pirate radio station Supreme FM, and there was his old friend Megaman in the midst of putting together the So Solid Crew. “Mega walked in and said ‘Let’s do it again,’ so we did.”
Romeo was one of the contestants on The Games 2004 on Channel 4 and E4 in April 2004, and returned to The Games in March 2005 for ‘The Champion of Champions’ competition. He was also a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2012.
In 2013, Romeo reunited with the members of So Solid Crew to tour throughout the UK for the first time in ten years.
More recently, Romeo has also been involved in hosting club nights, and as a figurehead for the UK urban music industry, he has currently invested his time in searching for new music artists who he mentors and produces for.