His love for Rap grew steadily. Like most people that lived outside of the U.S., ‘Rappers Delight’ by the Sugar Hill Gang was the first rap song that S.O.E. ever heard. Later, songs by Kurtis Blow, Run DMC and LL Cool J increased his admiration of this new art form. However, it was material by Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap (out of the Juice Crew) that took S.O.E.’s appreciation of rap to a whole new level. It was their complex delivery and wordplay (particularly Big Daddy Kane) that really got him to pay attention.
In 1991 S.O.E. himself picked up the mic and started rapping with a childhood friend’s brother, Jubal. They would go on to form the Rap group Set Free in 1992. Set Free recorded some tracks and performed them at a variety of local venues. At this early stage they were offered a record deal by an independent label, but turned it down because they didn’t think the timing was right. In the years that followed the group honed their skills on and off stage. They would go on to perform in Iceland, Norway, Holland and Guernsey.
In 1998 S.O.E. hooked up with a long time friend from his University days to record two Unofficial Nigerian World Cup songs under the moniker ‘Alpha Select’. They were featured on ITV and on BBC Worldwide Radio as well as local Radio.
In 2000 Set Free released a double-A single, ‘In Dayz Like These’ on their own label, Set Free Records. The single was well received by their fan base and received considerable radio airplay (Tim Westwood featured it on his BBC Radio 1 Rap Show).
Between 2001 and early 2005 S.O.E. helped to set up and run a number of London based community projects for disadvantaged children and young people. The projects used the Arts and self development training to engage young people, with a view to helping them to be the best that they can be. S.O.E. went on to executive produce an innovative short film, ‘Ralph Rules’, featuring youths from one of such community projects (Heartbeat Academy), aimed at helping to reduce bullying and drugs misuse among young people. He also successfully produced an under-21 talent competition ‘Strictly Muzik’ aimed at showcasing and helping to develop young talent.
During this time S.O.E. continued work on his debut solo Album ‘Chase The Dream’. The album which was completed in April 2005, artistically mirrors his music preference: big beats laced with lyrics that inspire- positively. The overall feedback to his material has been very good. His debut music Video for the song ‘Roll Over’ featured on Channel U . A number of songs from the album have also received considerable radio airplay.
Rap music has changed a lot since S.O.E. first heard Rappers Delight. Sadly, a lot of the changes haven’t been good. There are a lot of rappers and less MCs on the Hip Hop landscape now. Much of the current rap songs that dominate the charts in S.O.E.’s view serve up themes that encourage negative racial stereotypes, disrespect for women, glorify drugs misuse and violence. S.O.E. Like artists such as Common, Lauryn Hill, KRS1, Ty and Talib Kweli aims to bring something more positive to the table.
When asked about his purpose in the game, S.O.E.’s response is: “To make music that, challenges, inspires and sparks change; ...music that honours GOD and leaves listeners hopeful”.