So Large

Selected by: James Keith

Name: So Large

Where He’s From: East London

When He Started: 2003

Genre: Grime/rap/drill

File Next To: Backroad Gee, Ambush, Suspect, R.A

Sounds Like: “I don’t think I could use one single word or genre to define my sound. I’m just inspired by what I hear and see. I’ve grown up listening to and making grime so, naturally, I’m comfortable making music that is dark and 140bpm, and most drill beats are dark and 140bpm. Somebody said the word grilly recently; it’s like a mixture of both, and I can agree. I feel like no matter what beat I jump on, you’ll always hear the grimey flow and energy because I’m naturally a grime kid.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “It was ‘Know We’ by Pay As U Go. That was the first tune that inspired me to make music. Every verse was just so gassed and the chorus was an anthem. R.I.P. Major Ace! Pay As U Go will forever be legends.”

So Large has been doing this music thing for longer than most. He’s seen a lot, done a lot, and weathered several different generations of grime. Now, having just signed to D Double E’s Bluku! Music label, the ex-Mucky Wolfpack member is ready to seize his position in the scene as both a veteran and an innovator. New gen stars like Pa Salieu and BackRoad Gee are being praised the world over for fusing grime, rap and drill, but So Large has been toying with fusion sounds for years.

As a student of all things soundsystem, for him, it was natural. “Growing up, the music playing at home was mainly ragga, reggae, soul, and garage,” he tells TRENCH. “All the family gatherings would be mostly ragga and reggae, with some soul and R&B.” Later, he was introduced to the UKG hits and set on the path towards pirate radio: “I had an older cousin who would pick me up as a kid and take me out. I remember hearing old skool garage, like Todd Edwards and ‘It’s A London Thing’, pumping in the car.” Before long, he was making music with friends. “I can’t remember the exact year, but I was probably in Year 10 in school. I started a crew with my friends called Maniac Soldiers and we used to go on Temptation FM every Wednesday after school; I think our set was 4-6pm. I just remember rushing from school to radio.”

Eventually, So Large assumed the name Soulja Kid and joined Pay As U Go veteran God’s Gift along with Mercston, Lady Shocker, Discarda and the rest in Mucky Wolfpack. The crew, and its offshoot of youngers called Mucky Cubs, became mainstays on East End pirate radio stations and made some historic appearances on early editions of the Sidewinder and Risky Roadz DVD series. Over time, Mucky Wolfpack disintegrated as a crew. Some members, like Discarda, would enjoy solo success while others pursued different ventures. After rebranding himself as So Large, the E3 MC he began to find his own voice as a solo act in the constantly shifting and overlapping worlds of grime and rap. However, he’s self-critical and can’t help but wonder if he could’ve done things differently. “In all honesty,” he says, “I haven’t been as consistent as I should have been in the past.” But he’s not about to get down on himself: “As it stands, there’s no significant achievements for me to talk about, but it’s my motivation to change all that.”

If anything, So Large is optimistic about the future and the current landscape in UK music, where the lines between grime, drill, rap and trap are becoming increasingly blurred. “I feel like I should be a full-time musician,” he muses. “My goal is to make my distinctive sound become more popular and properly putting my name on the map.”

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on October 12, 2020